Loyalist Paramilitaries: Their uselessness to unionism.

I think my views on loyalist paramilitaries have been well documented in the past but for any new readers or those with short memories I am totally opposed to all loyalist paramilitary violence. I hope those reading this thread from a nationalist / republican, outsider or non loyalist unionist position will give me a little latitude here as this blog is really addressed to any with a sneaking regard for loyalist paramilitaries.Okay let us get this one out of the way at the start. Some unionist politicians flirted dangerously with paramilitaries on a number of occasions during the troubles. The UWC strike and the 1977 strike are occasions where mainstream unionist politicians were far too close to loyalist terrorists. Of course we also need to mention Ulster Resistance; amongst Paisley’s least glorious hours. Robinson’s “invasion” of Clontibret is no better. I know a number of people who were out with their shotgun licences on Slemish and similar nonsense; as far as I know they all regret it now and none of them committed any crimes.

The purpose of this blog is not, however, for me to pour out apologies for the very minor extent to which unionist leaders were involved with paramilitaries. No doubt the moral relativists will be out in force denouncing unionists in general and me in particular as a hypocrite; that I can bear. Instead what I want to do is take the opportunity to ask in a deliberately amoral fashion whether or not loyalist paramilitarism was ever of any real political benefit to unionism. I will not comment on this thread on the murder by loyalists of Protestants nor their assorted acts of criminality. They are already damned by these acts even if their “war” had been effective or morally acceptable. We will for the mean time, however, leave aside these vast elephants in the room.

The loyalist paramilitaries and their associated political cheerleaders clearly felt that they had a use to unionism. Essentially this perceived use was, I would submit, in at least four areas.

Let us list them and then analyse them one by one:
1). They defended the unionist community from the IRA.
2). They were a bulwark against any sell out by London and could have saved us in a civil war.
3). They provided “muscle” during protests by the unionist community and, hence, gained political victories.
4). By their actions they created such fear in the nationalist / republican community that this community pressurised the IRA into ending its violent campaign against unionists.

Now let us analyse these propositions. Before we do so it is important to note that even if by some chance we find that loyalist paramilitaries were politically useful to unionism, their immoral and evil actions in intimidating, injuring and murdering members of the nationalist community would render any benefit worse than null and void; it would make the “benefit” actually a disadvantage. Such an analysis (based as it is on morality) is of course of no use in debating with a loyalist cheerleader. As such on with the amoral analysis:

1). This is the easiest to dismiss. Let us dismiss it with one name to begin with; my late father in law’s friend Douglas Derring; a Brethern shop keeper in Roslea murdered by the IRA. South Armagh and South Fermanagh Protestants were known to be targeted by the IRA. Some were in the police and army, others such as Derring were not. We can argue about this being ethnic cleansing; that is an argument to be had with republicans. Had, however, loyalist paramilitaries been remotely interested in defending Protestants an extremely good place to start would have been on the border especially in places like South Fermanagh. What do we find: absolutely no defence of the unionist people by loyalist paramilitaries. Indeed in South Armagh we have the spectacle of the Reavey and O’Dowd murders providing a supposed excuse for the Kingsmill massacre. Hence, we see that on the border the loyalist defenders of the unionist people achieved an entirely negative result and merely increased the danger to border Protestants. Turning to Belfast and its environs; I can off hand think of not a single case where loyalist paramilitaries managed to prevent the IRA murdering anyone and since the IRA murdered so many people during the troubles it does not seem reasonable to regard loyalist paramilitaries as a deterrent. According to Sutton: in sum total the loyalist terrorists murdered 1020 people of which 42 were republican paramilitaries and I do not think one was at the time trying to kill anyone.

2). The bulwark or doomsday scenario. Initially it must be stressed that this was, has always and will always be an adolescent fantasy. This supposes that if by some chance the British had suddenly left, the IRA or the Irish army would try to start a war. Whilst it is likely that the IRA would have tried to increase its campaign of murder it is much less likely that the Irish army would suddenly march on Northern Ireland. In any case there was a large and pretty effective armed police force (the RUC) which seemed quite capable of stopping very many IRA activities. Additionally there was the UDR which contained actual trained soldiers. Finally there was the Territorial Army. As such there were more than enough trained people to save Ulster. In addition they would have had a large quantity of modern small arms of mainly the same type, large quantities of high quality, compatible ammunition and even access to a small number of heavy weapons from the TA. What would not have helped would have been a force of untrained, frequently semi literate thugs with a motley assortment of firearms, dubious quantities and qualities of ammunition, no heavy weapons, no proper communications equipment and no discipline. The old 1912 UVF whatever the rights and wrongs of that organisation the alphabet soup never were.

3). The “muscle” argument. This is the most difficult to dismiss. It is undoubtedly true that during the UWC strike loyalist paramilitaries were heavily involved in intimidation. However, the strike was largely supported even in areas with no loyalist paramilitaries, it is very likely that it would have proceeded, gathered momentum and defeated power sharing without any need for criminal activity. Most importantly, however, power sharing was overwhelmingly defeated in the pooling booths. Had there been no UWC strike the unionist population could, and (rightly or wrongly) almost certainly would have voted the Faulkner faction out of power. This would also then have prevented the political problems of allowing the opponents of unionism to point to the loyalists’ involvement in the strike.

In 1977 the issue is simpler as not only was the strike foolish, the involvement of loyalist hardmen wrong but also of course the strike failed ending as it did the career of one Ian Paisley (oh no it did not, I forgot). At Drumcree the story is little different. Even if (and it is no small if; but if) the Orangemen got down the Garvaghy Road due to loyalist paramilitaries (I argue they did not); they no longer do so; hence, again a propaganda defeat for unionism and yet again an example of loyalism failing to effectively help unionism.

4). Pressurising Roman Catholics who then pressurised the IRA. This is of course the favourite hobby horse of the loyalist cheerleaders. It forgets that the IRA campaign failed completely to force unionists to change their position and support a united Ireland. Indeed it drove them away from that proposition. By extension; why would murdering old men in bars or bookmakers shops cause nationalists to oppose people who claimed to be their (the nationalists) defenders. It is completely illogical as well as forgetting that if you hurt a community in that way it will tend to do the opposite of what its assailants want. Rather the alphabet soup’s campaign was much more likely to drive young nationalists into the arms of violent republicans in a desire for revenge.

I could go on and on (as I have) but I think that it is necessary to dispassionately disabuse any loyalist of any shred of logical and intellectual legitimacy for their campaign. Their campaign was immoral, illogical and contributed negatively to the unionist cause.

