“What would that achieve..”

The BBC’s Vincent Kearney with a brief run-down of some of the suggested proposals being aired by anonymous sources close to the consultative group.

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  • Debbie

    Yes I saw this and the point aired is were the troubles really a war? Does it really matter at this late stage? Will this group turn this into a truth commission and will the truth ever really come out? Why should only one side admit their wrongs, and why are the IRA being treated differently, if this happens what is the point of the whole exercise? And are the government prepared to spend huge sums of money on this when there is no money for health.

    I understand there are families out there who if they can’t get justice are at least entitled to the truth, but can this group or its recomendations really deliver?

  • DC

    Yes it was a war. A war against terror.

    More awkward squiggle time for the DUP and the experience the UUP has in negotiating these very sticky moments must now be priceless but will it be forthcoming.

    This should be interesting, if the Government says yes, will the OTRs be able to come home too, if ‘truth’ is planned to come out for it; but everything the DUP really fought for, that is, the strong ethical argument put very strongly against IRA operations over the years will be quickly diminished, to the point where it is equated with that of an apparent state ‘war’ – an equaliser.

    Unless the DUP can put into place an effective strategy to ensure they nail down bigger ethical flaws, disgusting flaws, with Republican terror over that of war-like state officials. But then this is the old zero-sum nonsense, but old-DUP at its best and certainly not steps to reconciliation.

    Perhaps this ‘amnesty’ is what is required to move on appropriately together, but can extremism on the periphery of the DUP be contained to enable this to be achieved, an acceptance of long held out Republican view of the Troubles.

    More give and take.

  • The Raven

    A fair point. I really doubt that we would ever get the full truth. From a Protestant perspective, I can’t ever see the sacred cows of Adams and McGuinness standing up and saying “Yeah I did this/that, here’s the details, here’s who was involved, here were the outcomes.”

    Executions…punishment squads…exiles…murders…would we ever REALLY get the full truth? I just doubt it.

    And while this next bit that I am about to write is NOT a view I subscribe to, I do feel that no matter how much was delivered in terms of the above, there are those on both sides who will never believe it is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    But here’s me…wittering away about Gerry and Marty…who the hell really thinks the British Government will own up to everything??? Indeed, watching how shabbily they treat their own army post-Gulf War, the word I should be using is “anything”!!

    PS Debbie, for the record, I am with you on the cost point. Having seen the cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, I wonder would Gordon sanction the spend…?

  • John East Belfast

    Any statement by the UK Govt that the terrorist campaigns orchestrated by various illegal groups were anything other than a crime would be an outrage.

    It would also be a slap in the face for all those who risked their lives in defence of the rule of law – judges, police officers, DPP, witnesses etc -indeed the whole law abiding community.

    Legitimising PIRA, UVF et al would also be a terrble legacy for future generations.

    If there is any truth in this Eames should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.

    If this was put to a referendum among the unionist community it wouldnt register double % figures.

    If naionalists see it differently that is their problem

    PIRA crave legitimacy but they shouldnt ever be given it.
    They should take the guilt of their sordid crimes to their grave and their legacy should only be remembered as a blight on late 20th century Ireland.

  • perci

    JEB that argument can be turned on its head, but I wouldn’t be so indifferent as to say:

    “If unionists see it differently that is their problem”

    even Paisley refers to the troubles as a war; admit it you’re terrified of possibly losing the moral high ground, and having to look in the mirror.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’d be concerned that the paramilitaries, and paramilitary-connected interests in Sinn Fein, the DUP and the UUP (hello Vanguard, hello Ulster Resistance, hello Ulster Worker’s Council) would not keep to their side of the bargain. It’ll have to be either the whole truth – or nothing at all.

  • Debbie

    It looks like this group will formally ask the government to say it fought a war against the IRA.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7174105.stm

    Why for goodness sake. What is the purpose of this except to say, yes we the govt of Britain fought a war against the IRA therefore we are sorry for our part in that war.

    How can the govt do this when it denied all along this was a war? A turn around on this now serves no purpose other than this group trying to re-write history.

  • Pete Baker

    If it was intended as a way of buying off the paramilitaries, whilst avoiding the tricky issue of any new legislation required for amnesties, it would seem to be an ill-thought out proposal.

    After all, such a declaration would appear to open up the possibility of charges of war crimes..

  • BonarLaw

    Remind me what the terrorists did with their prisoners of war…

    His Lordship needs to knock this one on the head ASAP.

  • John East Belfast

    perci

    “admit it you’re terrified of possibly losing the moral high ground, and having to look in the mirror.”

    I have no problems looking in the mirror.

    I never supported paramilitaries and I oppose(d) any alleged state collusion with the same.
    I have never voted for PUP or UDP and vocally opposed my own party’s dalliance with the PUP two years ago.

    My conscience is clear and this is black and white to me.

    If Eames cant see this then he has lost his moral compass.

    In terms of the scales of guilt there is no balance between UK Govt and the Irish terrorists of whatever colour.

    There was never any justification for either side’s activities as they lived in a democracy where they could exercise a vote – indeed what they are doing now.

    It would be a terrible legacy to our children and grandchldren if we not only left them the history of the “Troubles” but before we all went to our graves we also legitiised it.

  • DC

    Ah Pete, good take re war crimes.

    I often like Aughey’s German word used to describe Northern Ireland politics at certain stages, it can seemingly be applied many times and that is:

    ‘verschlimmbesserung’

    Something along the lines of: as things get better they also get worse.

    Or perhaps ‘a worse improvement’; just what truth may really be?

    Gerry Adams, McGuinness, Paisley and certain other State officials hauled up for war crimes for the truth that really is out there all along, namely, that they previously have been complicit in murder or inciting it, politically or otherwise.

    But Vote 1

  • perci

    “as they lived in a democracy where they could exercise the vote” JEB howler of the year. lol
    are you serious?

    All that’s changed is there’s a few token taigs at Stormont with unionist supremacy still the order of the day; sure SDLP/FF/SF are all from the same sow’s litter right?

