Unsung hero of the Troubles worth remembering…

YESTERDAY saw the funeral of Gerry McLaverty, the only survivor of the bloodthirsty gang of loyalist serial killers and sectarian psychopaths known as the Shankill Butchers. McLaverty’s courage – in identifying members of the UVF gang who slashed his wrists (pictured), stabbed him, hacked him with an axe, tied a noose round his neck and left him for dead – undoubtedly meant that lives were saved. Members of the gang were eventually convicted of 19 murders, although suspected of up to 11 more, and McLaverty, described as a gentle giant, eventually recovered, although he rarely spoke of his harrowing experience. You can read McLaverty’s statement to the police in this extract from Martin Dillon’s book on the Shankill Butchers (page 196). I think we’ve good reason to be thankful for Gerard McLaverty; perhaps his bravery deserves to be remembered in some way other than newspaper tributes?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Clear as mud Nevin.

    Harry

    Keep it up, a fool and his views are easily parted.

    >>the Shankill Butchers were loathed and despised by the vast majority of the Unionist population< < We know this how? Certainly not by information brought to the authorities. Perhaps they did and we do not know about it. Collusion anyone? >>they were tracked down, arrested and sent to prison< < By no means all of them. Dillon was loath to name one of the main protagonists who never saw a days gaol time. I believe that others have never been apprehended either from memory. Collusion anyone? >>The people who carried out the horrific abominations at La Mons and Bloody Friday were never convicted, they are now revered members of the Nationalist community and several have been repeatedly elected to political high office by Nationalists.< < Please feel free to name them. I take it that this is part of your futile attempts to downplay the butchers. I thought it was the manner of killings/murder, not how random or cowardly. >>Tell me again, which side in the conflict seems to have the most difficulty in coming to terms with their horrific pasts?< < Fuck me Harry! I thought that you were making that patently obvious.................YOUR SIDE! >>You believe in a hierarchy of virtue for vicious sectarian serial killers< < I'm sorry but this is a lie, voiced to justify your attempts to downplay the butchers. >>you believe that some dismemberment and evisceration was acceptable provided it was done with napalm or semtex rather than knives.<< Well ask any soldier in a war how they would rather conduct it, then you will get your answer. In fact would combatants not be brought before the courts for the slow mutilation and sadistic killing using knifes a la the butchers or John White. I suppose this is what it all boils down to, you pissing in all of our pockets and claiming it is raining. The moral concept that you obfuscate over could not be clearer. Kill sadistically using torture is not the same as most other accepted forms of killings/murders carried out by anyone, including your British forces or any other.

  • “Clear as mud Nevin.”

    Eoghan, you’ve got no questions?

    “Certainly not by information brought to the authorities.”

    A dangerous business for anyone willing to take his or her chances with any of the paramilitary godfathers and some of the agents of the state. Let’s not forget that some civil servants as well as police officers leaked information to the paramilitaries. Also, would you expect either London or Dublin to act against those with whom they’ve been appeasing or colluding?

    Killing sadistically using torture is a pretty fair description of the actions of the Shankill Butchers. Are you suggesting that they were the only folks doing it?

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t want to engage in whataboutery but many Unionists tend to glaze over and ignore this dreadful period but

    There must be a psychological term for statements like that.

    And as for condemning the whole protestant/unionist population of the area because they didn’t solve this crime…. what can one say?

  • Edward Piehands

    So who was the unionist politician at the funeral?