I accept that some nationalists / republicans will now also come on to denounce me as a bigot. This is a hazard I will happily accept in order to attack a cohort of people for whose views I do believe I have even more contempt than I have for those of the IRA cheerleaders. In regard to IRA cheerleaders I at least do not have the added burden that loyalist cheerleaders give me by claiming to have committed their crimes for my community’s benefit.

Now do any of the loyalist cheerleaders want to come and try to argue their case?

  • Peter Brown

    Turgon I suspect not – you are aware of my views on this subject as well and I will happily second that motion. It is ironic that I managed (sometimes only just) to remain a member of the UUP for nearly 10 years despite disagreeing fundamentally with the direction it began to take months after I joined but felt obliged to resign only when despite opposing unreconstructed terrorists in government they had no objection to one joining the Assembly Group (but he was one of ours so that was ok).

    Perhaps we can now hear the mirror image of these arguments from the other side of the fence – any volunteers?

  • RepublicanStones

    Turgon, overall a very lucid and well written rebuttal to so-called ‘cheerleaders’ which admittedly, i have been accused of in the past. A few points though, but as your quill is not aimed in my direction, I’ll sit and enjoy the forthcoming jousts. Nice to see you blogging now, not sure if you did before, but about time !

  • Steve

    Turgon
    I know your self depricating style strikes a resonance with some but to me it just confirms that your posts are just complete shite masquareding as reasonablness

    Some unionist politicians flirted dangerously with paramilitaries on a number of occasions during the troubles
    Bullshit the unionist leadership were up to their necks in fenian blood and denying it the whole time.

    Before we do so it is important to note that even if by some chance we find that loyalist paramilitaries were politically useful to unionism, their immoral and evil actions in intimidating, injuring and murdering members of the nationalist community would render any benefit worse than null and void; it would make the “benefit” actually a disadvantage
    What about the immoral and evil actions they carried out against their own community. More moral relevance bullshit

    In any case there was a large and pretty effective armed police force (the RUC) which seemed quite capable of stopping very many IRA activities
    The IRA was never that interested in pitched battles but the cowards of the alphabet murderers really only ever attacked any one in multiples. They couldnt with stand a sustained barage of cookies from a girl guides troup

    At Drumcree the story is little different. Even if (and it is no small if; but if) the Orangemen got down the Garvaghy Road due to loyalist paramilitaries (I argue they did not); they no longer do so
    Yeah and all it took was the murder of a family of small children, definately a proud moment of unionism

    I accept that some nationalists / republicans will now also come on to denounce me as a bigot. This is a hazard I will happily accept in order to attack a cohort of people for whose views I do believe I have even more contempt than I have for those of the IRA cheerleaders. In regard to IRA cheerleaders I at least do not have the added burden that loyalist cheerleaders give me by claiming to have committed their crimes for my community’s benefit.

    like I said self depricating crap in lieu of arguement

  • Capt O’Neill

    That’s the most sickening blog I’ve ever seen on this site but at the same time it completely sums up the hand wringing attitude of unionists i.e. the pseudo gangs were nothing to do with us, we backed the forces of law and order at ever point (even though they ran the death squads). Unionist/NIO/RUC/UDR/Loyalist/MI5/UDA/UFF/UVF – all part of the same murder machine whether you have the balls to recognise it or not.

  • IJP

    The problem, Turgon, is that I have never once felt the need to say “I am totally opposed to all Loyalist violence”, because it’s obvious from my actions. So why do so many Unionists feel the need to say it? Why is it not obvious? That is the question.

    Your headline itself immediately raised alarm bells – “their uselessness to Unionism”. The underlying point I take from that is that you oppose Loyalist violence because it is useless to Unionism. But that’s a tactical reason, not a moral one.

    The whole basis for opposing Loyalist violence shouldn’t be that it makes Unionists look bad, but that it is morally wrong – it causes untold grief and suffering for no benefit to anyone but a few racketeers.

    Unionists, like so-called ‘Republicans’, must decide whether their opposition to violence is moral or merely tactical. When the day comes that it’s the former, it’ll be so obvious they will never need to explain that they are opposed to it.

  • FlybyDay

    I think that I agree with most of what you say. However in the spirit of amorality I would contend that there may have been a “use” for loyalist paramilitarism in relation to point 2, not as some effective doomsday army but rather in terms of pre-doomsday PR.

    Republicans like to fantasise that they are living in colonial India and that the removal of the “British presence” would result in a just and happy sweetness and light scenario. In reality, realistically, a forced withdrawal of the British army would more likely result in something more akin to Bosnia circa 1992.

    The fact that loyalists were players served to counter Republican lies (to themselves not just others) that they were fighting a war against some foreign presence rather than the reality that they were fighting a war for the political conquest of their neighbours on ethnic (in the wider sense) grounds.

    In some ways, in the early 1990s, when Loyalists started to outkill Republicans they effectively lost something of the whole anti-colonialist fantasy in terms of propaganda.

    In a sense Loyalist violence established that their were three players with a stake in the game, not two.

    The peace process was in many ways a result of Republicans learning to have to deal with unionists as central protagonists rather than merely semi relevant spectators who would naturally fall in line to their subordinate position if the “real Brits” left.

    There is however always the argument that a policy of tit for tat which guarantees that for every Protestant that the IRA killed then as regular as clockwork within the next fortnight a roughly equal number of Catholics will be lying dead on the pavement in some sense trained the nationalist community to stop the corporate nexus of support for violence in the same way that hitting a puppy on the nose with a newspaper when it poops on the carpet shows that acts have consequences and suffering will be met with equal and opposite suffering actually shortened the IRA campaign. I’m not convinced of that but it *IS* hard to judge in an entirely rational and amoral manner. I predict that few will be capable of discussing it entirely rationally without recourse to moral rather than mechanical cause and effect judgments if they chose to reply to this. Let’s see.

    Again I emphasise that the foregoing is in the spirit of sheer amorality (though I predict that many people will now accuse me of immorality).

  • Dewi

    I know I’ve said it before Turgon but your July stuff is causal shite. Would love Unionism as a body to take a really tough look at that and re-organise the tribal celebrations in a less offensive (and perhaps more self confident) manner. The place just goes mad and it’s your fault.

  • McGrath

    Sorry Turgon, you called them Loyalist “Paramilitaries”. If you cant denounce them as Loyalist Criminals, or Loyalist Terrorists, then you are characterising them as as a loyalist militia and as such implying some kind of justification, no matter how long the explanation or argument.

    To their credit the SDLP denounced the IRA/INLA etc consistently throughout the troubles. The UUP and DUP were not so consistent regarding loyalist activity and indeed, were deafeningly silent or unequivocal when it suited.