  • perci

    hope I don’t sound too bitter.
    gnash gnash of teeth 😉

  • John East Belfast

    perci

    “All that’s changed is there’s a few token taigs at Stormont with unionist supremacy still the order of the day; sure SDLP/FF/SF are all from the same sow’s litter right?”

    Your wharped view of the present displayed above clearly shows why any re-writing of the past along lines provided by the likes of you would be so wrong

  • Turgon

    This discussion of “war” continually comes up. It seems to be because terming what happened here a “war” allows some now politically important groups SF and IRA and indeed the alphabet soup (politically important in their own fantasy world) the ability to explain away their actions. As Pete Baker correctly observes, however, terming what happened here a “war” does not remove the legal guilt let alone the ethical or moral guilt. Without getting into whataboutery we all know that very few of the events here come anyway near what any right thinking person would call “military operations”.

    The problem seems to be that although the moral compass of the vast majority of the population here (of all political persuasions and none) is pretty clear; that of some of the “powers that be” seems somewhat distorted by expediency and to their discredit Eames and Bradley might be willing to go along with this from some sort of specious “for the greater good” argument.

    Comrade Stalin and perci raise the issues of possible mainstream unionist involvement with extremely dubious groups and potentially with terrorists. I can only say that I am quite happy nay keen to condemn all forms of illegal activity and any support of these activities by anyone. Although any involvement by unionist politicians with illegality seems to have been extremely minor as compared to that of republicans that makes it no less reprehensible. Not only was loyalist violence and criminality immoral it was also without exception politically counter productive and only contributed to damaging the unionist position morally, politically and practically.

  • éireannach saolta

    Turgon alot of the Loyalist paramilitaries were run by these unionist politicians. If a report can come out stating that the UDR a state funded had 5-15% involved in this war there’d have to be a fair number of politicians involved.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon:

    Although any involvement by unionist politicians with illegality seems to have been extremely minor as compared to that of republicans that makes it no less reprehensible.

    This is the only part I disagree with. The unionist politicians may not themselves have held the guns, and may not have pulled the triggers or planted the bombs, but that’s about as far as the distinction goes. More often than not, the mask slips.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On the subject of masks slipping ..

  • Comrade Stalin
  • Steve

    turgon
    Although any involvement by unionist politicians with illegality seems to have been extremely minor as compared to that of republicans

    I have only a one thing to say, Third force. Nullifies all your moral prevarications

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    “More often than not, the mask slips”

    yes and you had to go back 3 and a half years to find a link to a minor DUP politcian..

    Get some perspective if you want to be taken seriously

    There is no comparison between SF/PIRA and any major unionist party no matter how you wish it was – have a reality check

    Anyhow why are the Alliance dissing the PUP when a few months back on this thread someone (I think Realist ?) made the Alliance types on here eat humble pie re Dawn Purvis being East Belfast Alliance pin up girl ?

  • The Dubliner

    “Perhaps this ‘amnesty’ is what is required to move on appropriately together, but can extremism on the periphery of the DUP be contained to enable this to be achieved, an acceptance of long held out Republican view of the Troubles.” – DC

    The government shouldn’t have it within its gift to grant absolution to members of criminal gangs here. That should be the exclusive right of the victims, and in the case of murder victims, their next of kin. It is imperative that the victims make that decision, and that each case progresses accordingly.

    Keep in mind, also, that sociopaths are devoid of conscience. Ergo, it is nonsense to assume that something that doesn’t exist will compel them to confess. Only self-interest will have that outcome.

    Society, however, has already decided how it wishes to move forward: it wishes to overlook the tens of thousands of victims who the leaders of the two main political parties are mostly responsible for creating. In short, it wishes the victims would shut the f*ck up. It’s a purely selfish resolution, but that’s the ugly reality for ya. The rest is just an attempt to dress that ugly daughter in pretty apparel.

  • The Dubliner

    Just to add that in the case of killers with multiple victims where the families disagree, then absolution should only be granted for a victim whose family consent (and not for a victim where family does not).

    But anyway, that’s just academic. Given that PSF ensuring that their own serial killers were released from prison (granting parity of esteem to loyalist killers) and made strenuous efforts to ensure that their killers who had outstanding charges against them were not held to account for their crimes, it follows that they will support an amnesty as a means of protecting their own, passing it off as having a beneficial purpose to others when it is only required by them to be beneficial to them.

  • pith

    Is Robin Eames the new Desmond Tutu?

    What a load of middle-class baloney.

  • The Dubliner

    John East Belfast, you’re wasting your time with the moral relativists. In their method of rationalising, nothing is absolute and everything is relative to something else. Ergo, a wrong on one side is cancelled-out by finding an equivalent wrong by the other side. Two wrongs, literally, make a right. So, as long as one side is as bad as the other, everything evens out.

  • Comrade Stalin

    John EB :

    yes and you had to go back 3 and a half years to find a link to a minor DUP politcian..

    Ian Paisley Jnr and Nigel Dodds are not “minor DUP politicians”. The Alexander Bar raid happened less than two years ago.

    The pattern in unionism right through history is one of letting loyalist paramilitaries off the hook, or recruiting them to do the dirty work. It started before partition, and it continues today. It is very hard to find examples of unionist politicians being tough on loyalist paramilitarism. This is unsurprising given that this is where their votes come from. You should stop trying to deny it.

    Get some perspective if you want to be taken seriously

    I’ve got perspective alright, namely that unionism acts as the de-facto political wing of militant loyalism, for no readily discernable reason, and this hasn’t changed. It’s all very well people like you saying you oppose that stuff, and I believe you, but the politics you choose to associate yourself with does not.

    There is no comparison between SF/PIRA and any major unionist party no matter how you wish it was – have a reality check

    Fine. Then please explain why, when the PSNI raided a bar full of loyalists organizing a paramilitary meeting, that Nigel Dodds wrote to the Chief Constable to complain about it. That’s what Sinn Fein do. Why did Dodds feel the need to do the same ?

