“It is for the parties to decide when the time is right..”

With all the coverage of the New Year message from the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, it’s worth pointing to the one key line on devolving policing and justice powers to the Assembly – full statement here

It is for the parties to decide when the time is right, but the Government will be ready to make the transfer of powers next May as envisaged in the St Andrews Agreement.” [added emphasis]

It is something he has said before.. and he’s also admitted that the target date might not be met. But the time will only be right when those parties stop pre-empting ongoing police investigations.. or interviews for that matter. [And is Alex Maskey still “thoroughly baffled”? – Ed] Adds And, on a related point, I had neglected to mention Strabane..

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  • lib2016

    You’ve some neck on ye, boy! For Irish unionists to lecture anybody on the administration of justice is an impertinence of the highest order, right up there with them presuming to lecture the world on the finer points of democracy.

    People, including an increasing number of loyalists know that this is pious humbug. The Troubles were an all-out struugle for power. That is over and we’re now in a political contest. If unionists think that the way to win back their lost support is to stick with the old hypocritical bullshit then they are seriously underestimating the electorate.

    Then that’s what people who have never really accepted democracy do. It’s your funeral.

  • “but the Government will be ready to make the transfer of powers next May”

    Would Dublin be agreeable? Would it be prepared to forgo its current role in poling and justice?

  • OOPs policing not poling!!

  • joeCanuck

    I used to think that the DUP would be agin it because they don’t want SF to have the post. Given recent events, maybe they don’t want the post either.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m having trouble understanding why anyone thinks it’s a good idea to transfer these highly-contentious departments over, given that our local clique can’t get themselves organized to properly run the less contentious ones that we’ve already got.

  • lib2016

    Well, you might consider the history of British ‘Law and Order’ complete with sectarian paramilitary policeforces, widespread torture and all the other excesses, right down to the names wrongly given under Parliamentary protection.

    The only way to build a system in which the whole NI community can have faith is to build a system which involves the whole NI community.

    If that takes time then so be it. Northern Ireland is a relatively lawabiding society with hopeless disenfranchised youth from deprived areas giving most of the trouble.

    One boxing club/football team can do more to combat crime than all the thuggish police tactics which sound so good on the telly. Too many of us are aware of what ‘highly motivated’ means in the context of a police officer’s annual report.

    By all means let us have a debate on the heavy handed policing needed during the Troubles and the current need for lots of community policing. There is lots of help out there for young people in trouble – the problem is getting them to acess it when they have been brought up to fear authority all their lives.

    Britain and the USA have huge crime and prison problems. It’s not beyond us to take the best of European and British practice and build something new and better.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin,

    Sinn Fein would not have signed up to policing if
    the transfer of policing and justice from British to Irish hands had not been ‘promised’ as part of the GFA/STA deal.

    I suspect that DUP will agree its implementation when the Provos agree to the winding up the ‘army council’.

    The British will probably encourage Unionists down this path by increasing security cooperation ( such as that which allows Gardai into South Armagh ) with the ROI.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m all in favour of the idea of moving policing and justice powers over here. The sooner the better.

    My point is that our local politicians are too crap to deal with it. If you thought the Margaret Ritchie/UDA funding thing was bad, wait until an SF or SDLP justice minister orders a crackdown on the UDA. Or, alternatively, if a unionist justice minister orders a crackdown on dissidents in South Armagh.

    I suspect that DUP will agree its implementation when the Provos agree to the winding up the ‘army council’.

    Yes. Though, like the whole decommissioning issue in the past, it’s all a bit of a red herring, really. Winding up the army council will not disband the organizations that are still active in parts of the country. The council is little more than a talking shop these days. I doubt it has the authority or the power to enforce it’s will anymore, for better or for worse.

  • Turgon

    Lib 2016’s latest outing here is really quite elegant spin. Better than his usual. Here we see the suggestion that Northern Ireland is a pretty decent place with a few problem areas. Then throw in a bit about clubs and activities for young people and of course the fact that every society has its problems. Finally we have this bit “brought up to fear authority all their lives”.

    Of course what is not said is that the “authority” which many young people have to fear now is the IRA or alphabet soup dependent on where these young people live. We also have the repetition albeit in more subtle form of the criminality slur on Mr. Quinn on the “Sinn Fein, their faltering game and one big European chance for glory” thread.

    We may, however, be beginning to see the latest SF spin on policing etc.

    Clearly they continue to whisper the weasel words that Mr. Quinn was a criminal with the unspoken implication to some that hence, his murder is of lesser relevance; but there is also now the idea that if policing and justice were devolved to local parties then SF would somehow be able to assist the police more. I suppose the implicit suggestion is that if SF were involved in policing then there would be a higher chance of bringing Mr. Quinn’s murderers to justice. A truly surreal lie but the republican movement has always been good at repeating lies time and again until at least some believe them.

    All this is of course a repetition of the line following the murder of Mr. McCartney with a bit of added nonsense about the need to devolve policing to the best mates of the murderers. Not forgetting, of course, the fact that the IRA continue to be a very major source of criminal activity in Northern Ireland (along of course with the alphabet soup) and in the RoI.

    I think Sammy’s suggestion seems sensible, however, that the army council might go away at least a bit in order to allow the DUP to accept devolution of policing. It would also be republicanism handing the DUP a stick with which to beat one of the DUP’s real enemies namely the TUV. It would also help the DUP in explaining that subsequent IRA crimes were not the “corporate responsibility” of the IRA.

    So a new year beckons with the love in full steam ahead and no real chance of justice for people like Mr. Quinn’s family. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  • joeCanuck

    TUV?, Turgon. Is that the new Allister grouping?

  • Turgon

    Yes Joe it is “Traditional Unionist Voice”, I am not sure about the name but at least it is not something UP; and on an utterly unrelated note belated Happy Christmas.

  • joeCanuck

    Thank you Turgon.
    Same to you and a very happy new year.