    [good blog though]

  • sanctimonious crap

    I have to endorse posts 3 4 and 5 By by the way whats an Elenwe it sounds like some sort of critter John boy an Granpa kept in the barn for immoral purposes.

  • Turgon

    Okay I have been attacked as I predicted. I am flattered that some people like the style thought. Incidentally I am well aware I use a self deprecating style.

    On one specific point, I am entirely happy and indeed keen to use the terms loyalist paramilitary / loyalist terrorist and loyalist criminal entirely interchangeably. The reason for the predominant use of the word paramilitary was that the blog is addressed to those who support these individuals, not to all the rest of you (though you are of course welcome to comment).

  • Turgon

    Also yes of course I regard them as utterly morally wrong. The reason to use an amoral argument is precisely because they (the loyalist criminals and their supporters) will not respond to a moral argument.

  • Red Kangaroo

    flybyday
    “There is however always the argument that a policy of tit for tat which guarantees that for every Protestant that the IRA killed then as regular as clockwork within the next fortnight a roughly equal number of Catholics will be lying dead on the pavement in some sense trained the nationalist community to stop the corporate nexus of support for violence in the same way that hitting a puppy on the nose with a newspaper when it poops on the carpet shows that acts have consequences and suffering will be met with equal and opposite suffering”

    Nice post. Shooting dead young boys on their way home from school. Just teaching them a lesson really. That’ll teach those fenian bastards.

    Bit like bombing Iraq to payback September 11. Sure they’ree all the same anyway

  • DC

    I suppose I could be trite by saying:

    ‘Politics and its uselessness to Northern Ireland’

  • DK

    Red Kangeroo – read the whole post before you complain: flybyday says: “Again I emphasise that the foregoing is in the spirit of sheer amorality (though I predict that many people will now accuse me of immorality).”

    Trouble with the tit-for-tat approach was, say the IRA kill a soldier & the UVF in response kill a catholic taxi driver. The IRA do not then say “fair enough we’re quits” but then kill a protestant taxi driver and so it goes on until no-one remembers how it started, but it was probably in 1087.

  • Mrs Wonderful

    Re: number 10. “Self deprecating”????? Methinks you are confusing this with the words/adjectives smug and self satisfied. Self deprecating folks don’t call themselves self deprecating. Remember: self praise is no praise.

  • Wilde Rover

    “I think my views on loyalist paramilitaries have been well documented in the past but for any new readers or those with short memories I am totally opposed to all loyalist paramilitary violence.”

    If one may infer, you are suggesting you are not opposed to all violence, per se, thereby implying that some violence, such as that employed by the security forces, does not meet with your opposition.

    “I could go on and on (as I have) but I think that it is necessary to dispassionately disabuse any loyalist of any shred of logical and intellectual legitimacy for their campaign. Their campaign was immoral, illogical and contributed negatively to the unionist cause.”

    If you believe that the security forces were employing a legitimate use of violence, and that said violence led to the defeat of militant republicanism, then it is strange that you distance yourself from loyalist paramilitaries.

    Unless you are of the opinion that loyalist paramilitaries were not used to do the things the security forces couldn’t?

    So, unless you are saying you are opposed to all violence then your position is logically unsound.

  • RepublicanStones

    i don’t believe we will ever know the true extent of how much ‘wallpaper’ was seen by loyalist terrorists. its common knowledge however that they were used by unionist politicians. One issue may people seem to neglect, relating to unionisms reliance or otherwise on loyalists, is that they had ready-made ‘legal’ forces to do their bidding anyway. anyone who would suggest that the RUC, UDR et al were not armed extensions of unionism is needed back in the rubber room !
    and no, drumcree does not serve as an example of how impartial or noble the RUC were !

  • Red Kangaroo

    DK
    “Red Kangeroo – read the whole post before you complain: flybyday says: “Again I emphasise that the foregoing is in the spirit of sheer amorality (though I predict that many people will now accuse me of immorality).” ”

    The original post by flybyday came across to me as a very poor attempt to justify certain peoples attitude to murder.

    The old “I am not saying it’s right but you can understand why some people think like that.”

    Well you might be able to but I can’t

    Amoral, immoral or just plain criminal doesn’t really matter. Innocent lives were destroyed for absolutely no gain whatsoever.

    Both sides attempt to hide behind symantics.

    Ireland the UK and the world are forced to put up with the criminals walking free and strutting the stage. It’s a price we pay for moving on and thank god most of the criminals have started to join the real world. But don’t tell me they had a cause or a point.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    Thank you for that impassioned contribution. On the fourth point, I would say that republicans probably did feel the pressure from their supporters who felt that their actions were encouraging reprisals from loyalists. In practice, I think the loyalists were just psychopaths who liked killing people, and they didn’t even take specific care to ensure that they weren’t killing “their own”.

    Where we disagree is the precise nature of where the unionist politicians, and by extension the electorate who voted them in, sit. We’ll deal with that a bit later.

    Peter,

    Turgon I suspect not – you are aware of my views on this subject as well and I will happily second that motion. It is ironic that I managed (sometimes only just) to remain a member of the UUP for nearly 10 years despite disagreeing fundamentally with the direction it began to take months after I joined but felt obliged to resign only when despite opposing unreconstructed terrorists in government they had no objection to one joining the Assembly Group (but he was one of ours so that was ok).

    Perhaps we can now hear the mirror image of these arguments from the other side of the fence – any volunteers?

    Peter, I hope you’ll forgive the ad hominem, but if you did this you’re either ignorant, or a complete eejit. You joined the party that supported Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor of Belfast, and you seriously believed that they were opposed to terrorists in government ?

    I don’t have a problem specifically with the fact that the UUP supported Hugh Smyth. If they want to support the mouthpieces of active terrorism, that is their business. The problem I have is when they support terrorists into roles like this, and then subsequently oppose attempts by other terrorist mouthpieces to get into similar roles. When Alex Maskey was elected as Lord Mayor, the UUP councillors all staged a walkout. The only difference between Maskey and Smyth was that one of them wasn’t a fenian, and coincidentally that is the one that the UUP supported.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The core problem here (until recently) has been unionists refusing to countenance progress by engaging with republicans. This is done on the basis that, because republicans are terrorists, they shouldn’t be negotiated with and they shouldn’t have any role in a democracy. This position is entirely reasonable (albeit practically difficult to maintain. Note how the allies, to win success in WW2, had to join with Stalin, who had originally allied himself with Hitler. Sometimes you have to deal with people you don’t like).