    Anyhow why are the Alliance dissing the PUP when a few months back on this thread someone (I think Realist ?) made the Alliance types on here eat humble pie re Dawn Purvis being East Belfast Alliance pin up girl ?

    Do you always resort to lies when you’re backed into a corner ? Dawn Purvis wasn’t an Alliance anything. Not that you’re in much of a position to slag anyone, you voted in Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor when the UVF were busy killing lots of people. I guess that’s your principled opposition to terrorism at work.

    Dubliner:

    John East Belfast, you’re wasting your time with the moral relativists. In their method of rationalising, nothing is absolute and everything is relative to something else. Ergo, a wrong on one side is cancelled-out by finding an equivalent wrong by the other side. Two wrongs, literally, make a right. So, as long as one side is as bad as the other, everything evens out.

    The naive people who are the ones that think unionism carries a lower burden of blame for the problems here because they did not imitate precisely the behaviour of the IRA. You can’t vote in a guy like Bill Craig who talks about “liquidating the enemy” and then turn around and say you oppose terrorism. Of course, the UUP party leader might disagree. Maybe some day he’s explain his little role in that matter.

  • [i]Is Robin Eames the new Desmond Tutu?

    What a load of middle-class baloney.

    Posted by pith on Jan 08, 2008 @ 08:04 AM[/i]

    I was actually lucky enough to meet Desmond Tutu once, when he was over doing some TV for the beeb and I think it’s unfair to brand him a middle class numpty. He has worked long and hard to make sure no-one lives through what he had to deal with.

  • Mike

    So, the rumour has it that Lord Eames and Denis Bradley are planning to ask the Government to declare that Kingsmills, Teebane, Greysteel, Enniskillen, Loughinisland, Warrenpoint, etc weren’t murder.

    Doesn’t strike me as a terribly intelligent proposal to achieve reconciliation and closure for the victims and their families…

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The GFA/STA agreements are a de facto recognition that the Provo campaign was a ‘war’. If you get your prisoners out of jail, get constitutional change, get into government ( soon to be running the legal system) – so if it quacks like a duck etc.

    The DUP/UU have conceded this by going into governement with SF. Most balanceed historians see the Provo campaign as part of the ongoing unsettled mess that was partition and its aftermath in Stormont ( Mark 1).

    It is only the so called ‘rejectionists’ unionists who have maintainted their positon on this ( good old Turgon for one ) – who do not agree that ‘terrorists’ should be in governement.

    A commision asking the difficult questions of Sinn Fein – their targeting policy, their ‘mistakes’ would be welcome although very uncomfortable for them.

  • harry

    if the this body looking at the past is suggesting that the conflict be called a “WAR” and Gerry Adams says the WAR is over.

    is it OK to ask who won the WAR?

    we know won the the first world war
    the second
    the korean
    the vietnam
    the first persian gulf war

    so who won this one?

  • pith

    Pounder,

    Apologies, I wasn’t clear at all. Like most people I have the highest regard for Desmond Tutu. At best, I am indifferent to Eames and my comment was meant to imply that Eames is no Tutu.

  • Twinbrook

    semantics..
    whether some like it or not, the facts are….that the majority of Nationalists thought it was a War and a semblance of Loyalists thought likewise…..what had they in common….they both agreed they weren`t Terrorists but Freedom fighters….
    Mightn`t be palatable but then some things aren`t..

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    “I’ve got perspective alright, namely that unionism acts as the de-facto political wing of militant loyalism”

    That is just hysterical nonsense. I dont consider you a stupid person so I can only put this down to the normal ‘hatered’ that the UUP encounters at the hands of the Alliance Party.

    You are trying to convince yourself of something that does not have the evidence to substantially support it because you already have your mind made up.

    I have been in the UUP for 11 years and not once have I ever heard a word of support for loyalist paramilitarism. Not even in private.

    I have been to two meetings though where we discussed at length whether we should make a financial grant to a working class group because of perceived links to loyalist paramilitarism.

    I wont deny people said things or associated with people in the heat of the moment that they now regret. I wont even deny that unsavoury people were in any ‘constititutional’ unionist party.

    When Robert Bradford and Edgar Graham were murdered tempers and frustrations boiled over – it didnt make it right but that was the way things were.
    Were people tempted to take the law into their own hands – probably.

    However the vast majority of NI citisens and members of the UUP held the line for law and order.

    No reasonable person could equate any of the incidents and personalities you have raised with the structural and institutionalised connection between SF/PIRA or UVF/PUP. Indeed it is an isnult to one’s intelligence to do so.

    It is the same with Govt collusion. The thousands who were subject to due process and even often aquitted under the Rule of law are ignored so that the gullible can be convinced that “Shoot to Kill” was the norm rather than the exception.

    All the good law abiding work and thousands of man hours of UUP members are ignored as people like you pursue an agenda to blacken constitutional unionism.

    I have no problem seeing who the good guys and the bad guys actually were. Where the good guys as pure as the driven snow – not always.
    However they were no where near as black as the paramilitaries who cursed my generation.

    It would be outrageous for them to be remembered in any other way. Eames, Porter etc have seriously lost their moral compass on all this

  • cut the bull

    If the Brit govt do admit that it and its armed forces fought a war against the RA. Can we therefore take it that all covictions in relation to that that period will be scrubbed.

    If it was a war then surely by virtue of that covictions could not stand and a lot of slates would have to be wiped clean.

    If this is done could those who formerly had records but were now cleared of such blemishes on their characters, be able to join the PSNI, Civil Service or seek employment within the PPS or other branches of the Justice System.

  • willowfield

    “The group set up to look at how best to deal with the legacy of the Troubles may ask the government to formally say it fought a war against the IRA.”

    “May ask the government”: let’s hope this is journalistic headline-grabbing, because it would be an outrageous insult to the victims of the Troubles if the government were to legitimise the death squads and murder gangs in such a way.

    “If the government was to say it was a war, it could enable it to grant a form of amnesty to former paramilitaries willing to provide details of their activities as part of a truth recovery process.”