  • lib2016


    “..the IRA continue to be a very major source of criminal activity in Northern Ireland”

    If you have any evidence of this then please take it to the nearest police station. I’ve never denied that ‘demobilising’ the IRA has been a difficult process but in comparison to other revolutionary movements such as the ANC it has been performed with a comparative lack of disorder. And damn you for putting me in this position again!

    I hated and opposed physical force from both the republicans and the British. If we don’t want it to happen again then we better face up to the reality that it became inevitable.

    Trying to understand violence and the reasons for it does not in any way mean that I excuse it.

    I abhorred the

  • lib2016

    Sorry for the unfortunate typing – new laptop.

    and Turgon,

    Happy New Year.

    I accept your genuineness and integrity. Please try and accept mine.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016
    “I hated and opposed physical force from both the republicans and the British.”

    Mr. Fealty has previously asked me not to mount personal attacks on you. This being his web site I have complied. However, I hope he will indulge a direct answer to your proclaimed views.

    You lib are the one who distinguishes between the morality of different examples of what you call physical force and I call murder viz this quote:

    “I don’t accept any moral equivalence between organisations founded to defend the cause of liberty, equality and fraternity and those founded to defend inherited privilege.” or this one “As for Enniskillen itself – the nationalist population was under attack from the British Army and the community which backed them. They fought back and when there is violence innocent people get hurt….end of story. citations here.

    So yes I accept your genuine integrity and support for murder and murderers whatever spin you now try to put on it.

    Mr. Fealty, I am sorry if the above is unacceptable but lib has directed a specific question to me and I have explained why I do not accept his “genuineness and integrity”. If I am to be banned from the site for this then that is up to you.

  • New Yorker

    Devolved policing could mean less interference in Provo ‘business’ operations and loyalist criminality. How would you prevent tip offs to cronies and stifling legitimate police activities? The record of both the DUP and SF do indicate success is likely in this regard.

  • joeCanuck

    If things are done properly, there should be no problem in devolving this responsibility.
    By done properly I mean that operational control has to be solely in the hands of the Chief Constable with him being accountable to the proper authority.
    This was never the case pre-direct rule and, sadly, they is some appearance of it continuing to be the case in certain “inconvenient” cases.

  • lib2016


    You are right at least in part. I do believe in republicanism and respect those who were prepared to give their lives and liberty in that cause…and I’m sure that I’ve contradicted myself countless times.

    This is a political blog not some kind of declaration of fundamental truths but a pleasant diversion from the everyday problems of life. Frankly if I took it too seriously I’d find another hobby.

    I don’t pretend to be any kind of theologian but the fact is that I also believe that British and European colonialism has become widely recognised as evil.

    If I were silly enough to conclude that every unionist was therefore an evil person then that would reflect more on me than on unionism.

    If you can’t find a way to respect the likes of me and mine as I respect you and yours then you are truly in trouble. I am honestly sorry that you find it impossible to see past your grief and anger but that is your problem, not mine.

    This never-ending bitterness seems to be a peculiar form of ‘Britishness’ and has destroyed their position in the EU. On a smaller scale it will destroy the unionist position here and it has already lost them all support in England.

  • joeCanuck

    Funny that; I am opposed to Turgon’s political beliefs and we have had quite a few conversations over the past year. He is certainly very forthright in his views, which he is entitled to be, but he has never ever come across to me as full of anger and bitterness.
    Go figure.

  • Turgon

    Lib 2016,
    Yes you see I take killing people extremely seriously. That is why I do not dismiss the deaths of anyone here. That is why I do not slur the deceased whatever or whoever they are. That is why I do not dismiss the deaths of the hunger strikers nor those killed at Loughgall etc.

    I will respect many positions but not one which uses terms such as yours above for murders in this community.

    That is why I will hold you in the same contempt as I do the supporters of the alphabet soup.

  • joeCanuck

    As for yourself, lib2016, I have noticed a sea change in your posts this past year, towards what I would consider the better (from my personal point of view).
    But as you yourself admit, sometimes you can be self-contradictory.

    Anyway, best wishes for the new year to everyone.

  • Comrade Stalin


    It’s hardly anybody’s fault if the disbandment of the IRA council is sufficient to damage TUV. If they’ve hung themselves on that hook then they can hardly blame anyone else. I have a feeling the council probably will disband, but when it happens there’ll not be very much fuss over it. Business as usual.

    The trouble with the remaining gangs of IRA people who are ignoring the army council’s policy has several facets; the main one being the difficulty in persuading people to co-operate with the police in order to get them off the streets, out of either intimidation, or out of sympathy. The exact same situation exists in areas where loyalist paramilitaries are active. I think the way out of it is reasonably simple – a good old law and order crackdown. Imaginative policing will get the results which are required.

  • Jo

    The existence or non-existence of the Council seems irrelevant to those gangs who seem to wish to exercise power without the blind eye/approval which they previously enjoyed.

    What always struck me as the paradox about decommissioning – to be fully effective, it required the continued existence of weaponry in order that those refusing to decommission could, if needs be, be coerced.

    In the de facto absence of a continuing paramilitary command structure, should coercion be required, it can only come from one source in a democracy – the force of law and order, popularly backed by the people.

    I believe in 2007-08, the forces of law here have a historically unprecedented level of support and indeed, unprecedented cross-community participation. No longer need a police officer be 100% unionist to be a member.

    Whatever political reasons there may have once been to turn a blind eye to lawlessness, those reasons have been overtaken by the unfolding of democracy and representative, power sharing government.

  • lib2016


    Thanks for your kind post. You are right to notice that I am consciously trying to leave the bitterness behind, not always successfully.

    Perhaps I should be more tolerant of those who cling grimly to their hate rather than embrace the changes of the last twelve months.

    As I understand it this blog has always been about challenging unionism to recognise that the old ways just won’t work.