  • picador

    I believe he later became a knight of the realm.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Eoghan, you’ve got no questions?< < LOL! This is akin to knocking someone back to dance when they have not even asked you. How can I ask questions of something you were not being clear on? Come on! >>Killing sadistically using torture is a pretty fair description of the actions of the Shankill Butchers. Are you suggesting that they were the only folks doing it?< < Not at all Nevin. I have already cited Unionist politician John White, and other deaths have been mentioned on this thread if you would care to re-read. Although again this teasing, if you have something to say, say it man! >>A dangerous business for anyone willing to take his or her chances with any of the paramilitary godfathers and some of the agents of the state. Let’s not forget that some civil servants as well as police officers leaked information to the paramilitaries. Also, would you expect either London or Dublin to act against those with whom they’ve been appeasing or colluding?< < Admittedly fair points, but it doesn't really wash though. Info could have been got to the authorities by a variety of means. Again perhaps there was, maybe a freedom of info hound like yourself could dig up whether there was. >>And as for condemning the whole protestant/unionist population of the area because they didn’t solve this crime…. what can one say?<< Who has done this Joe? I personally have raised issues about sections of the Unionist community who have the mindset that Taigs are vermin etc, killing sadistically was perhaps an outlet, a venting of this hatred. also there is no denying the fact that a wider grouping knew of what was going on after a time, and in effect served to harbour what was a very large gang. Not to mention gaining access to weapons used by the security forces. Are we just to ignore this, sweep it under the carpet perhaps? Not here. You have had a few moans throughout the thread about amateur armchair detectives. Are you of the opinion that the RUC done even a half decent job here? Condemning people for raising fair points regarding the conduct of the investigation........what can one say?

  • Ms Wiz

    It is entirely possible that the label of ‘amateur armchair detectives’ is fairly apt when applied to the RUC investigation. A friend’s partner who’s in the police today was quite frank about the changeover from the RUC to the PSNI. She said they were basically having to re-train to do ‘normal’ police work because all they had ever done was, and this was her own words, ‘counter-insurgency against republicans’.

    The RUC in the 1970’s were just not trained to do that kind of police work, and to be honest I doubt catching the Butchers was high up on the list of priorities. Incompetence or indifference, either way it was pretty shoody stuff.

    Harry F

    ‘the Shankill Butchers were loathed and despised by the vast majority of the Unionist population’

    That not entirely accurate. Peter Taylor’s book ‘Loyalists’ states that there is an Orange lodge on the Shankill known locally as ‘the UVF lodge’, and amongst other things they honour one of the Butchers annually who happened to be one of their members. Bates I think, can’t remember off the top of my head.

    Turgon

    Was a student at QUB, you can keep your email address after you leave now. I did History & Politics and the Butchers have always been a fascination of mine. I believe the rationale for their actions are squarely located in the political not the psychological. What was that quote about the Holocaust, ‘Those who burn books will end up burning people’. When you hear people singing the Billy Boys and other ditties exalting loyal people to kill Catholics do you ever wonder that one day some people might take that literally? I’ve heard what passes for loyalist drinking songs and they don’t make for comfortable listening.

  • Turgon

    Ms Wiz
    So I was correct and you have absolutely no evidence for this statement:
    “…being tortured for info and tortured because your captors take pleasure in it are a different kettle of fish”

    I agree that the Shankill butchers were evil, tortuous murders, but just maybe you should think a little before exposing us to pop psychology. The reality is that torture is an evil and unpleasant business whatever its alleged reasons.

  • joeCanuck

    You have had a few moans throughout the thread about amateur armchair detectives.

    You are exaggerating Prince, and not for the first time. I mentioned, hardly moaned, but once.

    Are you of the opinion that the RUC done even a half decent job here?

    Hindsight is so perfect isn’t it? Stupid police missing “obvious” clues. Obviously collusion regardless of the fact that the psychopaths were eventually caught tried and convicted.
    I fully accept that there were a lot of bad apples in the police, especially Special Branch, but I cannot and will not believe that they were all bad. I knew a few policemen and they were hard working blokes, wanting to put bad guys away.

  • joeCanuck

    I can understand how an individual psychopath can arise but how on earth did a group of them find each other?
    Anyone ever seen a credible explanation for that?

  • “Info could have been got to the authorities by a variety of means”

    Let’s see how this washes, Eoghan. We’ve both pointed to collusion. The possibility of the information being channelled back to loyalist and republican godfathers via police officers, other civil servants et al was probably quite high. The timescale might be just a few hours. Well that’s what my ‘sleuthing’ has uncovered. And that leads us neatly on to ‘tout’ and ‘informer’.

    Maybe your points, and their possible consequences, will become clearer as the discussion continues.