    We don’t need a truth recovery process: we all know the truth. We also all know that members of terrorist death squads will not “provide details” of any activities that would be detrimental to the political interests of their masters, in return for an irrelevant “amnesty”. Those who have yet to be convicted know that (a) the chances of them ever being convicted are remoted; and (b) even if they were to be convicted, they would be immediately released under the terms of the GFA.

    “The report could also recommend that all groups involved in the violence should apologise for their role and consider signing an agreement that they will never again use violence for political ends.”

    Again, it would be outrageous is terror gangs were to be legitimised in this way. For the state to recognise the leaders of the UFF or the PIRA in this way would be a gross insult to their victims.

    I sincerely hope that victims groups make it known in the strongest possible terms that the death squads should not be legitimised by the state in the ways apparently being considered by this Eames/Bradley group which cannot have any credibility if these reports are genuine.

    Sammy McNally

    The GFA/STA agreements are a de facto recognition that the Provo campaign was a ‘war’. If you get your prisoners out of jail, get constitutional change, get into government ( soon to be running the legal system) – so if it quacks like a duck etc.

    Wrong. Prisoners were given early release: they were not pardoned. They still have criminal records and are released “on licence”. Constitutional change and “getting into government” was the result of negotiation between democratically-elected politicians and the votes of the electorate.

    Most balanceed historians see the Provo campaign as part of the ongoing unsettled mess that was partition and its aftermath in Stormont ( Mark 1).

    That doesn’t make it a “war”.

    Twinbrook

    whether some like it or not, the facts are….that the majority of Nationalists thought it was a War and a semblance of Loyalists thought likewise…..what had they in common….they both agreed they weren`t Terrorists but Freedom fighters….

    The individual opinions of (as you claim) “the majority of nationalists” and “a semblance of loyalists” is of no relevance: the Troubles did not constitute a “war” in any legal sense. Neither does it matter whether or not certain people believed that the death squads were or were not terrorists: anyone who engages in terrorism is a terrorist whether or not he or his supporters claim otherwise. And being a “freedom fighter” does not necessarily mean one is not a terrorist: “freedom fighters” may well employ terrorism.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows me old Mucker – how thew devil are you?

    “Constitutional change and “getting into government” was the result of negotiation between democratically-elected politicians and the votes of the electorate”

    Wrong.

    the GFA/STA was the price the politicians ( in this case the British government ) were prepared to pay the Provos for the ceasefire i.e. no more war, which was then backed by the electorate.

    re. Prisoners.
    The ‘license’ fudge is irrelevant – they still got their prisoners out.

    re. War

    Unionists have recognised the ‘legitimacy’ of the Provo campaign by putting them in government and SF even got an endorsement for their ‘war’ (admittedldy belatedly) from the majority of Nationalists. With positions in government, the support of their people, their prisoners out, constitutional change, reform of Police (one of their opponents ) and being treated like international statesmen then unplatable as it may be to some, ‘war’ looks like the the most apposite term.

  • willowfield

    Sammy McNally

    the GFA/STA was the price the politicians ( in this case the British government ) were prepared to pay the Provos for the ceasefire i.e. no more war, which was then backed by the electorate.

    It’s not as simple as that. For a start, the Government wasn’t the only player, and it wasn’t simply a negotiation between the Government and the Provos: unionists, non-violent nationalists, “loyalists” and the Southern Irish Government were also involved, and each had their own reasons for taking part in negotiations other than simply “paying the Provos”. A bilateral GFA between PSF and the Government would not have happened. Therefore it is correct to say that “constitutional change and “getting into government” was the result of negotiation between democratically-elected politicians and the votes of the electorate”.

    Moreover, it was particularly the constitutional aspects which were negotiated by the democratically-elected politicians and were not a result of the Government “paying the Provos”. Those elements which might be characterised as the price of the ceasefire – prisoner releases, policing review, etc. – cannot be considered as “constitutional change”.

    As for “getting into government”, this has been the result of (a) the constitutional change negotiated by the parties, and (b) sufficient people voting for the Provos.

    Second, it had been Government policy since the prorogation of Stormont in 1972 for a new constitutional settlement to be achieved, and several attempts had been tried prior to the GFA and prior to the Provo ceasefire. The GFA was in many respects simply the culmination of that policy, albeit the Provo ceasefire had added a new dimension and a further impetus.

    Third, the Provo ceasefire had been announced several years before the GFA negotiations began.

    The ‘license’ fudge is irrelevant – they still got their prisoners out.

    It’s not irrelevant. On the contrary: it is relevant. No-one has denied that the prisoners were released: the point is that they were released early on license. They were not pardoned; they remain convicted criminals; and therefore early release does not constitute any recognition of any legal state of “war”.

    Unionists have recognised the ‘legitimacy’ of the Provo campaign by putting them in government and SF even got an endorsement for their ‘war’ (admittedldy belatedly) from the majority of Nationalists.

    Unionists have simply recognised the political inevitability and necessity of power-sharing and that the relative size of the Provo vote cannot be ignored. That does not legitimise the Provo campaign: it is a recognition of political reality. Indeed, unionists would argue that they held back from power-sharing until such time as the Provo campaign had ended and had been seen to have ended, thereby assigning precisely the opposite of “legitimacy” to the campaign. The Provos are “in government” because of the votes they have received, not because of their campaign. (Note that no other existing or former terror movements are in government, because no other such movements have received sufficient votes.)

    It does not follow that because a majority of nationalists voted for the Provos after their campaign had ended that it therefore must legally have been a war. Neither would it have so followed even if a majority had voted for them during the campaign.

    With positions in government, the support of their people, their prisoners out, constitutional change, reform of Police (one of their opponents ) and being treated like international statesmen then unplatable as it may be to some, ‘war’ looks like the the most apposite term.

    No it doesn’t. None of the above demonstrates that there was a “war”. There was a political terrorist campaign which succeeded in gaining a degree of electoral support and of “military” success, and then an even greater defree of electoral support as a result of ending its “military” compaign, so much that conditions arose whereby it became expedient for the Government to facilitate constitutional change that had long been sought anyway.