    Personal attacks and stalking are no substitute for political discussion and unless unionism can combine around some kind of modern idealogy we will all have to pick up the pieces.

    If people don’t like my political beliefs that’s fine but let’s not pretend that this blog is about venting emotions. Mick is a very intelligent unionist who saw the need for calm discussion long before most of us and who still manages to get it right most of the time.

    It was the only possible alternative to LuvUlster and it and other similar venues are the only way most of us have to talk politics with the other side.

  • Pete Baker

    I wasn’t going to respond to your initial attempt at labelling, lib.

    But since you’ve decided to continue with that theme by labelling both Mick and Slugger as “unioinst” I feel obliged to point out that such labelling is only used by those who prefer to pigeon-hole the messenger rather than addressing the message.

    In a ‘man not ball’ way.

    You’d be better advised to look outside of the boxes you wish to place others, and yourself into, and deal with the actual detail of the posts you disagree with.

  • Pete Baker

    btw, lib.

    While Mick is, undoubtedly, “very intelligent”.

    I’m not so sure he’d appreciate being labelled, by you, as a “unionist”.

    And finally..

    “As I understand it this blog has always been about challenging unionism to recognise that the old ways just won’t work.”

    You understand incorrectly..

    And not for the first time..

  • Jo

    I for one have every confidence that these matters can be dealt with better on a local level, than by Shaun talkin to himself. Lets remember that, when we (rightfully castigate) our own Assembly.

  • Jo

    I would like to point out that the above post was not made by me.

    Although on this occasion it is relatively innocuous, it does indicate that someone is intent on impersonating me – for reasons best known to themselves.

    For the sake of authenticity I would appreciate it if Slugger would indicate that indeed there is a case of personation here – and not for the first time either, Pete. Thanks. 🙂

  • lib2016


    I’ve forgotten when I first stumbled across ‘Slugger’ but I do remember reading ‘A Long Peace’ and being deeply impressed that this was a new kind of unionist thinking.

    The authors of ‘A Long Peace’ are Trevor Ringland, David Steven and Mick Fealty.

    To quote Mr. Fealty;

    “Our aim was to focus on the future from a Unionist point of view and how this might be achieved…’

    I thought then and still think that Mick has stayed right on target, helped a lot of non-unionists to see things differently in the process and, not least, enabled us all have to have a bit of crack along the way.

    I’d be interested to hear your ideas on why this blog has been so successful. If I’m completely wrong about how Mick sees his function then enlighten me, please.

  • lib2016, the study was merely a piece of research into Unionist ‘thinking’ and involved interviews with Unionists and non-Unionists. Trevor Ringland is perhaps the only author who labels himself Unionist.

  • lib2016

    Mr. Fealty,

    Do you care to comment?

  • Turgon

    lib 2016’s contributions here follow a fairly familiar pattern for SF members / supporters. Initially we have a denouncement of the first post from Pete Baker. Then, when I dared to point out the inconsistencies of lib’s claims on his opposition to violence we had standard “unionist engagement” stuff. In this we are asked to accept the integrity etc. of cheerleaders. If unionists do; then it can be heralded as an example of unionists becoming more “reasonable”. If, however, unionists do not; then we have some pseudo psycho babble about us not being willing “to see past your grief and anger but that is your problem, not mine.” This of course allows republicans to mascurade as the victims of this unreasonable unionist dislike. Hence, showing their general unreasonableness, flat earthness, bigotry etc; all implying that their views do not need to be taken seriously and of course implying to some that indeed killing them was the only real option and can be covered with comments like this “when there is violence innocent people get hurt….end of story”.

    The real truth here is in lib’s comment “And damn you for putting me in this position again!” Of course that is the problem. I did not put lib in that position it was lib himself with his own previous comments. Still why let that get in the way of a good MOPE.

    A more interesting bit of spin, however, is the idea that Mick Fealty and indeed slugger in general is a unionist blog. I very much doubt that lib is so stupid that he regards Mick having analysed a unionist position as making him a unionist (by that logic I as I often analyse SF’s position; I am a republican).

    To suggest that Mick and slugger are unionsit is, however, an excellent bit of spin. Repeated often enough as with so many republican lies it may even acquire a pseudo truth. It allows republicans a bit more MOPEry; so that when Mick or any other moderator objects to a republican’s comment it can be seen as bad Mick and the bad unionists discriminating against poor republicans. More than that it may be an attempt to force the moderators even subconciously to be more accomodating to republicans, something I trust will fail.

    Most importantly, however, by spreading the net of supposed unionist very widely it allows republicans to pronounce some “unionists” as good and progressive and moving towards a rapproachment with republicans. This allows republicans to believe that they are wining partial converts with strategies like unionist engagement, as well as annoying the other unionists (a vitally important part of unionist engagement). It also allows them to present supposed increased divisions within unionism’s view of republicans allowing them to feel that unionism is falling apart and final victory is at hand (maybe as soon as 2016). Finally of course it allows republicans another opportunity to paint unionists who will not engage with them as flat earth bigots who are irrelevant, should be laughed at and of course whose deaths in the past were unfortunate but entirely explainable and indeed probably largely justifable.

    The whole thing is of course one long complex spun lie. That does not, however, mean it is not useful to republicans to spin it.

  • parci

    I vote Sluggers to award you an honory doctorate, for your patient, forensic analysis of the republican mindset 🙂

  • lib2016


    At this stage of the game republicans don’t need to discredit traditional unionism. It crashed in flames long ago, as did hardline traditional Catholic republicanism.

    We live in an increasingly multicultural society where the majority of us have already recognised the need to work together.

    Republicans acknowledge the damage their struggle did and have publicly regretted the hurts done in the struggle for national freedom, though I for one would claim that it had become inevitable by 1972 at the very latest.

    The verdict of history is already in and if unionists don’t accept their part in creating the conditions of the last 80 years then they will never be able to build a modern credible identity.