    PS Anyone who dances with like me is likely to get their corns trodden on 🙂

  • Ms Wiz

    In 1978 the European Court of Human Rights declared that Britain had used inhuman and degrading interrogation techniques on selected inmates held during the Internment swoops of the early to mid 70’s, but found them not guilty because it was deduced that the captors had not taken any pleasure in the torture. In Israel torture is used routinely against Palestinians, many held without charge.

    What sets the Butchers apart from anything else during the conflict is the manner in which they hunted and killed their victims. Simply to dismiss them as just another group of combatants in the Troubles doesn’t shed any light on how such a group were able to emerge in the first place.

  • Turgon

    Ms Wiz,
    You see I do not “…dismiss them as just another group of combatants”. I regard them as unpleasant murderers. I do not see any of the criminals here as “combatants”. They were all assorted murderers and criminals. To use terms like “combatants” glorifies what were actually bunches of sectarian killers on both sides; and I agree the Shankill Butchers were amongst the most loathsome.

    I find it interesting Ms Wiz that you tell us that you are not originally from here and indeed only came 8 years ago. Yet you have managed to buy into the republican narrative hook, line and sinker. Fortunately most other new Northern Irish people have a little more discernment.

  • Ms Wiz

    Turgon

    Criticising the RUC and labelling loyalist politcal culture as sectarian doesn’t necessarily make one a republican, just a combination of plain common sense, a prediliction for social justice and democracy, plus years of study.

    For your info I don’t buy into the ‘republican narrative’ hook, line and sinker, but if you’re comparing it to the unionist one it’s positively light years ahead in its sophistication. That, to be perfectly honest, wouldn’t be difficult.

    Btw just because someone isn’t from the north doesn’t mean they can’t have an informed opinion on the place. Besides, bombs went off in England too so I’m not completely wet behind the ears on all things Norn Irish!

  • doctor

    “You said it mate, but just to help you the Shankill Butchers were loathed and despised by the vast majority of the Unionist population, they were tracked down, arrested and sent to prison for record lengths of time by the RUC and British courts, when their gang leader came out of prison he was set up for murder by his own people.”

    I’ll leave your first statement alone for the moment, just to say that the Butchers were sentenced in the late 70’s and were already being released by the early ’90s. All before the GFA and outrage over the prisoners released as a result of that deal. That’s what, six months or so per victim? I agree that’s a record length of time, but perhaps not in the way you intended. Murphy was set up by loyalist racketeer Jim Craig for murder because Craig’s business was getting disrupted by Murphy’s activities. Other loyalists in the UDA had problems with the Butchers because some of their own members were victims in one of the usual feuds. The UVF never disowned Murphy’s unit, quite the opposite. It’s an exaggeration to pretend that “his own people” in general were so outraged on Murphy picking on Catholics that they turned on him.

    “The people who carried out the horrific abominations at La Mons and Bloody Friday were never convicted, they are now revered members of the Nationalist community and several have been repeatedly elected to political high office by Nationalists.”
    Is this the old crap about nationalists being morally inferior to unionists based on the specious argument that unionists don’t vote for the loyalist parties? There have probably been more members of the UDA and UVF over the years than votes received by the PUP and UDP, so something is a bit off with that analysis. The UUP and later the DUP have been the long-established voices of “traditional” unionism forever, so it doesn’t take much to vote for the party your family has supported for generations while still being a passive (or even active) supporter of the boys in balaclavas. Think about the political ideas of the loyalist parties: socialism and flirting with an independent Ulster. These ideas appear suspect to your average unionist and probably have as much to do with lack of support for the loyalist parties as their links to violence. In Henry McDonald’s book on the UVF he talks about how outside of Belfast UVF members are far more likely to be DUP supporters because they see the PUP as a “communist” party. The LVF in the late ’90s described the DUP as the party closest to their own political thinking (although that may have changed in the last year). Not to mention the countless incidents over the years where “law and order” unionist politicians and groups like the Orange Order have had no problem dealing with terrorists as long as they have the right politics. So please, there has been enough evidence to suggest more than a little ambiguity from the unionists over the years towards violence. I’m not saying they are worse than nationalists, both sides have been responsible for a lot. It’s the idea that only fenians support violence that is complete and utter hypocrisy.

