Blink and you’ll miss it

Just FYI for the files: The Andersonstown News has removed Blinker’s, er, Squinter’s, article about Gerry Adams from their websites, and from Squinter’s blog. (Hint: it’s quite easy to start your own blog – ask Newton Emerson, Eamon Lynch or Anthony McIntyre, who also benefited suffered from the censorship control-freakery of Teach Basil, for tips*). We print it below for posterity’s sake – to remember the day the bold men struck a blow for freedom of speech.

* Insert your own “Told you so” here

UPDATE: The Belfast Telegraph reports: “A pro-Sinn Fein newspaper has apologised to Gerry Adams after an unprecedented attack on him by one of its best-known columnists.” Only “here” would an MP be able to stop a local paper from criticising his political performance, not to mention getting a front page apology in the bargain, with barely an eyebrow raised, eh?

UPDATE 2: Peter Weir calls for a ban on government funding to the paper as it has now proved itself to be nothing more than a party propaganda sheet.P.S. You can still access the heretical article via Belfast Media and Irelandclick sites using their Pagesuite viewer and paging through the archived edition – well, until they black that out or something. SHhhhh, keep that to yourself though. Don’t give them any ideas….

Squinter: Taking a sideways look at the week

20 years on, Gerry must face the truth

“The cruellest lies are often told in silence.” Adlai Stevenson wasn’t far wrong when he said that. Not that Squinter can be accused of keeping quiet too often, but it is the case as we prepare to bury Bap McGreevy that there are some things that are said and some things that aren’t, and one of the things that isn’t being said – publicly at least – is that it’s time for Gerry Adams to shoulder his share of the blame for the mess we’re in and stop blaming everybody else.

Adams has been the West Belfast MP for 20 years. First elected in 1983, he has served continuously since then, save for a five-year break when Joe Hendron took back the seat for the SDLP in 1992.

If a week is a long time in politics, then 20 years is the Upper Paleolithic Age. It is in that same 20-year period that the slow, steady decline into chaos in certain parts of West Belfast began, and it was on his watch that it has gathered pace to become the runaway train that it is today.

First thing to be said is that there are many people and many agencies to blame for the state of the lower Falls, to take that as an example: the Chief Constable, the Housing Executive, the courts, the Prison Service, the Probation Board, Social Services, certain local parents – the list goes on. But while Adams can and does point the finger at some or even all of the above, Squinter has to say that he has never heard Adams accepting any responsibility for the fact that large parts of his constituency are no-go areas, but without the bellbottoms, the parkas and the armalites, of course.

It definitely wasn’t Adlai Stevenson who said: “You don’t drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there.” Whoever said it had a point. Like every one of us, Bap McGreevy fell into the water when Harry Holland was slaughtered. It was hoped back then that the wave of community disgust and horror might be fashioned into a life raft which would carry us all on a tide of community solidarity and determination to a safer shore. Didn’t happen. What happened was that Bap McGreevy was left to drown – in his own blood – while the rest of us continue to flail around hoping that we won’t go under too.

Who’s to blame for the failure to press home the Harry Holland momentum? Gerry Adams is to blame, that’s who. He’s not the only one to blame, of course. Squinter refers you back to the list above, and every one of us who complains and then pulls the curtains and turns up the TV when the sun sets is to blame in our own collective way. But Gerry Adams is the MP, has been for 20 years. He’s supposed to know how to marshal and direct; he’s supposed to give us the ideas and the leadership; he’s supposed to make things better. When he asks for and gets our votes he accepts a host of very onerous responsibilities, and the most basic of those responsibilities is to make his constituency a good place for decent people to live and for parents to bring up their families. In that he has failed terribly.

Of course the police are falling down on the job, but how long is it possible to get away with that excuse? Bears crap in the woods, fat babies fart, the Pope wears a funny hat, the Trevors are jaw-droppingly useless. Tell us something we don’t know. Gerry Adams knows a lot better than Squinter that while the PSNI might have a lot of intelligence about the people of West Belfast, they know them as well as they know the remotest tribe of Western New Guinea – and they care even less. Against that background, complaining about the PSNI not doing their job is like complaining about the cold weather we’re supposed to be getting over the Easter weekend.

And every time Sinn Féin gets together at another fist-clenching Stormont meeting (the 2008 equivalent of Long Kesh political lectures), we’re told that economic deprivation underpins the myriad social problems that are convulsing the West Belfast community. They hope nobody will think to ask whose job it has been for the past 20 years to get investment and jobs and to generate community confidence and optimism.