    To deny that ‘Slugger’ is an attempt at modernising Unionism I find just incredible. Why do you suppose LuvUlster was an embarrassing disaster and Slugger marches on?

    My theory is that LuvUlster was a demonstration of the hatred which seems to be all that traditional unionism has left us.

    Mick has managed to raise the bar for at least the more progressive of your community and you aren’t even clued up enough to be aware of what he is about.

  • Dewi

    Turgon – it’s time for you to engage with Lib2016. The last 40 years ain’t been a lot of fun for anyone. From afar I have to say that resistance at times seemed not only justified but necessary.

  • ulsterfan


    You are wrong—big time!
    The form of resistance was neither justified or necessary.
    Militant Republicanism lost the “Battle” with the very first murder in which they were involved and then made matters worse by trying to explain it as a necessity.

  • “From afar I have to say that resistance at times seemed not only justified but necessary.”

    Dewi, who was resisting and what were they resisting?

  • lib2016

    I’ll agree that physical force republicanism was a deadend – the establishment forces in Ireland and Britain were very conservative and saw the Civil Rights campaign as destabilising.

    The problem is that the British Army allowed their extensive experience in fighting colonial wars to guide their approach to the troubles in Ireland.

    Once the Paras were turned loose on unarmed civilians the die was cast. The teenagers (including many friends of mine) were already reading books like ‘The War of the Flea’ and they had no hesitation in using that knowledge to fight back. One weekend’s training and they were ready to go, and more than willing.

    The only alternative was Ghandian civil disobedience which would have involved allowing the Brits to keep on murdering until world public opinion forced their withdrawal. I still believe that it would have been the wisest choice but few agreed with me.

  • ulsterfan


    I agree entirely that if Ireland had produced a Ghandi we would be living in a different world. We can not turn the clock back or give militants another chance let alone re write history.
    Unfortunately Ireland was unable to find a Ghandi.
    That is the great pity and history will judge this generation harshly as it deserves.
    Lacking in imagination and courage.

  • Pete Baker

    And, despite the attempted distraction, getting back to the actual topic..

  • lib2016


    It’s the usual charade – the deal has already been done or Sinn Fein wouldn’t have committed themselves to policing. We know it, you know it, and the British government wouldn’t have raised the subject if they weren’t in the process of preparing unionists to accept the inevitable.

    Now if unionists were prepared to be open about their need to modernise we might get somewhere. Instead we have to put up with a potentially useful thread being turned into yet another excuse to attack Sinn Fein.

    ‘parties pre-empting ongoing police investigations’ indeed? That appears to be the only medium of communication for some unionists on this board.

    Unionists need to take the beam out of their own eye.

  • Turgon

    Firstly Happy New Year. I always try to answer you but I was out last night. I do regard you as someone I greatly enjoy discussing things with and despite our different opinions I would regard my relationship with you as friendly.

    I must, however, demur from your telling me that “it’s time for you to engage with Lib2016”

    Firstly: I must with respect point out it is for me to “engage with” whomsoever I wish; I have a fairly clear knowledge of my own mind and it is not really for others to tell me what to do or think.

    Secondly: I have “engaged with” many nationalist and republican posters on this site. I have discussed many issues and advanced my opinions in a forthright but I hope largely courteous fashion. For the times when I am impolite I seek forgiveness.

    You Dewi know full well the specific episode and series of statements made by lib 2016 which I object to. We have yet to see any form of apology for what must be amongst the most insensitive remarks made on this web site. To be perfectly honest to regard lib as anything other than a troll is fairly charitable.

    I might also point out that when one is told things like: “And damn you for putting me in this position again!”, “I am honestly sorry that you find it impossible to see past your grief and anger but that is your problem, not mine.”, “Perhaps I should be more tolerant of those who cling grimly to their hate rather than embrace the changes of the last twelve months.”

    The above are hardly comments which make it easy to “engage with” lib, they come relatively close to playing the man and not the ball though I am not one to go running to the moderators when people attack me; I have found other slugger members views of me the most effective defence against such attacks.

    Engaging with lib would also be a pretty pointless task. His world view is essentially that unionism is almost totally to blame for the troubles, unionism is now falling apart, all our young people are leaving, a united Ireland is an inevitability, the deal is already done and the timetable already mapped out. Well if one has a set of beliefs like that there is little to discuss. Even on this site we have Mick Fealty pronounced as a “good” unionist moving us forward. Lib seems to laud the DUP for knowing that a united Ireland is inevitable and moving unionists towards it. Now whilst I am no supporter of the DUP, I do think that would be something of a minority analysis within the DUP (probably a minority of zero).

    Of course traditional unionists are just denounced as hate filled bigots etc. So now Dewi what am I meant to engage with: an individual who has made endless insulting remarks against my community and against what we hold dear, tells us that we are to blame for the troubles, dismisses murders of friends and relatives and proclaims that we are going to loose anyway. Finally we at one stage has a comment the at least our children might be useful for something or words to that effect.

    Now Dewi I do not think I am a completely unreasonable man but what on earth am I meant to engege with?

  • Dewi

    Happy New Year to all – and apologies to Pete for digressing.

    1) I would say that when you and your neighbours are in danger of being burned out of your homes or being killed then self defence is justified.
    Nevin and Ulsterfan – that happened historically.

    2) Turgon – I certainly agree that Lib’s infamouus Enniskillen remarks were inappropriate. He has come close to apologising for remarks probably made in temper. A specific apology would be useful.

    3) I agree with some of the historical analysis of the conflict he posts – which is done in a lucid and logical fashion. There are many trolls of many hues on this site – I don’t regard Lib as one thereof.

    4) Turgon – of course you are well able to well able to make your own mind up and express it well and always civilly – apologies if my advice sounded like instruction ! – Certainly didn’t mean it that way. This particular feud has gone on too long however – if you note Lib’s “Ghandian civil disobediance” I suspect that’s his true position which I’m certain you could repect.