    I do not dispute that the mainstream unionist parties today never had serious, active, actual paramilitary wings, and their public spokespersons never carried guns and never actually commanded groups of armed men. Unionists use this point to suggest that unionists are, therefore, completely free of blame, and cannot be accused of being part of the problem in the conflict in NI. In practice what they are actually doing is creating a gerrymandered definition of the word “terrorism”, which, like a gerrymandered council constituency, carefully skirts it’s way around parts that they don’t want included.

    This means that when unionists say they oppose terrorism, they mean they oppose their particular definition of terrorism. This is why the UWC strike is OK because no shots were fired (ask any UUP politician), or why Turgon felt that he was able to say “no laws were broken” over the matter of gun licenses being waved on Slemish. This is unionism using technicalities to define it’s way out of blame. It doesn’t work. If someone comes to my door, shows me a gun license and says “you better do what I tell you”, that is an act of terrorism.

    The approach taken by unionists during the course of the troubles was different from that of the SF and the IRA. They did not join paramilitary organizations; instead they made friends with them, formed backdoor relationships with them, while in public maintaining the ambiguous pretence that they opposed terrorism. If they didn’t do that, then they came out in public to provide them with political cover. The UWC strike was an example of this backdoor alliance at work. The 1977 strike were (failed) attempts by Paisley to claim it for his own. It came to the fore again in 1985, and in 1996 at Drumcree.

    This effect can still be seen now. Willie McCrea and Billy Wright. Dodds standing up in Westminster to complain about the proportion of Assets Recovery Agency raids on loyalists, as if this was a bad thing, or writing to the Chief Constable to complain when the Alexander Bar was raided and severl active terrorists were apprehended. Ruth Patterson, describing a loyalist tarring and feathering as understandable. The list goes on. None of these unionist politicians have actually committed an arrestable terrorist act. But the signal they’re sending out is that loyalist terrorist organizations don’t need to worry about being opposed in public. The other, more sinister signal being sent out is that if people in unionist communities wish to stand up and denounce the UVF, UDA or LVF in their midst, their elected representatives will not be standing there with them. No more is this true than in the recent case of Raymond McCartney, an example of a victim of terrorism whose case the unionist politicians ignore. Meanwhile, unionist politicians seemed to have no problem beating a path at Westminster to ensure that there was a full enquiry into the circumstances of the death of Billy Wright.

    Today we’re still, all of us, a community blighted by terrorist organizations. These organizations are not going to go away if elected representatives like Patterson and Dodds keep speaking in public to try to get them off the hook. Instead our elected representatives must encourage the police to do more to flush them out, and must unequivocally back the police when they take steps to cut this cancer out. The failure of unionism to proactively do this is the main reason why I feel that they are essentially equivalent to Sinn Fein.

  • Diluted Orange

    Turgon

    Good blog. I agree completely with your views about loyalist paramilitaries – it would be nice to see someone from the Nationalist/Republican side of the divide take the time to similarly deconstruct the IRA, a force who like the loyalists, tried to make out that their actions were somehow beneficial to their own community.

    The thing about the UDA/UVF/LVF … etc is that they were overtly sectarian – they deliberately targeted innocent Catholics for no reason other than they were Catholic. On the other side of the coin however we are consistently fed this fantasy line that the IRA were not sectarian – I think one of the incidents you highlight in your piece, Kingsmills, is a classic example of why that notion is utter nonsense.

    However, the truth is that loyalists are easy targets with which to pin all the blame on (from a Unionist perspective) for ‘our’ part in the Troubles. I agree with others here who talk about ‘hand-wringing’ from a Unionist perspective. There is, what I can only describe as widespread middle-class disassociation/delusion within Unionist circles with regards to the acts of Loyalism. I think a lot of Unionists see themselves as innocent by-standers in all the mess that happened over a 40 year period here – yet these same people unthinkingly vote for loyalist cheerleaders such as Paisley, McCrea, Robinson, even Trimble etc – who have all at some stage flirted with loyalist militia for their own political gain and then conveniently forgot it about it some years later down the line. The hypocrisy within Unionism, especially, is astounding and I say this as a nominal Unionist.

    I think everyone in Northern Ireland needs to start asking themselves questions about how they and their own community were involved, and still are involved, in some small part or another in contributing to the deep polarisation of our society. This is a condition that is not going to die away either – irrespective of whether a United Ireland comes our way or not.

    We live in different areas – where usually around 90% or so of those who live around us are from our own tribe. We send our kids to different schools. The first thing we do when we meet someone new is suss out their name to sub-consciously gauge which ‘side’ they are on. But IMO the most despicable act of all is that we have chosen, emphatically, time and time again, to elect the very people that caused so much pain and suffering to those in the opposite side of the community from our own. We have vindicated the sectarian gangsters from our past, effectively condoning all those heinous acts for which they were in a large part responsible for and incredibly we have given them free reign to determine our future and perpetuate the cycle of hate. That may not sit comfortably with some of you but that’s the truth and [b]we all[/b] have blood on our hands. Highlighting the past deeds of the IRA or loyalist paramilitaries will get us nowhere when it’s surely obvious to any person with a shred of decency that their actions were unspeakably evil and have been to the detriment of all of us. It’s [i]ourselves[/i] we should be examining.

    It’s 13 years since the Troubles effectively ended. I ask you – Is Northern Ireland now a nice, cosy, non-sectarian place where no suspicion or deep rooted hatred of the other side still exists? No, of course it isn’t and whose fault is that? Are the IRA or loyalist paramilitaries still running around killing 100+ people a year? No. So who is responsible then?

  • Twinbrook

    the anti-semitic always starts with…..

    Some of my *friends* are Jews…

    But…..

    Apologists are always apologists…..

  • PaddyReilly

    Well obviously, no organisation, not even the Mafia or the Nazi Party, confers no benefit to anybody. Protestant paramilitaries have a role to play in keeping up certain standards in their own communities.

    I recall one story of some ordinary decent Protestants living on a 100% Protestant estate, who suffered from a neighbour from hell: a total witch who was making their life unbearable. They complained to the UXX, who obligingly came round and beat her to death with Lambeg drumsticks. It was very nice of them, you don’t get that sort of service from the PSNI, expecially if you only live on a Council Estate. They are a cruel people, but fair, and they ensure that many of the features of urban decline that one encounters in British cities do not come to Northern Ireland.

  • Yvonne

    So who is responsible then?
    Posted by Diluted Orange on Jan 12, 2008 @ 01:39 PM

    N
    I
    P
    P
    L
    E
    S

  • FlybyDay

    flybyday

    “Nice post. Shooting dead young boys on their way home from school. Just teaching them a lesson really. That’ll teach those fenian bastards.