  • Disbielf

    As I watch the evens of the Amnesty unfold infront of me, I feel again shafted by the British Government, they bent over backwards for paramilitary organisations over the early release of prisioners and they are doing the same again. Amnesty!!! really what about the victims and their families. Vicitms have been denied all their basic human rights (the right to life) and again they are being denied their rights “the right to justice”. A lot of vicitims families only have justice left, their lives ended the day they lost their loved one. Amnesty seams to be about the perpatrators being able to draw a line in the sand and move on with their lives, being fully involved in society without the label of paramilitary. What about the vicitims who lost their lives, WHAT? because they cant speak they no longer count. This amnesty would be rolled out as a blanket to all those involved in terrorist organisations, but what about the people they murdered for no particular reason. Maybe because they spoke to thier wife, wouldnt sleep with them or just because they could. What about them??? The people that murdered those people were just evil, pathological killers, anywhere else they would be regarded as serial murders and in parts of the world would have to face capital punishment. But in Northern Ireland they are given a pat on the back, an education, only serve short sentences and this lastest blow amnesty. Will they now sensationalise the murder of people’s loved ones and write books about their cause, their war.

    All this Amnesty will do is divide Northern Ireland even further. I know myself if my rights keep being denied I’ll leave, go somewhere were my rights are upheld, for at least if I were to loose another member of my family I could have a proper police service and if someone admits it, they will feel the full weight of the law rather than a pat on the back and a hand shake and told it doesnt matter any more because it matters to us ‘the vicitms’ the people left to pick up the pieces and who felt the full brunt of the terrorist campaign on Northern Ireland.

  • Twinbrook

    John east belfast…
    “It is the same with Govt collusion. The thousands who were subject to due process and even often aquitted under the Rule of law are ignored so that the gullible can be convinced that “Shoot to Kill” was the norm rather than the exception.”
    Maybe you`ve forgot the Diplock courts, the numerous cases of miscarriages of justice and for someone today to under-estimate the British governments active part collusion beggars belief…continue on your one man revisionist crusade!

    Willowfield,
    If history teaches anything….one mans terrorist is another’s freedom fighter….
    And the opinions of those who hold the belief that it was a War…..are valid and important otherwise the British Government wouldn`t be going to such lengths to accommodate them..

  • He’s havin a laff..

    Could anyone answer me this……..how could certain ppl sit in that room and call themselves victims when they’re loves one’s inflicted so much pain on others?!?!

    [See commenting policy – edited moderator]

  • willowfield

    Twinbrook

    Maybe you`ve forgot [sic] the Diplock courts …

    Do you know why Diplock courts were introduced?

    If history teaches anything….one mans terrorist is another’s freedom fighter….

    What matters is the truth: not the opinions of “one man”. If someone engages in terrorism, he is a terrorist, regardless of whether or not “one man” thinks he is a “freedom fighter” or not.

    And the opinions of those who hold the belief that it was a War…..are valid and important otherwise the British Government wouldn`t be going to such lengths to accommodate them..

    Can a wrong opinion be valid? I’m not sure. And we don’t know to what lengths the Government is going, since all we have is an anonymous rumour about what a committee “may” recommend.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    re. ‘Not as simple as that’

    The SUBSTANTIVE reason for GFA/STA was the ending of the Provo campaign the Englezes ( and Provos )
    had been trying to cut deal for years.

    The 2nd Irish war of Independence in the latter half of the 20th Centruy was as much a war ( though not geographically ) as the first Irish war of independence at the beginning of the century. GFA/STA was not only recogntion of legitimacy of Provo campaign but recognition that partition – the settlement of the first independence war was a shambles.

    Of course many Unionists and Dublin4ers including the hugely entertaining Kevin Myers see the old Provos of the 1920 as terrorists and not involved in a war either – but it is not unusual for those closest to the battle and/or with a fair helping of ideological baggage not to see the bigger picture.

  • Twinbrook

    Well supposedly to stop jury intimidation, or in the eyes of one side of the community, to gave legitimatacy to the British government attempts to demonise and legally intern Republicans! But then Internment never happened!

    You seem to think as if we in this society lived in a normal society where the forces of law where on one side and Republicans and all the other assorted baddies on the other.

    You under estimate or try to ignore that how you view the last 40 years is at odds and at variance with that of the Nationalist community!

    Where the British Government Terrorists when they colluded with Loyalists a tactic used in all former colonies they went to *war* with, because those colonies wanted to break free of the British yoke…

  • willowfield

    McNALLY

    The SUBSTANTIVE reason for GFA/STA was the ending of the Provo campaign the Englezes ( and Provos ) had been trying to cut deal for years.

    The Provo campaign had already ended.

    The 2nd Irish war of Independence in the latter half of the 20th Centruy was as much a war ( though not geographically ) as the first Irish war of independence at the beginning of the century.

    It wasn’t: though, if that is your logic, neither can have been a war.

    GFA/STA was not only recogntion of legitimacy of Provo campaign but recognition that partition – the settlement of the first independence war was a shambles.

    It wasn’t a recognition of “legitimacy of Provo campaign”: on the contrary, it was actually predicated upon the principle of non-violence.

    TWINBROOK

    Well supposedly to stop jury intimidation

    And who was intimidating jurors?

    , or in the eyes of one side of the community, to gave legitimatacy to the British government attempts to demonise and legally intern Republicans!

    The courts tried and imprisoned many “republicans” for crimes that they committed. They demonised themselves by committing those crimes.

    But then Internment never happened!

    The DIplock courts had nothing to do with internment.

    You seem to think as if we in this society lived in a normal society where the forces of law where on one side and Republicans and all the other assorted baddies on the other.

    More than that: you have removed from your equation the vast majority of people in NI who were neither in the security forces or terror gangs. They, too, were on the side of ;aw amd order. Essentially, though, your equation is correct, notwithstanding those within the forces of law who broke the law themselves.