    5) Lib2016 – an apology for those Enniskillen observations would be a good way to start a(nother) peaceful year and put this to bed.

  • ulsterfan


    I did not say resistance was wrong but I did say that the form adopted by republicans was not only wrong from a moral point of view but was greatly counter productive.

  • lib2016

    1/I apologise unreservedly for my tactless and unpleasant dismissal of other peoples grief. I was wrong and I will try not to repeat giving needless offence. This blog should be about breaking down barriers, not making people feel defensive.

    2/I do feel that the authorities in NI and in Britain had a great deal of responsibility for the events of the last 80 years. There is no way to say some things pleasantly and I do hold the British authorities guilty of murder. There seems to be no point in not being candid when that’s what is called for.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    For most Nationalists/Republicans and non tabloid reading UK mainlanders the Provos campaign is best understood in the context of the then ongoing historical difficulties between Britian and Ireland. The GFA/STA, in reforming the non ireland state, reallinging it’s constitutional position, letting the insurgents out of prison and putting then into government is de-facto recognition of this. However, most Unionists, DUP , UUP etc and Dublin 4 ideologues are in denial about this reality.

  • Turgon

    An absolute classic piece of SF propaganda from lib 2016 there. An “unreserved apology”. Now any unionist who rejects such an apology can only be an evil flat earth bigot. If a previously sceptical unionist were, however, to accept lib’s comment then it would be another small step in “breaking down barriers”.

    Except, of course.

    Had lib actually wished to apologise for those remarks he could have done so at the time. The fact that is has taken this long tells us something in and of itself.

    Of course, however, lib is not apologising for holding those views, oh no he is apologising for his “dismissal of other peoples grief”. There is a world of difference between being sorry for dismissing people’s grief and being sorry for actually feeling that the cause of their grief was the the sad but completely reasonable consequence of the “nationalist population” having “fought back” and “when there is violence innocent people get hurt….end of story.”

    So no: this is no apology; this is a classic piece of weasel worded lying which could have come from Adams himself. Taken with all the other remarks about unionists from lib even on this thread; I doubt any but the most gullible will see this as anything other than more spin.

    “This blog should be about breaking down barriers” but you lib are one of the most effective builders of barriers on this web site. Ironically what you fail to understand (or in view of some of your other comments do understand and indeed enjoy) is that attitudes like yours simply help to ensure that there will never be a united Ireland even if by chance one day the border is removed.

    Now by all means indulge in a bit of pyscho babble and a bit of good old fashioned MOPEry. Then do not forget to tell me that my views and wishes are hopless and I will soon be defeated as well as being myself an unreconstructed hate filled bigot.

  • Turgon


    Firstly Happy New Year.

    I know well the analysis you put forward.

    My most fundamental problems with this purely pragmatic approach are that it is giving in to immorality and evil. You and many others will probably understand (whilst I am sure that lib 2016 will not) that my committment to opposing murder is greater than my committment to the union.

    I also believe that the current “solution” is no solution at all as it continues to allow crime to be committed by terrorists of both genres; and of course as I have stated before, I am sadly confident that political violence will re-emerge here in the not very distant future. The current agreement in my view makes that recurrance even more likely.

  • Dewi

    Turgon, From your 11.53 –
    “We have yet to see any form of apology for what must be amongst the most insensitive remarks made on this web site.”

    We have now, and specifically relating to the effect of the remarks on others feelings. You asked for an apology for the remarks not for his views – and that’s waht he gave.
    You two ain’t ever going to be lovers but surely that’s enough for a truce at least?

  • joeCanuck


    I was shocked at the “Enniskillen” remarks too.

    I accept your apology.

    Let’s all make this year better in terms of respecting each other and other’s points of view.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    Happy new year to your goodself.

    The ‘historical struggle’ analysis (shared by most non-unionists) of the Provo campaign contradicts the view that it was murderous and evil.

    Do you view the 1920s IRA campaign as murderous and evil as well?

    I personally think the 1920 was justified but the Provo campaign post Stormont was not. I view the morality of both wars/terrorists campaigns as more or less morally equivalent. That does not mean that I think the old IRA should have shot Protestants but neither do I think that the Provos were murderers.

  • ulsterfan


    What is your definition of murder?
    Please consult any dictionary and then repeat your remarks about the Provos not being responsible for murder.
    Using similar logic I assume you do not consider UDA,UVF of having engaged in acts of murder.

  • joeCanuck

    There might have been a case, albeit very weak, for engaging British Forces.
    Buy shooting policemen, prison warders, off-duty UDR members delivering the milk etc, and countless civilians blown to pieces, was unadulterated murder.

  • lib2016

    Thank you all for putting up with this long drawn out discussion. We seem to be getting somewhere .

    1/Rude and abusive behaviour is wrong and when it happens then the person responsible (in this case me, but not only me) should expect to have that fact pointed out to them. If one can’t accept correction and debate then one shouldn’t hand it out.

    2/Censoring each other’s honestly held opinions merely because one doesn’t approve of them is twaddle. Better men and women than us have been driven to breaking Godwell’s Law.

    If one doesn’t have a logical practical point to make then maybe it’s better not to comment.

  • lib2016


    Not according to world opinion. Freedom fighters are celebrated around the world and the IRA have been accepted as comrades in arms by authorities like Mandela and the ANC.

    You may not like it and I’m very ambivalent about it since I believe that the situation is much more complicated, but the fact is that Adams and McGuinness have been broadly vindicated.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016
    “If one doesn’t have a logical practical point to make then maybe it’s better not to comment.”

    Spectularly ironic.

  • joeCanuck

    I can’t speak to world opinion, lib2016, only for myself.
    And I believe firmly in what I said.
    Murder is murder.