    Bit like bombing Iraq to payback September 11. Sure they’re all the same anyway” ”

    See, just as I predicted. No the question is really whether, whatever pressure was brought on the IRA by the nationalist community for the IRA to stop killing in the 1990s, did the existence of loyalist tit-for-tat responsive murders, and the fact that if the IRA were to stop those loyalist murders would almost certainly stop too, influence the IRA to be either more likely, less likely or just as likely to call a ceasefire? What would have happened if the nationalist community did not suffer so badly from the reaction to IRA violence and the continuance of IRA violence had have been relatively cost free to them? As I say I’m not convinced overall that loyalist violence did put pressure on the IRA to stop as opposed to egging them on to further atrocity, but I can’t honestly dismiss the possibility as completely irrational or obviously untrue. It’s highly hypothetical of course.

    Again though this cannot really be discussed without morality getting in the way of rational analysis. As you have demonstrated.

    I guess it boils down to this. If Loyalist violence had never started would we be
    A) More likely to be in a united Ireland
    B) The union more secure than it is
    C) Exactly where we are in terms of the union being secure

    Sure it’s easy to say C or B, since then we are in the right side of morality, just like saying that the IRA’s campaign hasn’t made a united Ireland more likely. But if we don’t have our morality hats on can we easily dismiss A as a rational possibility? I don’t know. I really don’t know, I’m not just using this question as a rhetorical device.

  • FlybyDay

    Red Kangaroo

    The original post by flybyday came across to me as a very poor attempt to justify certain peoples attitude to murder.

    The old “I am not saying it’s right but you can understand why some people think like that.”

    Well you might be able to but I can’t

    I think that you’re really avoiding the point that I was making. I was not trying to morally justify Loyalist murders, or even to say “you can understand why some people think like that”. Rather we are addressing ourselves to the question of whether, in terms of it’s aims, Loyalist terrorism actually worked or not. That is a question of objective cause and effect that is beyond morality.

    I am not entirely sure by any means, but I think that, overall, it may have made the union more secure than it would have been if large scale Loyalist murder did not occur, but not really for any of the reasons that Turgon states. The reason it may have is that it established, in PR terms, in “mindshare” terms if you like, that there were three players with military potential, and that, for example, for the British to hand over NI, irrespective of the immorality of doing so, would probably be likely to increase the scale of violence happening in Northern Ireland rather than decrease it. Hence conceding to the IRA on the grounds of wanting peace was not a rational course of action even if it would have been an immoral one. That this was not just a contest between the British government and the IRA as to who can have a monopoly of violence and that neither could be guaranteed a monopoly of violence even if the other left the scene. It hammered this fact into some people’s thick skulls who didn’t want to hear it. This may well have had a crucial effect in bringing people into accepting the final form that the peace process took with it’s acknowledgment of consent and the like.

    Sure, I might not say this in public as opposed to as an anonymous bod on a blog. But that’s the beauty of the internet that we can at least potentially discuss this without an automatic shutdown of debate due to normative conventions. By all means heap moral censure on me if you wish, but know that it is orthogonal to the truth or falsehood of what I am saying, which is a claim about cause and effect in historical events, not, on my part, a claim attributing any particular moral value to any of those events.

  • Turgon

    FlybyDay,,
    I must admit I disagree with you. I do not think the loyalist terrorists would have been any deterrent to the British pulling out. Indeed I would submit that by their immoral existence and wicked actions they made a united Ireland more likely by dint of the possibility of the British deciding to leave because they were fed up with loyalist violence.

    On the contrary a completely non violent response to IRA actions might
    1). Have prevented the troubles happening as it is sadly a fact that the initial crimes of the current troubles were committed by loyalists; hence, allowing the IRA to mascurade as the defenders of the Roman Catholic community.

    2). Have the effect of making both communities be seen to be the completely innocent victims of IRA violence. It is then possible (just possible) that people might have percieved the problem as two competing ideological positions (union with Britain vs. united Ireland) with, in addition a criminal terrorist group (the IRA) which could have been politically ignored.

    In reality (and I do not want to be insulting) the idea of a sudden British withdrawal though espoused by the likes of the Troops Out movement was only ever an adolescent fantasy. Finally on a practical level as I have stated in the article; had the British left the RUC, UDR and TA actually had weapons, ammunition, training and communications. Something the loyalist terrorists conspiciously lacked.

    Personally I must admit that had a united Ireland been imposed on us I would not have regarded it as morally acceptable to resist by force. As such I might have stayed and been annoyed or might have left. I personally could not have justified killing my neighbours in order to prevent it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    PaddyReilly:

    They are a cruel people, but fair, and they ensure that many of the features of urban decline that one encounters in British cities do not come to Northern Ireland.

    Is that what you’d tell the family of Paul Quinn ?

  • PaddyReilly

    Is that what you’d tell the family of Paul Quinn ?

    1) This is a thread about Loyalist paramilitaries, who as far as I know do not operate in South Antrim and are not suspects in the murder of Paul Quinn deceased;
    2) Just as no organisation confers no benefit to anybody, few organisations, or at least few armed organisations, manage not to inflict harm.

  • PaddyReilly

    Comrade Stalin

    3) excuse the ad hominem, but weren’t there a few casualties during your otherwise impressive collectivisation of the Soviet Union?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Turgon

    A decent reflective piece. I am disappointed though that a good Christian like yirsel is choosing the black arts of spinning over content. Diluted Orange and as ever the good Tovarich (not to mention Steve) have summed up my thoughts on your take on nice Unionism’s contribution to the armed conflict.

    I reckon that you would probably know more than the rest of us by now about mainstream Unionism’s contribution to Unionist terrorism. Considering how often you have been provided with the evidence. Ignorance cannot be used any more, nor hiding behind the honest forthright manner that you approach many other issues on.

    Why persist with the cover-up? I’d love to be telling my grand-kids(many years away from that) in years to come about Orange dinosaurs, not have them experience it for themselves, thanks. The only way to do this is confront uncomfortable truths. This is not a personal accusation that somehow you were complicit. However by seeking to whitewash, or worse ignore the past of those that you are party with or have voted for, or would vote for, IS criminal!

    As an aside I know a few Loyalists. One has actually become a good friend over the past year, they have no problem speaking of these things at all. Indeed the blame is laid at the door of main stream Unionism for leading them up the hill, code for firing them up to do their dirty work. I don’t believe they will do so again so quickly.

  • Reader

    Prince Eoghan: As an aside I know a few Loyalists. One has actually become a good friend over the past year, they have no problem speaking of these things at all. Indeed the blame is laid at the door of main stream Unionism for leading them up the hill, code for firing them up to do their dirty work.
    So, no chance of your friend taking responsibility for his own actions, then?