    “Tell me again, which side in the conflict seems to have the most difficulty in coming to terms with their horrific pasts?””

    Well, we have here a thread about murders committed by a gang from the unionist community and half of the posts are about La Mon, Bloody Friday, and the nutting squad! So you tell me. For the same reason, I don’t think a thread about La Mon should not descend into comments about the Shankill Butchers.

  • Harry Flashman

    *I don’t think a thread about La Mon should not descend into comments about the Shankill Butchers.*

    I entirely agree but let’s just imagine there was a thread about Bloody Friday and half a dozen Unionist posters immediately leapt at the chance to blacken the Nationalist community, or indeed as one poster did the entire British nation, with collective guilt for that atrocity, furthermore the Unionist posters went on to point out that Nationalists were uniquely bestial in the way they blew terrified shoppers to bits at a bus station and that made Nationalists morally inferior to fine upstanding Unionists whose hands were entirely clean of such dreadful atrocities.

    In such circumstances wouldn’t it be perfectly legitimate for Nationalist and neutral posters to cough slightly and say “Shankill Butchers anyone?”

    Moral superiority among cheerleaders for sectarian serial killers makes my stomach turn, none of the blindingly apparent hypocrisy posted here has eased my nausea.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sorry the first sentence should of course read “the entire [b]Irish[/b] nation”.

  • Steve

    joe canuck

    first out of respect for Canada would you please change your nick name, you are emarasing the great nation I call home

    second the RUC didn’t solve shit!!! it took one crazy Taig who wouldn’t take “go home and shut up” for an answer to bring the rain of terror to an end

    if you are really a Canadian you would not believe this investigation was acceptable if it were conducted by the RCMP or the OPP

    this was a cluster fuck in a british uniform and its impssible to believe that it wasnt intentionally incompetent

    and just for the record. Le Mon was 1 incedent the butchers were atleast 19 and up to 30 seperate incidents. the incompetents had 1 chance to solve Le Mon they failed in 19 times to solve the butchers. although i doubt in all 19 attempts they put as much effort as they put into that 1.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I’ve heard what passes for loyalist drinking songs and they don’t make for comfortable listening.< < Cringeworthy songs of hate, yup I've heard a few myself Wiz. >>You are exaggerating Prince, and not for the first time. I mentioned, hardly moaned, but once.< < Oh fur the gift tae see oorsels an that. Joe let he who hasn't exaggerated cast the first stone. You are like the auld boor in the corner of the pub, moaning because the young wans are havin a bit of fun. The subsequent nonsense spouted about the RUC, a stout if foolhardy and off topic defence. I refer you to my previous question. Are you of the opinion that the RUC done even a half decent job here? Nevin >>We’ve both pointed to collusion.< < I'm not so sure. Obviously some of the evidence points(In a Tirana fireworks kind of way) to collusion, and only an idiot would(considering what we know now) dismiss it. I'm more leaning towards wilful negligence with a heavy dash of incompetence. However, I suppose this becomes tacit collusion after a time............................Contrary or what? >>PS Anyone who dances with like me is likely to get their corns trodden on :)<< Depends on the music, though you have gone quiet on the music we were considering dancing to. Back to where the wallflowers go you shy thing you. lol!

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>#

    I can understand how an individual psychopath can arise but how on earth did a group of them find each other?
    Anyone ever seen a credible explanation for that?
    Posted by joeCanuck on Mar 16, 2008 @ 05:39 PM<< Perhaps your answer is in just why we are getting so many spurious comparisons.

  • austin

    Indeed Eoghan. The less than subtle apologists for the Butchers on this thread indicate that the sectarian malaise still lingers deep within the Protestant coommunity.

    No doubt the Orange Banners in memory of the likes of Joe Bratty and other terrorist ‘heroes’ are being spruced up in preparation for the marching season, but hey, they’re only celebrating their ‘culture’ after all.

    God help the poor unfortunate catholics that will have the bad luck to bump into Band supporters on the way back from the Field.