  • ulsterfan


    what a very weak argument to quote Mandela as a supporter of the Struggle when greater world leaders such as Margaret Thatcher called them some thing else

  • joeCanuck

    It is absurd to compare the struggle of the black people of South Africa against oppression by a minority, with the situation in Northern Ireland.
    The violence which led to the Treaty was justified, but once the duly constituted Dail voted to accept the treaty, justification for violence ended. Yes, a large percentage of the population of N.I. were abandoned to state discrimination but there was a political way forward, eventually, which was ably demonstrated by the successes of the civil rights movement, in which I played an exceedingly small part.
    We, as a society, are not much different politically from where we were in 1972 or so.
    There has been a huge change in the acceptance by “unionists” that there were a lot of rotten things in the body politic.
    The violence of the IRA did not bring about that change, it delayed it by decades.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon, Joe, Ulsterfan,

    this is a well trodden path for those on both sides of the fence. The GFA/STA is a de facto recognition that the Provo campaign was not a murder campaign but part of a political struggle. The loyalist paramitaries are more difficult to evaluate being less coherrent ideologically and operationally as were the INLA.

    But lets be honest here this is an ideological rather than a moral arguement – as you would harldy agree that the boy Churchill for example was a murderer for the firebombing and deliberate killing of civilians in Dresden.

  • lib2016


    and your point is?

  • joeCanuck

    Semantics, Sammy.
    I agree that there was a political struggle but it was a struggle conducted largely, initially, through the tactic of murder and terror.
    The armalite and the ballot box.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    the facts back me up – the guys who devised and ran the Provo campaign were put into government by the ruling power ( the Englezes ) and by the people on whose behalf they conducted their ‘war’ ( the Nationalists of non iron). Their behaviour ( with a few shocking exceptions ) since also bears out this analysis.

    The arguement you put forward was lost by the UUP at the time of the GFA – that was why Jeffrey walked out. The ‘it was a murder campaign’ arguement was conceded in the new politcal arangements – you are simply trying to re-fight the GFA arguements all over again.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016,
    You know full well what my point is. I doubt even in your fantsy world you regard many of your posts as logical or practical.

    Your posts almost all centre around a position in which unionism is falling apart, unionist young people are all leaving, the rest of us are all old, the outside world hates us. Then some “good”, “unionists” like Mick Fealty are trying to move unionism forward. Some other “quite good” unionists like the DUP are moving towards a compromise which you know they know is a stepping stone to a united Ireland (as I said before a minority of zero position in the DUP, I suspect). Other “bad” unionists like me reject the whole thing. Other “bad” unionists like the UUP want something else; I haver never understood why they were “bad” in your world view, except maybe a bit of good old fashioned MOPE hatred going back to Stormount. But dear help anyone who dares remember any deaths in front of you; except of course those caused by loyalists or the army.

    Then we usually get a bit of good MOPEry and a good cheerlead for the fact that republican terrorists were much better than loyalist ones and that their campaign was entirely understandable, inevitable, necessary and not wrong. Sometimes you have a good slur at Mr. Quinn if you are in the mood as well.

    Your first paragraph in your first post on this thread is a pretty classic lib quote.

    So yes it is ironic for you to suggest that those without pratical and logical points should refrain from making them. If you want to see how to make logical posts from a republican perspective there are lots of examples here. Unfortunately although I do not claim myself to be particularly clever or intellectual I do suspect you yourself are actually not clever enough to understand how poor, illogical, impractical, divisive and sectarian your comments are. Or maybe you do and you are just a more sophisticated troll.

    You never did explain what use you had for our children either.

  • joeCanuck

    Well, we are at an impasse, Sammy.
    I always try to look forward and there are certainly better times ahead.
    Best wishes this new year.

  • ulsterfan

    I think we will get some agreement if you accept that SF/PIRA have agreed that Westminster is the sovereign power in this part of the island of Ireland which is under British jurisdiction and further more they are administering British law in this small part of the United Kingdom regardless of the GFA.
    The GFA was a sop to Republicans as a reward for a permanent cease fire and end to all hostilities followed by a surrender of their arms to a British sponsored commission.
    They had to get some thing to hide their blushes otherwise their supporters might ask what was all that about when Britain did not leave , never gave an undertaking to do so or set a date all of which were SF/IRA demands.
    When you think about it they got nothing of substance.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    Impasse it is – undoubtedly a re-visit will be not be far off.

    Happy new year.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    clearly it is in some Unionists interest to downplay the GFA/STA and some Nationlaists interests to talk it up.

    I personally view it as a hollowing out of the union under the guise of devolution and the granting of the ROI a role in the affairs of Non Iron via the requirement of Unionists to administer the province in many areas on an all Ireland basis. It seems much more Irish to me post agreement than than it did before.

    Which ever view is taken I am sure we will agree it was a triumph of both Irish and British diplomacy.

  • ulsterfan

    I don’t think devolution weakened the Union. It is simply an alternative to Direct Rule which was not the preferred option of any of the parties.
    The union is as strong today as prior to GFA.
    It was always the case that any change in the constitutional basis of NI required approval of the people of NI .
    SF gave up their claim to an all Ireland Consent thus pushing Unionists to the margins. No one else supported them and they were left on their own.
    The North/South bodies are very insignificant but could sensibly be used for the benefit of all in both jurisdictions on matters of health ,law and order ,trade tourism etc.
    A long period of stagnation may set in.
    On more contentious issues Unionists will be able to drag their feet without any fear of sanction.
    This will be the battle ground of the future.
    On balance I agree British and Irish diplomacy won the day.
    The Brits acting as guarantors for Unionists and the Irish will determine if there is to be a UI at all and at what pace thus pushing SF outside the tent.

  • lib2016

    IwSammy McNallywdi,

    For the first time it made peaceful political progress, even normal democratic politics a likely future prospect. As such it was a win for both communities.


    As far as I can find out the numbers of school leavers from each community are broadly equal at the moment. I simply don’t know what happens after that though if Gregory Campbell is to be believed Protestants are having a hard time.