It wasn’t as if Adams didn’t have the clout and the contacts. A former aide of Tony Blair has been making frankly embarrassing revelations in a new book about how close Adams and Blair were. Adams was the Oprah Winfrey of Irish-America. And what did we get? InBev gone and Visteon going. A huge investment conference that holds its nose as it swishes past West Belfast ferrying ministers and Invest NI suits to Hillsborough and Cultra. Adams might have got away with pointing to the lack of investment in his constituency in 1983 and saying: “Nothing to do with me, mate.” 20 years on and you’d buy a house in Ross Street quicker than you’d buy that.

20 years. Two decades. Four parliamentary terms. Four US Presidents. Two Popes. 11 Secretaries of State. Five UN Secretary-Generals. Five Taoisigh. Five Prime Ministers. In Ross Street the wind of change blows in empty Budweiser boxes and despair; it blows out good people and hope.

As a friend bitterly told Squinter over a St Paddy’s Day pint, Ourselves Alone are not the proud and risen republican people surging shoulder-to-shoulder towards a new Ireland, but the abandoned pensioners of the lower Falls who now fear the night a million times more than they ever feared the Brits or the loyalists. And don’t tell Squinter they’re not right to be afraid. When the bad guys can kill a well-known and popular ex-prisoner who was a fit and strong body-builder, then quite frankly Squinter’s more than a little concerned himself.

And so, next election day, Squinter thinks he’ll stay in the house in solidarity with those who are staying in their homes simply because they’re afraid to leave.

ADAMS RESPONDS TO THAT SQUINTER ARTICLE

A chara,

The ‘Squinter’ article of March 20, following the murder of Bap McGreevey, was both offensive and hurtful.
I am well used to and welcome criticism but I am disappointed at the tenor and tone of his tirade.
It was more reminiscent of a Sunday Independent columnist than the Andytown News.
Squinter’s advice that we should stay at home is also bad advice.
The duty of citizens is to join in the efforts to achieve more change, more jobs, better housing, and safer communities.
That’s the way forward for this constituency.

Gerry Adams, MP MLA

The Andersonstown News accepts that the tone and the timing of the Squinter article last week, during a period of community mourning, was inappropriate and unnecessary and apologises to Gerry Adams and our readers for any hurt caused. — Ed.

Previously on Slugger: here, here, here, and here.

  • Ty

    What this truth rusty?

    Adams’s ex-bodyguard rejects informer claim By Barry McCaffrey
    28/03/08

    A FORMER bodyguard to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams last night dismissed allegations that he is a British agent.

    Paul ‘Chico’ Hamilton spoke out for the first time yesterday to rubbish claims that he was an informer.

    The 52-year-old – who was Gerry Adams’s minder for eight years, – accused “faceless securocrats” of being behind a whispering campaign against him.

    “At no time have I ever worked for any of the so-called intelligence agencies or any other arm of the British establishment,” he said.

    Insisting that he would be carrying on life as normal in west Belfast, he said: “As a republican all I have is my name, that’s why I’ve decided to speak out.

    “I’m not the first republican the securocrats have tried to destroy and I doubt I’ll be the last.

    “All I can say is that I’m here in

    my own community and if anyone has a problem they can come and speak to me.”

    Earlier this week, Jim McCarthy, a former driver for Mr Adams who is now Community Restorative Justice Ireland coordinator, also denied he was a police informer.

    link

  • ozy

    They deleted it from their website? What next? The Great Firewall of West Belfast?

    Surely he’s not just going to carry on his blog and pretend not to notice one of his most important posts has been deleted by the powers that be?

  • Turgon

    As an outsider and of course someone who loathes Gerry Adams’s politics I am not in a good position to comment.

    Adams’s does not strike me as the sort of man who would be interested in spending time arguing for investment in jobs for West Belfast, in setting up community enterprises except in that they assisted the “cause”.

    I have always felt that Adams’s self perception is of himself as the intellectual almost poet / soldier / statesman. As such I suspect he has little interest in, application for, nor ability at the sort of day to day political issues which squinter is raising.

    Indeed keeping the citizens of West Belfast and other working class nationalist areas deprived and frequently unemployed may well have had significant advantages. It helped provide recruits to terrorism by resulting in people having the time to take part in such, the anger and sense of disengagement which helps breed violence and the absence of as much like jobs to loose by getting involved.

    Once this violence was channelled into things useful to the Republican movement such as terrorism; now it is channelled into anti social behaviour against local residents.

    Had Adams heavily promoted investment and useful community projects and there been greater oppportunities in west Belfast such people in a previous generation might have been less keen to get involved as they would then have faced loss of their jobs and position in society. Instead with no such position to loose and the prospect of local respect from being a terrorist they were probably more easily persuadable.

    Although these problems exist in all deprived urban areas in West Belfast I suspect in addition to the usual relative disinterest even from supposedly left wing politicians there is the additional problem that the likes of Gerry Adams and the IRA positively benefited from social deprivation and it is probably very difficult for Adams to discover a real interest in the lives of and actual probelms facing his constituents.