    You under estimate or try to ignore that how you view the last 40 years is at odds and at variance with that of the Nationalist community!

    During the Troubles, only a minority within the nationalist community was on the side of the death squads. It is you who is ignoring that fact.

    Where [sic] the British Government Terrorists when they colluded with Loyalists a tactic used in all former colonies they went to *war* with, because those colonies wanted to break free of the British yoke…

    Anyone who engaged in terrorism was a terrorist, but I don’t think any members of the Government engaged in terrorism. If any members of the security forces did, then obviously they were guilty of terrorism.

  • ulsterfan

    There are to all intents and purposes two opposing groups in NI each having different views on law and order and constitutional matters.
    The division is getting wider and deeper and as a Unionist this does not cause me any concern as I believe it makes the Union much stronger.
    This will last several generations. there is no movement within the political parties to come together never mind reconciliation.
    With this stand off Unionists are brought closer together to oppose the “enemy” seen as republicanism.
    Segregation in sport, culture religion and language makes the task so much easier.

  • cut the bull

    Willowfield

    Anyone who engaged in terrorism was a terrorist, but I don’t think any members of the Government engaged in terrorism. If any members of the security forces did, then obviously they were guilty of terrorism.

    A senior tory party member Douglas Hogg
    using paliamentary privilage, accused Solicitors of working on behalf of and giving support to the IRA.

    Shortly after this staement was made Pat Finucane was murdered. That says it all for me.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    the Provo campaign ended because the goodies of the GFA were already conceded to them in advance by the Englezes – that’s what pissed of the DUP and lead the UUP to death by 1000 party conferences.

    The Englezes clearly ran and encouraged loyalist killer squads. All sides used terror tactics – though clearly the Provos used more terror and killed more people. Using terror tactics (e.g.Dresden) does NOT make you a terrorist.

    The Provos clearly were not terrorists or the good Nationalist people of Non Iron would not have elected them into government.

    The irony is that this view is probably shared by most in the British Isles except the British Irish on the island of Ireland and some quarefellahs in ROI characterised by the term D4.

  • willowfield

    McNally

    the Provo campaign ended because the goodies of the GFA were already conceded to them in advance by the Englezes – that’s what pissed of the DUP and lead [sic] the UUP to death by 1000 party conferences.

    It wasn’t in the gift of the Government to concede power-sharing, etc. Regarding early prisoner releases, that is not constitutional change as I already advised you.

    The Englezes clearly ran and encouraged loyalist killer squads.

    That’s far from clear.

    All sides used terror tactics – though clearly the Provos used more terror and killed more people. Using terror tactics (e.g.Dresden) does NOT make you a terrorist.

    By any definition, the Provos were terrorists. If, as you say, simply using terror tactics does not make you a terrorist, then you concede that the Government were not terrorists. Regardless, being elected does not mean one is not or was not a terrorist.

    The Provos clearly were not terrorists or the good Nationalist people of Non Iron would not have elected them into government.

    By any definition, the Provos were terrorists. They were only “elected into government” after they gave up terrorism.

    The irony is that this view is probably shared by most in the British Isles except the British Irish on the island of Ireland and some quarefellahs in ROI characterised by the term D4.

    Not so. The only people who believe the Provos were not terrorists, ignoring a 30 year terror campaign, are the Provos themselves and their supporters.

  • willowfield

    The sentence “Regardless, being elected does not mean one is not or was not a terrorist” should follow the next paragraph.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows

    “It wasn’t in the gift of the Government to concede power-sharing, etc. ”

    The Englezes held a constitutional gun to Unionist heads from the start – concede what we want you to concede (ie what had already agreed with the Provos) or we will do a deal with ROI. Berty sat at the table to remind Unionist of this new reality.

    Trimble and belatedly Paisley knew they had no where to go other than into the new arrangments GFA/STA. Both of them have actually admitted this.

    “By any definition, the Provos were terrorists”
    Their main adversary treated them like equals ( in fact superiors according to most Unionists at the time ) by granting them concessions constitutional and otherwise. The Provos were treated as combatants in war with a politcal solution and there behaviour ( with a few shocking exceptions ) has borne this out. The British want Martin Mc Guinness to be appointing judges in a few months time.

    The Provos have been treated like statesmen by the British government and have by and large acted like that since entering goverment.

    Your main problem is not being able to accept the REALITY of what has unfolded and hide behind a onesided view of the morality of the situation.

  • Twinbrook

    Willowfield…
    Firstly as someone who lives amongst Nationalists unlike yourself, maybe just maybe I would be in tune with their thinking…

    Firstly you vainly attempt to demonise and will not accept that the majority of Nationalists hold opinions which you deem not only politically incorrect, opinions which you either ignore or try vainly to minimise…
    Now you use language as if this were an ideal society with a few mis-contents causing trouble…

    You find it hard to acknowledge that Nationalists saw the *troubles* as a war, a conflict and as such there were causalities….

    Now if you want to talk about death squads, surely you should acknowledge the British Governments role in running them??

    It must sicken you to see these *terrorists* to use your language not only in government but the largest Nationalist party…not that this would mirror my own views but dening and hoping it will go away just doesn`t work…

    You are sounding more and more like willie frazer….very, very bitter..

    Firstly if I remember correctly Diplock courts where just a pre-cursor to the British Governments Ulsterisation policy…..and No jury courts where a substitute, a legal remedy to internment……

    So according to you everyone found guilty on spurious evidence, the words of policemen and the army and those who made confessions under duress and after beating in holding centres were their rights where suspended and they could be held indefinately under draconian *anti-terrorist* laws were guilty!!!!

    Keep up the work!!!!!

  • ulsterfan

    Twinbrook

    Despite the fantasies of many Republicans it does no harm to reflect reality and say The Queen’s Writ runs the entire length and breadth of NI and Westminster is the sovereign parliament of this part of the United Kingdom.
    How and in what way has the position of NI in the kingdom been diminished with the present sovereignty held by London to the exclusion of Ireland which has only a consultative role to play.
    Any legislation from he Dail has no effect north of Newry.
    Please move into the real world.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You are trying to convince yourself of something that does not have the evidence to substantially support it because you already have your mind made up.