    I have been provocative but surely that could also be said of Pete’s thread header. If you play hardball it tends to get that reaction.

    Given that the demographics on education and the future workforce are so important I don’t think that my emphasis on them is out of order. Certainly unionists seemed very pleased when nationalists got it wrong before the last census.

    And as for your point about my harping on about the fact that Unionists stand alone and without friends? Well, I can’t change the reality of the situation. Unionists are alone and must find a way to deal with republicans. They have no alternative and constant whinging about how you don’t like it changes nothing.

    The UUP is an empty shell and the DUP’s recent behaviour, however welcome it is, is also rather out of character. Surely those are fair points to make?

    Try and refute the points I make rather than attack me for having the audacity to make them.

    Happy New Year.

  • Turgon

    Okay lib let’s refute this one:
    “I don’t accept any moral equivalence between organisations founded to defend the cause of liberty, equality and fraternity and those founded to defend inherited privilege.”

    Three words: Enniskillen, Kingsmills, Darkley.

    This one:
    “As far as I can find out the numbers of school leavers from each community are broadly equal at the moment.”

    As far as I can find out: Not really good enough lib. If you had some evidence we could look at it. Also it tells us nothing about those at school or of preschool age. Of course lib there is always the possibility (impossibility in your view) that some Roman Catholics might actually be perfectly happy not to have a united Ireland but obviously that is just silly in lib-land. It is also interesting that you have brought the whole thing down to a sectarian head count. Maybe that tells us something about you. Though judging by your views on things like Martina’s little outburst I guess we already knew that parochial sectarian head counts are about your intellectual level.

    This one:
    “Unionists stand alone and without friends? ”
    Well apart from a few parts of the USA (and Australia oh yes; before your mates murdered Stephen Melrose and Nicholas Spanos) so apart from the a few pockets in the USA most of the world does not really care that much about our problems either pro unionist or pro nationalist (oh yes there is Shawn/Sean in Canada). Try going to Africa, people do not really care, they have enough problems of their own (Gadaffi used to like you I admit but seems to have changed his mind of late). Asia, the same. South America. Oh of course your best mates the FARC. Europe well I guess ETA likes you (not forgetting Trowbridge though can anyone understand what he is on about apart from the lizard aliens?). Russia; no remember what they thought of Enniskillen. Maybe there is a big well informed pro-republican movement in Antarctica? Maybe other penguins dislike the Emperor ones and see them as like unionists during Stormont being big and lording it over the down trodden smaller penguins.

    I guess you have stopped slurring Mr. Quinn which is at least some progress.

    So there we go a few of your “points”.

    And what do you feel our children are useful for or do you just want to deny making that comment?

  • lib2016


    This has gone on too long. In your case just sticking to the points I made on this thread would be a sign of recovery. Please talk to somebody, for your own sake.

  • Turgon

    Psychobabble returns lib, rather as I predicted it would.

  • joeCanuck

    For what it’s worth, Turgon, I see lib2016 trying to reach out to you and I think he has asked for forgiveness (although a bit cackhandedly).
    He certainly has insulted you quite a bit.
    It’s a new year.

    Feel free to tell me to mind my own business.


  • lib2016


    I’m sadly coming to the conclusion that Turgon will never see a bright new dawn. He and his like are trapped in the colonial twilight forever. Their day is past.

    Roll on the next generation.

  • Turgon

    lib 2016,
    “Their day is past. Roll on the next generation.”

    Since you are into the next generation: care to tell me what use you have for our children? Or do you fancy denying making that comment?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    the constitutional blurring that has taken place post GFA/STA has in my opinion definitely weakened the union – there is now an institutional link to the south that Unionists are obliged to administer. But I would say that wouldn’t I?

    Re. Sinn Fein – if they dont get their act together (e.g in Quinn case) they will hopefully botted up the jacksie by the Nationalist/Republican electorate.


    What I would like to see is truth tribunal/commission where the public could ask the Provos to justify some of their appalling choices of target without them trotting out the lame mantra of “it was Brits what made us do it”.

    Clearly other combatants should also be included but for me as a Nationalist/Republican I would like to know why stuff I completlely disapproved of was carried out as a part of the ‘National struggle’.

  • joeCanuck


    I wish you would change your name. I can’t be bothered typing out the whole thing and I feel a little bit silly calling you “Sammy” when you’re not. Or are you?

  • Dewi

    Turgon – please cool it – you are the funniest and friendliest poster on here. But we need to relate to all opinions. Myself I got absolutely mad with Concerned Loyalist and bitterly regret my observations to this day. It’s a new year, and a good one so let’s start again ?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    in this computer age cutting and pasting is your only man for long names.

    But in emergencies (ie world wars) and church holidays ‘Sammy’ will suffice.

    And talking of funny days has anyone ever heard of “Nollaig na Mna” – a post xams day where the female of the species gets to on the pop and quare fellah has to do the housework? Clealry a potentially dangerous custom which luckily only holds sway in Cork and other such rare places.

  • Turgon

    Flattery will get you everywhere. Even with dour Ulster Prods.

    You must remember Dewi one of the things I am about on this web site is demonstrating a hard line unionist position whilst trying to keep my personal bigotry to a minimum. I will not say I am not bigoted; I think there is some bigotry in all of us, there certainly is in me. However, I recognise it for what it is, namely a sin and try with the help of God to expunge it whenever it rears its ugly head.

    I gave up politics in the late 1990s at least in part because I felt it had made me too nasty and sharp which I felt was wrong. I have said before that I stumbled upon this site by accident and post so much because of being away from home a lot.

    You know that I regard the killing of people as awful. The idea of destroying a family, creating widows, widowers, orphans, childless parents is awful; but far, far worse in my view is the possibility of sending a soul into eternity before it might have had the opportunity to accept Christ.