  • Reader

    Wilde Rover: If one may infer, you are suggesting you are not opposed to all violence, per se, thereby implying that some violence, such as that employed by the security forces, does not meet with your opposition.
    Well, since you’re mind reading, why not accuse him of being an IRA supporter instead, or a supporter of the WW2 Allies? Do you attack everyone who doesn’t immediately claim to be a complete pacifist?
    For my part, I think that some violence can be justified, including most of that used here by the security forces (difficult to put a percentage on that, though, without all the facts).

  • PaddyReilly

    Corrigendum: (09:49 PM) for South Antrim read South Armagh

  • RepublicanStones

    So, no chance of your friend taking responsibility for his own actions, then? – reader

    you seem to miss the point reader, the fact is unionism won’t admit responsibility for its role with loyalists !

  • aquifer

    I recall the loyalist paramilitaries as sectarian murderers and deft extortionists, rejected by most unionists and only appreciated when they promised to pack it in. We are still waiting.

    They boosted Ian Paisley and regretted it. As the PIRA campaign lost momentum British Intelligence used them to target armed irish separatists rather than regular catholics, but then PIRA found that it was more effective to blackmail the brits by attacking the london financial centre than shooting local police personnel.

    The loyalist paramilitaries confirmed unionism to the English as vicious, hate-filled, and disloyal to the British state.

    Yes Turgon, completely useless except to Paisley, whom I seem to remember in 1977 in a BBC TV interview promising to go back to his church if his gangster led strike failed.

  • Wilde Rover

    Reader,

    “Well, since you’re mind reading,”

    Inferring what people say in a post involves an interpretation of the written word. I’m not sure how you have confused that with telepathy.

    “why not accuse him of being an IRA supporter instead, or a supporter of the WW2 Allies?”

    Well, because I was trying to address the post. I believe that discussing those topics you have mentioned would be to gallop off into the land of tangents, and that’s the type of silliness I try to avoid if at all possible.

    “Do you attack everyone”

    Attack? By suggesting a person’s position might be logically unsound? I’d thought I’d hit the ball there.

    “who doesn’t immediately claim to be a complete pacifist?”

    Violence used by loyalist paramilitaries and violence used by security forces were inextricably linked. One can be for both or against both, but one cannot, logically, be against one and for the other.

    Simply put, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    “For my part, I think that some violence can be justified, including most of that used here by the security forces (difficult to put a percentage on that, though, without all the facts).”

    Again, I would suggest, Reader, that you are also taking an a la carte approach to the morality of violence.

  • lib2016

    I’ve never understood the difference unionists seem to make between the uniformed Protestant paramilitaries such as the B Specials and the RUC and the more irregular versions such as the UDA and the UVF.

    Both had the same function – the maintenance of the NI status quo.

    It would seem to an outsider that the ability given to deny direct state responsibility for their actions was the main advantage offered by the irregulars but surely everybody realised that couldn’t last forever.

  • Reader

    Wilde Rover: Inferring what people say in a post involves an interpretation of the written word.
    You were assuming his position based on what he hadn’t said. You shouldn’t assume he supported Security force violence just because he didn’t say he was a pacifist.
    Wilde Rover: Violence used by loyalist paramilitaries and violence used by security forces were inextricably linked. One can be for both or against both, but one cannot, logically, be against one and for the other.
    And that was just plain ridiculous. Can I support the arrest of a Loyalist, by the security forces, using necessary force? Then where’s the logical contradiction in that position?
    Or can I support the arrest and trial of a suspected republican bomber without being a UVF supporter? Again, where is the logical contradiction?
    lib2106: Both had the same function – the maintenance of the NI status quo.
    Untrue, in both cases. In some instances, the security forces had to enforce change, not the status quo. The Anglo-Irish agreement leaps to mind, as do parts of the GFA. Enforcing the law is not the same as preserving the status quo. And when Gusty Spence was arrested and convicted in 1967, was it him or the security forces preserving the “status quo”. And if the Loyalists were content with the status quo, they would never have organised in the first place – what would have been the point? You might as well say that the Provos and the Garda were both supporters of the Republic; true enough, with enough spin, but it didn’t save Garda McCabe, and it didn’t keep Martin McGuinness out of prison.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Paddy:

    1) This is a thread about Loyalist paramilitaries, who as far as I know do not operate in South Antrim and are not suspects in the murder of Paul Quinn deceased;

    Stop trying to weasel out of it, Paddy. Your point was that armed organizations going around beating the crap out of people stops the neighbourhoods here from sliding into decline. It’s so impossibly blinkered that I don’t know where to start. Neighbourhoods here where paramilitaries are strong suffer from deprivation, crime, drug dealing, criminality and unemployment. Where is there for them to slide to ? The existence of the paramilitaries is what is destroying them.

    3) excuse the ad hominem, but weren’t there a few casualties during your otherwise impressive collectivisation of the Soviet Union?

    There were no civilian casualties other than traitors, wreckers and enemies of the people. I’d be careful if I were you with this line of questioning, as critics of the tremendous success of my collectivisation programs are usually in league with those out to destroy the working class.

    Prince Eoghan:

    As an aside I know a few Loyalists. One has actually become a good friend over the past year, they have no problem speaking of these things at all. Indeed the blame is laid at the door of main stream Unionism for leading them up the hill, code for firing them up to do their dirty work. I don’t believe they will do so again so quickly.

    Actually, if there’s something that annoys me outside of unionists pretending that loyalist paramilitarism is somehow nothing to do with them, it’s loyalist paramilitaries who claim that they’d all be nice decent 9-to-5 clean-shaven chappies, if it wasn’t for those evil unionist politicians exhorting them to go out and commit unspeakable horrible crimes. My central point in my argument about unionism also applies here – people must take responsibility for their own actions and their own crimes, otherwise there can never be a truthful reckoning in this place. No responsible parent would accept “but he made me do it” from a child, so we definitely shouldn’t accept it from grown adults.

    The psychology of the loyalist paramilitary is complicated. Unionists go on TV saying how they condemn loyalists just as they do republicans, but then in private are obviously quite nice and pally with them. Loyalists choose not to be insulted but instead allow themselves to do unionism’s dirty work. I don’t know whether it’s because they’re thick, or whether there is some other angle I’m not seeing.

    Wilde Rover,

    Violence used by loyalist paramilitaries and violence used by security forces were inextricably linked. One can be for both or against both, but one cannot, logically, be against one and for the other.