    I have made my mind up based on unionism’s long history. You’re absolutely right if you think that there’s nothing you can do to change my mind – you can’t. I’ve spent too long listening to unionist politicians subtlely justify violence and terrorism. I see no difference between that and the way republicans justify what they did, except the form of words used.

    I have been in the UUP for 11 years and not once have I ever heard a word of support for loyalist paramilitarism. Not even in private.

    11 years isn’t nearly long enough. I remember during the 1980s and 1990s UUP figures used to say the IRA were a security problem and the army and police should go in and sort them out. I never once heard them say that about the UDA or UVF, which isn’t too surprising I guess, since the UUP’s voters wouldn’t be too happy about the army raiding their areas, as Nigel Dodds has indicated.

    But this is neither here no there. Unionists don’t say stuff like “I support the UDA”, or “I hope the UDA kill more people”, they’re not that brazen about it. They say stuff like “The existence of the UDA is understandable given the IRA’s provocation”. Which, when you think about it, is the same sort of weasly crap Sinn Fein used to be known so well for (and still are). Or, like Trimble said when Michael McGoldrick was shot by the LVF, “these people are taking the law into their own hands” (like McGoldrick’s killing was some kind of vigilante act?). Or they’ll just do stuff like say “we completely oppose terror” and then turn around and support someone like Hugh Smyth for Lord Mayor. Unionism engages in pure doublespeak when it comes to loyalism.

    I was just watching a documentary about Free Derry. Gregory Thompson was on about how the establishment of Free Derry was an outrageous act of rebellion and defiance, and how wrong the government were to let it slide. Quite a reasonable point of view, except when you consider the little trick that unionism pulled a few years later.

    I have been to two meetings though where we discussed at length whether we should make a financial grant to a working class group because of perceived links to loyalist paramilitarism.

    That sort of thing is not quite what I’m talking about. It’s not the fact that the UUP or DUP deal with loyalists that bothers me so much, although it is a problem. It’s the way they present themselves as pure innocent victims who never dabbled with terrorism or terrorist methods, and who bear little or no responsibility for what transpired here, that really gets my goat. My point is simple, you need to stop being in denial and own up. If you can’t do that because you don’t feel personally responsible, then you’re too decent to be in the UUP.

    I wont even deny that unsavoury people were in any ‘constititutional’ unionist party.

    Were, are, and will continue to be. Not only are the unsavoury people there, but senior unionist figures have actively courted their support, and provide them with political cover when necessary.

    When Robert Bradford and Edgar Graham were murdered tempers and frustrations boiled over – it didnt make it right but that was the way things were.
    Were people tempted to take the law into their own hands – probably.

    Congratulations, you have now justified the IRA. Where did we start with this conversaton again ?

    However the vast majority of NI citisens and members of the UUP held the line for law and order.

    Rubbish. They supported law and order when it was used, quite correctly, against the republicans. They opposed it, often violently, when it suited them to do so.

    No reasonable person could equate any of the incidents and personalities you have raised with the structural and institutionalised connection between SF/PIRA or UVF/PUP. Indeed it is an isnult to one’s intelligence to do so.

    I did not claim that the UUP had an “institutionalized connection”. My point is that whether the connection is institutionalized or not does not matter.

    It is the same with Govt collusion.

    That’s a whole other kettle of fish. The collusion problem is a big one, but I agree with you that it’s not as big as it seems – although I find the candour shown by unionists when their own constituents have been murdered by the UDA or UVF under control of Special Branch to be inconsistent with their perspective when the murders were carried out by the IRA. It’s funny, and not “ha ha”. Ian Paisley Jnr, and various other people (possibly also in the UUP) supported the call for an enquiry into the death of Billy Wright, well-known LVF man, yet they kick sand in the face of Raymond McCartney and provide justification and apologies for the mechanisms which led to his death. What’s all that about ?

    [damn commenting thing, 5000 char limit]

  • Comrade Stalin

    The conflict wasn’t a war, it was a dirty sectarian tit for tat blood bath. The IRA’s apologists posting here need to remember that their members did not wear uniform, used torture regularly, and prosecuted their agenda with absolutely no regard for civilian life. This is all stuff which isn’t allowed under the Geneva Conventions and which would see you hauled up for war crimes. I suggest you people quietly drop it and go back to banging your bin lid.

    This whole discussion is an unwelcome jolt back to reality after several months of basking in the glow of the Chuckle Brothers. We’re still not able to accept our own faults, and we all still want to be able to hang the blame for what happened on the doors of other people. That’s the only reason why there’s any debate in the first place about whether it was a war or not.

  • Harry Flashman

    Spot on CS, if you want to call it a war then their deliberate targeting of civilians, execution of prisoners, attacks on medical bases and use of civilians as shields means that the Republicans were far and away the biggest war criminals.

    I really don’t think Republicans should claim it was a war, as I understand there is no amnesty for war crimes.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Comrade Stalin, Harry Flashman,

    SF have not been treated by terrorists by their main enemies in the ‘conflict’ in Non Iron but like National leaders involved in a conflict beucase of historical difficulties between 2 nations. This ‘conflict’ has clealry many of the charachteristics of a ‘war’ and is very similar to first Irish war of Independence in the early part of 20th Century.

    The Provo campaign resulted in reform of the state, constitutional change release of prinsers etc, etc. This is underandably uncomfortable for those unfortunate for those to have been on the wrong side of the historical/ideological fence (this includes Unioinists and probably you 2 guys ) as the conflict between Britain and Ireland moved towards resolution.

  • willowfield

    McNally

    The Englezes held a constitutional gun to Unionist heads from the start – concede what we want you to concede (ie what had already agreed with the Provos) or we will do a deal with ROI. Berty sat at the table to remind Unionist of this new reality.

    It wasn’t a new reality. That had been the reality since at least 1985: nine years before the Provo ceasefure.