    As such on this site I attack the cheerleaders for terrorism pretty mercilessly. I abhor any position which gives any support to the criminal killers of either side. Incidentally I also have grave difficulties with anyone laughing at or celebrating the deaths of terrorists eg the hunger strikers. I can never feel happy that people died at Loughgall and the only SAS operations which really gave me pleasure are those like when the IRA sniper was captured when, I believe, the only injuries the terrorists suffered was one broken nose. Even then people spent wasted years in gaol for their foolish and immoral actions.

    So I am sorry Dewi, I will not “cool it”. I will comfront, attack and annoy the cheerleaders whenever they raise their heads. In no way would I liken myself to my Saviour but I try to follow Him and He was not particularly backward in His attacks on the Pharisees “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” Matthew 3:7.

  • lib2016

    The republican leadership has already said that targeting innocent people was wrong and that they regret all the deaths.

    Further inquiries might take us a little further but I doubt that we would get much useful information.

    As we saw during the ‘Bloody Sunday’ inquiry the secrecy oaths of the IRA stop them from giving useful testimony and the British sources not only destroyed what evidence they had but were also extremely mendacious.

    The best one could hope for is emotional relief for the dead or injured and their relations. I’ve been attacked here regularly for my lack of insight into their grief so maybe it would be better if I asked you. Would digging up the past do more good or harm?

    PS I know a couple of lowlevel republican excombattants who are extremely repentent – mostly because they felt they had strayed from the ideals of Tone and Emmet. They still wouldn’t break their oaths of secrecy.

  • ulsterfan


    If they would not break their oaths how could they be repentant?
    Is killing in the name of Emmet or Tone acceptable but reprehensible in the name of Pearse and his successors in PIRA.
    Lets repeat once again for all the world to hear “ALL KILLING IS WRONG”

  • lib2016


    Of course I agree wholeheartedly – all killing is wrong.

    On the subject of republican volunteers who may repent certain actions I know only that there seems to have been an incredible cameraderie amongst them. They regard me as much of an outsider as any unionist would. Maybe there is a lurker who could tell us more.

  • Turgon

    You of course expose the truth behind what passes for SF/IRA “repentance”. To you and indeed practically all normal people this definition of repentance is pretty appropriate.

    For that genre of republicans they may regret the fact that people died. What they mean is that they regret the fact that they (the IRA) “had” to kill people. They regret the fact that unionists / Brits / whoever were so unreasonable and resistant to change etc. that the IRA had to torture and murder them.

    If a nationalist points out that their regret and repentance are a sham and a lie then they can be denounced as having a political anti SF agenda. If a unionist rejects their “regret” etc. it shows that the unionists are flat earth bigots and shows why sadly the IRA “had” to kill people. And of course the implicit subtext is that if circumstances changed some republicans might “have” to go back to killing people. Such is the nature of the lies and spin with which SF presents us.

    Looking at lib’s comment “Of course I agree wholeheartedly – all killing is wrong.” Yes it looks impressive but what is not being said is that some killing was sadly unfortunately and distressingly necessary. I need not provide any of the numerous citations which demonstrate that lib’s view of the wrongness of killing is entirely dependent on whether or not his mates were the ones who “had” to do it.

    Of course the idea that there is a camaraderie amongst violent killers is hardly surprising. Peer group pressure is a good way to keep people who have done such things together and motivate them to do more such evil acts. I know it offends against Godwin’s law but the SS had a famous esprit de corps. Camaraderie amongst criminal thugs and murderers is not something to be lauded it is rather something to be held in contempt.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    I think it would be extremely benefical if there was a tribunal/commissioin that gave the IRA an opportunbity to explain for example their justification for their ‘legitimate targets’. This would not require individual members to provide information about their involvement – after all they were following orders, but rather offer Sinn Fein ( or IRA members) the chance to explain how targetting included off-duty or retired memebers of the security forces or exactly what was going on at Eniskillen. Simply issuing a blanket statement is not good enough in my view. This would undoubtedly clarify a number of aspects of the campaign and examine the influence (if any) of sectarianism. It should not just be a statement but give the relatives of Le Mon (or their legal representavites ) for example a chance to challenge the evidence that it was a ‘mistake’. This process would be both painful for Unionists who would have to listen to the IRA describing their actions in ‘military’ terms but also painful for Republicans who would have to answer the charges of their campaign being ‘sectarian, ‘murderous’ etc.

    Of course Slugger provides a platform for this type of debate – and I suppose a web based medium that took ‘expert opinion’ and allowed submissions from the public might be a half way house to a full tribunal.

  • lib2016


    Can’t argue with any of that, though the years seem to be sliding past and there seems to be less and less chance of any such Tribunal happening.

    One thing which have to happen before any such a Tribunal could begin is that ordinary police and soldiers would have to be given the same sort of legal protection as republicans.

    Only if government forces were going to be subjected to the same sort of questioning would there be any possibility of republicans co-operating and to be truthful I still think they would prefer to remain silent.

    There are, as shown all too often on this board, enough people trying to put their own words in other people’s mouths. Why give them the chance to whip up more hate?

  • ulsterfan


    You are too ambitious and hoping for a lot to think that Slugger could act as a surrogate tribune of inquiry.
    A good idea but can you see participants baring all for scrutiny and judgement?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    I have to confess to a mild technical interest in a ‘structured’ debate via the internet.

    p.s. Williams would not appear to be the wisest of choices.


    The hate in my opinion lives on because things are NOT debated and ideas/misconceptions NOT challenged.

    Perhaps Slugger could offer this as a topic – but not sure if this has already occurred?

  • Mick Fealty


    Just to acknowledge the kind thought behind this comment:

    “Mick is a very intelligent unionist who saw the need for calm discussion long before most of us and who still manages to get it right most of the time.”

    So long as we continue to use secret balloting rather than caucusing Iowa style, I prefer to keep my constitutional politics to myself.