    This is complete rubbish. A bit like saying that September 11th was the CIA’s fault because they created and armed Bin Laden. There were clear cases where the security forces worked with loyalists – investigated and highlighted, I would note, by the British government and pursued through the British courts – it’s clearly nonsense to believe that everything the loyalists did was commanded by someone in Whitehall. Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, by and large, consist of dangerous people who do not care about civilians and, more often than not, gain some sick enjoyment from spreading death and destruction. Look at the eyes of someone like Michael Stone. Do you really believe that he waited by the phone for an order from Whitehall before he went out to shoot anyone ?

    Loyalists have frequently targetted police officers. The security forces and the police have been more successful in arresting and prosecuting loyalists than they have republicans. If you think about all the major loyalist terrorist outrages here – the people who committed them were mostly caught and sent down for a long time. On many occasions that I can remember, the British army were called in to stop loyalists from attacking republican areas, and defusing crude loyalists bombs and devices which had been left there. I don’t think that outside of the FRU and a certain Special Branch faction, that the police or army were under any kind of orders to protect or work with loyalists.

  • lib2016

    Loyalist violence started in the mid-60’s before the emergence of republican violence. It was an attempt to derail the emerging political demands for change.

    There may even be a case for saying that physical force republicans were correct when they said that peaceful change in the Northern Ireland context was impossible since neither the Unionist Establishment nor, more importantly, the British Establishment would permit it.

    In the 90’s any widespread calls for action from the nationalist side were calls for retaliation against the UDA/FRU murder campaign.

    The facts that the republican leadership were strong enough to resist such calls and that the republican rank and file showed such discipline were some of the many things which forced the British authorities into eventually joining the Peace Process.

  • PaddyReilly

    Neighbourhoods here where paramilitaries are strong suffer from deprivation, crime, drug dealing, criminality and unemployment. Where is there for them to slide to ? The existence of the paramilitaries is what is destroying them.

    Curiously though, there are neighbourhoods in, say, Manchester, which suffer from deprivation, crime, drug dealing, criminality and unemployment but there are no paramilitaries. So the paramilitaries are not the cause. Some might say they are part of the solution; others that this is like swallowing cyanide to cure cancer. I don’t think that you have made your case.

    What we do know is that there is likely to be slightly less crime (of a particular sort) in the Shankill as a result of paramilitaries. And if thon Billy down the way stole your handbag, it’s no use reporting this fact to the Alliance Party.

  • Wilde Rover

    Reader,

    “You were assuming his position based on what he hadn’t said.”

    No, making an inference from something he had said.

    “And that was just plain ridiculous.”

    It is ridiculous to suggest loyalist paramilitaries and the security forces were inextricably linked?

    “Can I support the arrest of a Loyalist, by the security forces, using necessary force? Then where’s the logical contradiction in that position?”

    I was referring to the past. The fact that the loyalists have been discarded today like a used prophylactic sheath in the post militant republican era is a different situation. After all, they were always expendable.

    “Or can I support the arrest and trial of a suspected republican bomber without being a UVF supporter? Again, where is the logical contradiction?”

    I never mentioned that. The post is about loyalism and unionism. Now who’s mind reading?

    Comrade Stalin,

    “This is complete rubbish. A bit like saying that September 11th was the CIA’s fault because they created and armed Bin Laden.”

    Bin Laden was created, like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster? Next you’ll be saying his kidney dialysis machine packed in years ago and that he’s dead.

    “it’s clearly nonsense to believe that everything the loyalists did was commanded by someone in Whitehall.”

    Yes, it would be. I didn’t say that though. I said that the violence used by both was inextricably linked.

    “I don’t think that outside of the FRU and a certain Special Branch faction, that the police or army were under any kind of orders to protect or work with loyalists.”

    So what you are saying is, besides the army and the police, loyalists weren’t receiving orders from any of the security forces.

    I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

  • Wilde Rover

    Reader,

    “You were assuming his position based on what he hadn’t said.”

    No, making an inference from something he had said.

    “And that was just plain ridiculous.”

    It is ridiculous to suggest loyalist paramilitaries and the security forces were inextricably linked?

    “Can I support the arrest of a Loyalist, by the security forces, using necessary force? Then where’s the logical contradiction in that position?”

    I was referring to the past. The fact that the loyalists have been discarded today like a used prophylactic sheath in the post militant republican era is a different situation. After all, they were always expendable.

    “Or can I support the arrest and trial of a suspected republican bomber without being a UVF supporter? Again, where is the logical contradiction?”

    I never mentioned that. The post was about loyalism and unionism. Now who’s mind reading?

    Comrade Stalin,

    “This is complete rubbish. A bit like saying that September 11th was the CIA’s fault because they created and armed Bin Laden.”

    Bin Laden was created, like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster? Next you’ll be saying his kidney dialysis machine packed in years ago and that he’s dead.

    “it’s clearly nonsense to believe that everything the loyalists did was commanded by someone in Whitehall.”

    Yes, it would be. I didn’t say that though. I said that the violence used by both was inextricably linked.

    “I don’t think that outside of the FRU and a certain Special Branch faction, that the police or army were under any kind of orders to protect or work with loyalists.”

    So what you are saying is, besides the army and the police, loyalists weren’t receiving orders from any of the security forces.

    I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>it’s loyalist paramilitaries who claim that they’d all be nice decent 9-to-5 clean-shaven chappies, if it wasn’t for those evil unionist politicians exhorting them to go out and commit unspeakable horrible crimes.<< Not so Tovarich. True it is a delicate subject, so we mainly gloss over it. There has been definite condemnation of the pointless sectarian murders. However I cannot say if the condemnation is anchored on subsequent treatment by mainstream Unionism, or the rise of good sense as spoken by the PUP for example. I will get more in depth background stuff as we go I'm sure. Reader. Why not address the substance of my comments rather than my personal aside? ps. I hope Turgon hasn't began part 2 to deftly sidestep the issue's raised here. Surely not ;¬)

  • Turgon

    Prince,

    I started the other thread because Wild Turkey sent me the information and I though it should be noted.

    I condemn not only loyalist murders but all loyalist crimes. I also condemn the existence of loyalist paramilitaries. I regard them as having had an entirely negative and corrupting effect on our society.

    I condemn any unionist politician supporting explicitly or implicitly any loyalist paramilitary organisation or indeed supporting any loyalist paramilitary member.

    Much of the “evidence” for unionist politicians supporting paramilitaries comes from the likes of David Ervine. Without wishing to speak excess ill of the dead I put little faith in the honesty of his remarks. Those occasions when unionist politicians were clearly with loyalists such as McCrea and Wright I condemn utterly. I do not know how clear I need to be here; I do not like loyalist paramilitaries, I wish they had never existed. I personally have absolutely no support whatsoever for them.