  • joeCanuck

    f you are really a Canadian you would not believe this investigation was acceptable if it were conducted by the RCMP or the OPP

    Perhaps you would care to remind me, red steve, how many women Robert Picton murdered and slaughtered at his piggery before the Canadian police caught him. How many years did that butchery occur over, did you say?
    How many people have the RCMP convicted for the Air India bombing?

    Hypocrite.

  • joeCanuck

    If you can’t succeed in the cut and thrust of debate, Prince, there’s nothing in the rules to suggest that you should then resort to ad hominem attacks or the erection of strawmen.
    But, if you must….

    There’s none so blind as those that do not want to see.

  • Harry Flashman

    *The less than subtle apologists for the Butchers on this thread*

    Name one of them, or indeed one of the posters that Eoghan claims “downplayed” those horrific crimes.

    Not one single solitary poster on this thread has been other than absolutely forthright in their condemnation of the Shankill Butchers’ heinous crimes.

    I just wish the same could be said of certain posters’ attitudes to the equally repugnant crimes committed by Republicans.

    There’s a rotten stench of hypocrisy rising from this entire thread and it ain’t coming from the Unionist posters.

  • Steve

    Joe Canuck

    Picton made prostitutes disapear off the low track in Vancouver. Street prostitutes are notoriously hard to keep track of as they are always moving on from one drug dealer or pimp to another. He did not continually dump their on the same waste ground. He worked alone

    Serial killers are notoriously dificult to catch because they work alone and they keep their secrets to themselves.

    These were butcherS, not butcher, they abducted people off the street by force. They were a gang who operated in seeming broad daylight with out any one caring to notice

    Picton lured lone prostitues to his then rural farm and in solitude killed them and disposed of them

    These two investigation and indeed these two crimes are in no way related

    You’re wrong joe, you’re the hypocrite

  • Paul

    ‘I just wish the same could be said of certain posters’ attitudes to the equally repugnant crimes committed by Republicans’

    Sorry but the simple fact is that the horrifically savage murders committed by the Shankill Butchers were THE most repugnant. Can you not understand that?

  • joeCanuck

    second the RUC didn’t solve shit!!! it took one crazy Taig who wouldn’t take “go home and shut up” for an answer to bring the rain(sic) of terror to an end

    The RUC didn’t solve shit?
    So how do Canadian police solve crimes. Do they sit in a darkened room with sweet smelling candles and use their powers of psychic deduction to figure out who the criminals are?
    They couldn’t possibly rely on eyewitnesses and informers like other police services, could they?

  • Steve

    Joe
    you are being disengenuous

    It took 19 to 30 tries and really it came down to one victim who refused to die for the RUC to be FORCED to take action

    All police forces rely on witnesses and informers it just seems that the ruc were looking for neither and were being grossly negligent in their handling of these cases

    And if even the lvf loathed these guys how come no one from the community stepped forward even annonymously, or had they and their information was simply not acted upon

    the ruc surely covered themselves in glory on this one

    World class police force my ass, they could even embarass the Keystone Kops

    As for the ( rain[sic] ) considering the number of victims I thought it was appropriate

  • joeCanuck

    You have never heard me calling them a world class police force, Steve; far from it. At that time they well ill-trained and badly led (to say the least).

    Fair enough about the “rain”. It just passed me by. I didn’t mean to criticise your spelling.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Joe

    >>f you can’t succeed in the cut and thrust of debate, Prince, there’s nothing in the rules to suggest that you should then resort to ad hominem attacks or the erection of strawmen.
    But, if you must….< < This about sums up your contribution moaning nonsense. You had a nip at me I had a nip at you, hardly worth embarrassing yourself with the above misrepresentation. It is hardly me who is shrinking from the cut and thrust of the debate. >>how many women Robert Picton murdered and slaughtered at his piggery before the Canadian police caught him.< < What was that about strawmen Joe? I have challenged you to tell me if you think the RUC had conducted a half decent investigation over the butchers. Your failure to answer apart from some nonsense about hindsight and generalities, followed by silence tells me that you have no case to offer. Something about ability to debate was it? >>Hypocrite.< < What was that about ad hominem attacks Joe? Don't worry we all make an arse of ourselves from time to time. Say no more! Harry >>I just wish the same could be said of certain posters’ attitudes to the equally repugnant crimes committed by Republicans.<< As myself and others seem to be screaming blue in the face that we offer no defence for crimes commited by Republicans, when will you begin to listen? The problem we have is your use of 'equally' and even the comparisons in the first place. The crimes were not equal, the results were the same, the manner in which they were carried out were not. pretty straightforward stuff. I'd reckon you to be in a tiny minority that believes sadistic killers are on a par with say the killings/murders carried out by the Brits or Republicans in the conflict. This is just repetition, your comparisons are offensive, full stop!