    Their main adversary treated them like equals ( in fact superiors according to most Unionists at the time ) by granting them concessions constitutional and otherwise. The Provos were treated as combatants in war with a politcal solution and there [sic] behaviour ( with a few shocking exceptions ) has borne this out. The British want Martin Mc Guinness to be appointing judges in a few months time.

    The Government was driven by expediency above all else: bring an end to the violence, get some kind of political settlement, and move on to worry about other more important things. That doesn’t mean that the Troubles were a “war” and your opinion that the Provos were treated “as combatants in a war” doesn’t mean that there actually was a war either.

    The Provos have been treated like statesmen by the British government and have by and large acted like that since entering goverment.

    By holding public office, the Provo ministers are, by definition, statesmen.

    Your main problem is not being able to accept the REALITY of what has unfolded and hide behind a onesided [sic] view of the morality of the situation.

    I do accept the reality and I don’t hide behind a one-sided view of the morality so neither of those can be my problem, main or otherwise.

  • willowfield

    Twinbrook

    Firstly you vainly attempt to demonise and will not accept that the majority of Nationalists hold opinions which you deem not only politically incorrect, opinions which you either ignore or try vainly to minimise…

    1. I don’t attempt to demonise, vainly or otherwise. Where is your evidence for this?

    2. I do accept that the majority of nationalists hold opinions different to mine. I do not know whether the majority of nationalists believe the Troubles were a “war” – I have no evidence – but I concede that it is possible. I do not believe that, during the Troubles, this was the majority nationalist view although it is possibly the case now given the current ascendancy of the Provos and the various attempted re-writings of history.

    3. Nationalist opinion doesn’t determine whether or not there was a “war”.

    Now you use language as if this were an ideal society with a few mis-contents causing trouble…

    What such language?

    You find it hard to acknowledge that Nationalists saw the *troubles* as a war, a conflict and as such there were causalities….

    I don’t find it hard to acknowledge that many nationalists saw the Troubles as a “war”: it wouldn’t be possible for me to be engaging in this discussion if I didn’t acknowledge such. My acknowledgement or otherwise of nationalist views, however, doesn’t make them correct.

    Now if you want to talk about death squads, surely you should acknowledge the British Governments role in running them??

    I’m unaware of such a role. All I am aware of is the running of agents within the various terror gangs.

    It must sicken you to see these *terrorists* to use your language not only in government but the largest Nationalist party…not that this would mirror my own views but dening and hoping it will go away just doesn`t work…

    It doesn’t sicken me: on the contrary, it pleases me that they have given up terrorism, recognised Northern Ireland, and are now working in partnership with unionists. It sickened me when they were slaughtering and maiming.

    You are sounding more and more like willie frazer….very, very bitter..

    On what basis do you say that? I challenge you to cite anywhere that I have expressed bitterness.

    Firstly if I remember correctly Diplock courts where [sic] just a pre-cursor to the British Governments Ulsterisation policy…..and No jury courts where a substitute, a legal remedy to internment……

    Diplock courts were introduced to enable the criminal justice system to function in circumstances in which there was a risk of jury-tampering or juror intimidation: nothing to do with “Ulsterisation”, and nothing to do with internment!

    So according to you everyone found guilty on spurious evidence, the words of policemen and the army and those who made confessions under duress and after beating in holding centres were [sic] their rights where suspended and they could be held indefinately under draconian *anti-terrorist* laws were guilty!!!!

    What evidence do you have to back up any of these claims about the incompetence of the judiciary? How many miscarriages of justice took place under the Diplock system?

    You’re resorting to wild exaggeration: an indicator that you’ve completely lost your way and are unable to engage in intelligent argument.

    PS. You need to learn the difference between “where” and “were”.

  • willowfield

    McNally

    This ‘conflict’ has clealry many of the charachteristics of a ‘war’ and is very similar to first Irish war of Independence in the early part of 20th Century.

    SO you keep saying yet you fail to make a case.

    The Provo campaign resulted in reform of the state, constitutional change release of prinsers etc, etc.

    Reform of the state began in the late 1960s, before the Provo campaign began and has been an ongoing process ever since. The constitutional change brought about by the GFA was on offer in 1973 as a result of negotiations from which the Provos were excluded.

    That leaves early release of prisoners: if the PRovos hadn’t been terrorising in the first place there would have been no prisoners to release early. Their campaign was hardly successful if all it achieved was the incarceration of hundreds of members and the subsequent early release of those who happened still to be in jail 28 years after the campaign began.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows,

    The “new reality” being the Provo ceasefire in place and the Unionists having to sign up pronto or face the consequences.

    re. War
    If it quacks like a duck etc

    The term ‘statesmen’ to mean “a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of a government or in dealing with important public issues” (DICTIONARY.COM). I trust you will agree with me that Gunner Mc Guinness is such a one.

  • willowfield

    McNally

    The “new reality” being the Provo ceasefire in place and the Unionists having to sign up pronto or face the consequences.

    But you just said the new reality was the threat of a deal with ROI. You keep changing your analysis.

    The Provo ceasefire was obviously a new and important factor, but Government policy remained the same since 1972: get some kind of constitutional settlement and end the violence.

    None of that means it was a “war”.

    re. War If it quacks like a duck etc

    Except it doesn’t quack like a duck: it doesn’t qualify as a “war” by legal definition.

    The term ‘statesmen’ to mean “a person who exhibits great wisdom and ability in directing the affairs of a government or in dealing with important public issues” (DICTIONARY.COM). I trust you will agree with me that Gunner Mc Guinness is such a one.

    He qualifies as a statesman in my book by dint of holding office as Deputy First Minister.

  • willowfield

    McNally ran away.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Willows me old mucker,

    Are you accusing me of a bad dose of the Dunkirk spirit (i.e. departing the battlefield) ?

    What an accusation to level at an Irishman?

    p.s. Apologies but I thought we going round in circles a bit and some of my own lines were beginning to get on my nerves – catch you again