    The idea for the blog came from people saying that the loyalist paramilitaries helped the unionist people. My purpose was to analyse and deconstruct this myth. Loyalist cheerleaders will not listen to me saying that loyalist crime was immoral, sinful etc. They might have some interest in people removing the intellectual justification they cling to. My post was aimed at the likes of Concerned Loyalist as I regard him as not a fool but supporting something both foolish and immoral. Such people will not listen to moral lectures; they might listen to rational argument. I felt it my duty as a hardline unionist (and indeed my moral and Christian duty) to try to attack the intellectual justification for loyalist paramilitaries.

    I asked for a little latitude from nationalists etc. at the start. As I said the blog is not to all of you; though of course your comments are welcome.

  • Turgon

    On the hardline unionist bit. Clearly for you to attack him is pointless as you oppose his aim (maintenance of the union). I as a supporter of the same aim, am in a much better position so to do.

  • Picador

    Loyalists paramilitaries were of great use… to the British down the years. They fitted in perfectly with brigadier Kitson’s counter-insurgency strategies.

    Thus the UDA were legal until 1992 in spite of having killed hundreds of people.

    After Paisley dies I think the Brits will put some of the dirt they have on him into the public domain. The state papers released a year or to back spoke of him as being a bigger threat to Britain than the IRA and warned that the RUC Special Branch loyalties lay with Paisley and the UVF. Democrat? My arse!

  • lib2016

    The last ten years of British policy, if not more, have been about Britain standing up to the unionists at long last.

    Just a week ago the documents released under the 30-year rule revealed that the British had no use for their nominal partners in the Unionist Party of the 70’s.

    It will be interesting to trace over the next twenty years when that distaste became a realisation that they had to destroy traditional unionism and criminalise it’s powerbase, the loyalist mob.

    As for Paisley, if he didn’t exist then another oportunist – Donaldson, Dodds, Robinson – would emerge.

    The situation produces the man and not the other way around.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Turgon

    “On the contrary a completely non violent response to IRA actions might
    1). Have prevented the troubles happening as it is sadly a fact that the initial crimes of the current troubles were committed by loyalists; hence, allowing the IRA to mascurade as the defenders of the Roman Catholic community.”

    That being the case – does your question not contradict the answer, and vice versa?

    Loyalists initiated the violence, then Republicans escalated the violence.

    Your question places the chicken (republicans) before the egg (loyalists).

  • Prince Eoghan

    Turgon

    Are you saying that David Ervine, whom I have infinitely more respect for than almost any Unionist, and many Nationalist poly’s should be discounted? On what basis, was he a known liar? Surely not because he causes the house of cards you have built around yourself to topple.

    You have singularly failed to address the substance of the issue raised by more contributors than myself. Calling someone a liar does not a defence make, wonder if anyone had the balls to do it while he was still alive?

    Have you ever supported McCrea’s party since he shared the platform with Wright? Apart that is from those times when they have dared to sell Ulster down the river, that is, by, eh, joining what passes for a democratic process. I’m sure we have trod this path before, but my memory deserts me.

  • Reader

    Let me try again:
    Reader: “Can I support the arrest of a Loyalist, by the security forces, using necessary force? Then where’s the logical contradiction in that position?”
    Wilde Rover: I was referring to the past.
    So was I. Let’s use the arrest of Johnny Adair as an example. I was happy to hear about that. was I being illogical?

    Reader: “Or can I support the arrest and trial of a suspected republican bomber without being a UVF supporter? Again, where is the logical contradiction?”

    Wilde Rover: I never mentioned that. The post is about loyalism and unionism. Now who’s mind reading?
    No mind reading. What you actually said was: Violence used by loyalist paramilitaries and violence used by security forces were inextricably linked. One can be for both or against both, but one cannot, logically, be against one and for the other.
    I pointed out two instances where I could perfectly logically support violence used by the security forces, while not supporting any violence by loyalists. My position has not collapsed in any logical contradiction. You haven’t even tried to point one out!

  • Reader

    Wilde Rover: Again, I would suggest, Reader, that you are also taking an a la carte approach to the morality of violence.
    Absolutely correct. I am not a pacifist, therefore I think that violence is sometimes justified, and sometimes it is not justified. “A la carte”, as you said.
    I make the judgement based on a number of firmly held principles, a few rules of thumb, and the acknowledgement of a lack of complete information in just about every single case, which means that many of my judgements are provisional. So my provisional conclusion is that Loyalist and Republican violence is and was always wrong, and that security force violence was and is usually right. All cases subject to review.

  • Wilde Rover

    Reader,

    Well, since you have decided to throw republicanism into the mix, let’s have another lash at this.

    “So was I. Let’s use the arrest of Johnny Adair as an example. I was happy to hear about that. was I being illogical?”

    Loyalist paramilitaries were used as tools of the security forces and you support the security forces. Just because you hold your nose and say you don’t like some of the security forces violence does not remove the fact that their methods included loyalist paramilitaries.

    You can quote individual cases of satisfaction with the conviction of loyalists if you wish, but on a broad scale if you support the security forces you cannot escape from supporting their darker methods.

    “Or can I support the arrest and trial of a suspected republican bomber without being a UVF supporter? Again, where is the logical contradiction?”

    Militant republicanism and loyalism were not inextricably linked. However, the case has been made that militant republicanism and the security forces were also inextricably linked.

    It can be argued that the security forces operated as a conductor for the orchestra of violence perpetrated by the security forces, loyalist paramilitaries and republican paramilitaries.

    So if this is the case, then a position that broadly supports the violence of the security forces necessarily supports the violence being directed by their baton.

    But please, feel free to compartmentalize the violence, if it pleases you.

  • Nichola

    Again on Friday afternoon we saw the highlight of loyalist paramilitaries when they paraded two 14-yr old boys along the Shankill road. These young lads were first beaten, paraded up the Shankill bearing signs which stated theif and house breaker or some nonscence. They were then beaten again in full view of the public at woodvale park, then paraded down the shankill again. Police failed to respond for an hour. In any language this is child abuse!!! And they wonder why young men from these areas commit suicide!!

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    There’s a programme about Mad Dog Adair tonight on TV3 @ 12. A follow up programme to one previously made by Donal McIntyre.
    Shows Johnny hanging out with Neo-Nazis low lifes. Should be interesting viewing.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Sorry, but it’s on @ 10pm tonight on TV3.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Already been shown over here it’s a cracker. The so called neo-Nazi with a penchant for black wimmen, it’s a scream you’ll have to see it to believe it. Oh and wee Johnny running all over Africa looking for him. A scumbag without a clue.

  • RepublicanStones

    would that be the show that shows wee johnny adair saying ‘fuck sake im shaking’ after firing off a few rounds of a gun?