  • joeCanuck

    Typical obfuscation (oh dearie me, is that an ad hominem attack?). What more can I say?

  • joeCanuck

    Oh, by the way, you don’t appear to understand what a strawman argument is.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Say no more!

    Joe, you should have taken the above advice. When in a hole and all that ;¬)

    I have challenged you to put up or shut up regarding the RUC investigation. You have failed to put anything worth considering, and worse you then went on to commit the ultimate indiscretion in polite company, you tried to ignore it altogether. tsk, tsk.

    Subsequently you then pursued some Canadian investigation that never covered itself in glory either. This was used in your convoluted defence of the RUC to Steve. If this does not qualify as a form of strawman argument, then I will happily stand corrected.

    Sorry if this is more of my ‘Typical obfuscation’ :¬)

  • Eoghan, IMO collusion was fairly rampant and it involved a multiplicity of groups – and reasons. Those who got the short end of the straw were often ordinary decent folks trying to live their lives amid the mayhem.

    You’re cryptic comments are, er, as clear as mud 😉

  • joeCanuck

    Prince,

    A strawman argument is when you misstate someone’s position on an issue, then cleverly go on to demolish that strawman through force of logic.

    Perhaps you should go back and read my contributions to this thread. If all of this attack on me is simply about whether or not I believe the police did a great investigation of these murders, then I can simply put the matter to rest I hope.
    NO, I do not believe that the police investigation is a model to hold up. They certainly made a lot of mistakes and the successful conclusion could/should have come sooner.

    Since it was brought up by others, I would also say that I do not believe there was collusion in this particular case, unlike so many others.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>You’re cryptic comments are, er, as clear as mud ;)< < Ah well Nevin let me explain, I believe that I was trying to execute wan ae yon strawman arguments oan ye. Considering that it is patently obvious I know not what a strawman is, then I hope you will forgive me. Clear? >>Since it was brought up by others, I would also say that I do not believe there was collusion in this particular case, unlike so many others.< < Really don't understand why you can be so dismissive of the idea. >>NO, I do not believe that the police investigation is a model to hold up.<< So these armchair detectives are quite right to raise criticisms then, would you say? As for what constitutes a strawman, I've always thought it was used in the context of raising points that have little or no relevance to the actual points. Happy to stand corrected, though I'm sure others must think the same as me.

  • joeCanuck

    Really don’t understand why you can be so dismissive of the idea.

    I was not dismissive, Prince. I obviously do not know whether there was or not.
    Just stated what I believe, based on what I have read.
    Not that it’s particularly relevant, but I lived in Belfast through that dark period, not too far from where the abductions took place. I didn’t stray very far at night, like many others.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Must say I’m not convinced myself Joe, yet so much points to it. And having spent a wee bit of time in North belfast, and having story after story related to me about the fear induced by the butchers. I reckon they have left an indelible mark on the psyche of Nationalists there. Simply incomparable, even in the face of many other examples of inhumanity committed in that conflict. Happily now long over!

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, Prince, it struck incredible fear in many of our minds.
    What I couldn’t for the life of me understand was why so many went out alone after dark, never to return.

  • jadedobserver

    Definitely a brave fellow. For whatever they might be worth, my condolences go out to his family.

    The butchers were fucking barbarians. As shameful as it might be, it’s difficult to avoid the feeling Murphy got what he deserved.

  • NP

    Ever go in Frames bar about 10 years ago, or in fact anywhere round the so-called “cathedral quater” truely scarey. Not so much for who was there but who wasn’t. Not a sinner any where, dark & grim.

  • NP

    The Shankill butchers committed evil crimes.
    Its ironic that the Shankill Mirror publishes such glowing testimonials in “death notices” section. “Basher” bates “lovinng” uncle etc……on every anniversary of of his death
    but we havn’t eulogy for lenny Murphy, who really is the biggest victim of whole horrific circumstance.

    Ps. i think he had to die

  • McGinster

    My take on the whole ‘collusion/unionist apathy-support’ debate that is going on in this thread is a bit different from the conclusion most other people have arrived at. I’ll just add that it is based on no evidence whatsoever and I’m just throwing it out there to see what anyone from the relevant area/time period thinks about it.

    Personally I think that out of all the horrible things that went on during the ‘troubles’ (hate using that term) this one sticks out as being particularly gruesome. That’s not saying that the families of other victims grieved any less, just that it captures the imagination a lot more effectively than say a bar shooting/car bomb.

    I also believe that many people of all hues in the province suspected there was significant collusion between some members of the RUC and loyalist paramilitaries during this time.

    So after taking this all into account I would excuse any resident of the Shankill Road for ‘turning a blind eye’ to the activities of this gang. I mean, Jesus Christ, I reckon if most folk saw the bloody remains of some poor bloke at Murphy’s back door with the police doing little or nothing, they would keep a tight lip for fear of what might come their way next. It’s one thing being brave with your own life but how many are willing to gamble with their family’s? Even more so if you couldn’t be sure the cop you reported it to wasn’t supplying info to the group responsible.

    It’s something a lot of people don’t take into account when they accuse whole communities of cheerleading/complicity/passive support. Most people were terrified of paramilitry groups, not supportive of them.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Sorry but the simple fact is that the horrifically savage murders committed by the Shankill Butchers were THE most repugnant. Can you not understand that?*

    Repeat after me: “there is no heirarchy of virtue among sectarian serial killers, there is no heirarchy of virtue…”

    Please explain to me why the families of Jean McConville, Patsy Gillespie, Leslie Gordon, Hester McMullan et al should feel that the appallingly horrific circumstances of their loved ones’ deaths were somehow less repugnant than those of the Shankill Butchers?

    I’m sorry I don’t live in the sick, twisted, amoral universe that so many Republican posters seem to inhabit.

    Let me make it nice and clear one more time for the slow learners, the pack of vicious murderous thugs that you support were not morally superior to the vicious murderous thugs that themmuns support (except of course that I’ve never actually heard a single Unionist ever defend or excuse the crimes of the Shankill Butchers, I wish I could say the same about the Chucks).

    Clear enough for ya?

  • Harry, I’d say that within my limited knowledge the murders and attempted murders carried out by the Shankill Butchers were the most repugnant and those you refer to weren’t far behind.

    It’s also fairly clear that if Lennie Murphy had stood on a SF ticket he would have been elected. Now that says a lot about the ‘morality’ of the electorate.

    Much has been said about the quality of policing. I’ve blogged a brief view about Bushmills police station; I’ve also drawn attention previously to London and Dublin’s ‘delegation’ of local policing in many areas to the respective paramilitary godfathers and to ‘differential’ charging of those who’ve broken the same law but in places of differing political demographies. [Eoghan, if you’re interested in clarification, you’re more likely to receive a lesser penalty for, say, speeding in ‘nationalist’ Ballycastle than in ‘unionist’ Bushmills]. We’re told that there’s a massive hole in the policing budget so that probably means fewer police and fewer police stations – and poorer policing.

  • Paul

    Harry, you are deluded, sadly.

    People really need to face up to the fact that overwhelmingly sectarian attacks and attitutes emanated (and still do) from the Unionist Community. How anyone can equate the IRA killing of a UDR soldier with what Lenny Murphy done is simply beyond reasoning.

  • Steve

    HF Please explain to me why the families of Jean McConville, Patsy Gillespie, Leslie Gordon, Hester McMullan et al should feel that the appallingly horrific circumstances of their loved ones’ deaths were somehow less repugnant than those of the Shankill Butchers?

    To me its not that their deaths were less repugnant but they atleast were given the benefit of a rigorous investigation, the Shankhill victims seemed to be forgotten by the ruc till one had the temerity not to die! And worse he was rude enough to demand a result.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>It’s also fairly clear that if Lennie Murphy had stood on a SF ticket he would have been elected. Now that says a lot about the ‘morality’ of the electorate.<< Nevin, now I know Pete takes quite a lot of stick for baseless attacks on Nationalists, you however take the biscuit. How dare you smear the Nationalist electorate based on your silly fantasies. It's akin to determining that if your aunt had a penis, she would be your uncle. Then going onto claim they would then become a pedophile. Clearly you share harry's crazy views, you know the ones that you were too bashful to come out with earlier. Joe Could you please tell harry what a strawman argument is please?

  • joeCanuck

    That indeed is a classic strawman, Prince.

  • Eoghan, the ‘moral’ electorate voted for the Chuckle Brothers. Did you quibble with my ‘baseless attacks’ on that delightful duo – or any other (para)politician whose mandate I’m invited to respect without checking?

  • Prince Eoghan

    I’d reckon Nevin’s response a classic strawman Joe, mine was just an outrageous analogy. Still couldn’t compete with nevin’s original scandalous statement. Do you consider Nationalists would elect a sadistic monster?

    Nevin I could care less whose mandate you respect, for my money you are now into the comparisons game, same as harry. That is the issue, that and projecting some crazy, what can only be described as a fantasy scenario, a baseless one at that on nationalists.

    I grow weary of all this petty crap. People can make of it what they will.

  • “a baseless one at that on nationalists.”

    You seem to have lost the run of yourself, Eoghan. Perhaps you should limit yourself to what I’ve posted rather than basing your argument on your own twist.

    I was referring to the ‘moral’ electorate that voted for the parapoliticians from the PRM and it’s lesser monsters, the nutting squad and those who brutally attacked Eamon Collins.

  • joeCanuck

    You misunderstood me, Prince. It was Nevin’s outrageous statement that I was calling a strawman.

  • Harry Flashman

    *To me its not that their deaths were less repugnant but they atleast were given the benefit of a rigorous investigation, the Shankhill victims seemed to be forgotten by the ruc till one had the temerity not to die!*

    Unlike the Shankill Butchers, the killers of the victims I listed were never brought to justice. What a truly weird pretzel shape Republicans get themselves twisted into when they try to make the case that their psychos were a better class of psycho than the Huns!

    *How anyone can equate the IRA killing of a UDR soldier with what Lenny Murphy done is simply beyond reasoning.*

    Were the innocent civilian victims I listed above members of the UDR? No, they weren’t but they were still horribly murdered by the “nice” sectarian serial killers of the Republican Movement.

  • Steve

    Whether they were brought to justice is immaterial to the appearance of effort. No effort was seemed to be put into the butchers crimes till as I said one crazy taig had the temerity not to die and the rudeness to expect a result

  • Prince Eoghan

    Joe

    I’m afraid my mind is puggled from all these strawmen and wasn’t sure. I was referring to Harry’s ‘defence’ if I may call it that of the butchers, which anchors on our supposed defence of Republican killings here. Since no such defence is offered his point is null and void. I reckoned that fitted the bill as a strawman.

    Nevin

    >>You seem to have lost the run of yourself, Eoghan.<< Not at all, weary with Harry's nonsense aye. I'd argue that your projection was simply unbecoming of you. A normally sober commentator, not one that I'd noticed prone to fantasy scenario's. The murder of Collins simply doesn't stand up as a comparison, horrific though it was, but horrific enough?, perhaps. personal emnity was at play there there, a one off blood curdling type of crime committed up and down the country on a weekly if not daily basis. Even the case of John White or other similar Unionist killings don't stand up simply because they were usually a one off, even though the barbarity did come close to reaching the butchers standards. Simply stated the crimes of the butchers are unparalleled. However I am glad to see that you have *finally* shown your colours, so to speak.