  • Gregory

    I just think it is terrible the way folks are targeting Big Brother No 1,

    I would also like to say in relation to Little Sister No 1, that Angela’s Smith’s child protection audit in 2006 discovered no Brit agents in the CCMS.

    Sadly, a leading pedophile had however been working for DENI. The FBI came aross that fella without consulting Big Brother No 1

    So there you have it.

    G.

  • ironynotlost

    Isn’t it ironic? It used to be the shinners had their voice silenced by Governments now they are in Government they are silencing others…

  • Gregory

    “The 52-year-old – who was Gerry Adams’s minder for eight years, – accused “faceless securocrats” of being behind a whispering campaign against him. ”

    They’re all around at DENI offering advice.

    :o))

    I’m being serious.

    No joke

    G.

  • nmc

    Turgon,

    Once this violence was channelled into things useful to the Republican movement such as terrorism; now it is channelled into anti social behaviour against local residents.

    This sounds like saying that there’s so much violence to go around and that as the IRA are out of business this violence dissipates around the community. Anyone from the area will tell you that the anti social types are almost entirely drunk kids. The murders of Bap McGreevy and Harry Holland were both carried out by drunken track suit bedecked teenagers. These kids, (extremely well known in the area), were not potential IRA recruits.

    The real problem, which everyone has a small responsibity for, is that the community police went off the streets (and by that I mean paramilitaries), but the actual police were neither welcome nor safe in the area (for very obvious reasons IMO but I won’t go down that tangent). So in the absence of any police the kids can do what they like and the victims are on their own to fight or cower away.

    I’m not going out to defend Gerry, to be totally honest I voted for an independent last time out. But Gerry has been in government for a reasonably short period of time. His ability to tout for investment or to affect change in government was halpered by the fact that he wasn’t in government for most of the past 25 years, so it’s difficult to blame him for these problems.

    is the additional problem that the likes of Gerry Adams and the IRA positively benefited from social deprivation

    I laugh at that, to be honest. So Gerry and the IRA benefited from social deprivation caused by whom? When Gerry came about the deprivation was there already, there weren’t a lot of jobs around for catholics at the time. Gerrymandering ensured that we couldn’t get power in any form and we were discriminated against by the state at every turn including jobs, housing, hostile and sectarian state police.

    If the IRA benefited from the situation that’s because the government of the day created the situation, and if the IRA have benefited from increased social deprivation, that is the responsibility of those who created the situation. At that time Gerry still had an actors voice and wasn’t allowed in government.

    Out to lunch back in 2.

  • IRIA

    I know you have to consider the source, but after reading McGartland’s book, Chico Hamilton and McCarthy definitely seemed to be a “protected species” and it also seemed like the people of (West)Belfast have had their doubts about them for years,

  • susan

    Isn’t it ironic? It used to be the shinners had their voice silenced by Governments now they are in Government they are silencing others…

    Posted by ironynotlost on Mar 28, 2008 @ 12:04 PM

    YeS. Section 31 for Slow Learners.

  • Ty

    Fuller version on the inside.

    Republican speaks out to deny informer claims By Barry McCaffrey
    28/03/08

    A FORMER bodyguard to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams last night spoke out publicly to reject rumours that he is a British agent.

    Paul ‘Chico’ Hamilton was bodyguard to the Sinn Fein leader for eight years in the 1990s and was regularly seen at Mr Adams’s side at key political events.

    The 52-year-old spoke out publicly for the first time last night to rubbish claims that he is an informer.

    “At no time have I ever worked for any of the so-called intelligence agencies or any other arm of the British establishment,” he said.

    “I’ve been a republican all my life and remain so to this day.

    “Like other people I’ve had concerns over some things in the peace process but I support the Sinn Fein leadership fully.”

    In 1997 Special Branch agent Martin McGartland claimed in his book Fifty Dead Men Walking that Hamilton and former IRA man Jim McCarthy had abducted and held him prisoner in 1991 after the Provisionals suspected he was an informer.

    McGartland escaped by jumping through a window of a third floor flat.

    However, in recent months informer allegations against Hamilton and McCarthy have surfaced in republican circles.

    Earlier this week Jim McCarthy publicly denied being an informer.

    Yesterday Paul Hamilton confirmed that he had been visited by the PSNI twice in the last two months with claims that he was about to be exposed as a British agent.

    “For someone who is supposed to be a top informer the PSNI didn’t even know where I lived because they went to two wrong addresses looking for me,” he said.

    “When I challenged them they wouldn’t even tell me where this supposed reliable information came from.

    “I can categorically state that it is all lies.”

    In 1977 Hamilton was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of a British army major.

    “I was an active republican for 36 years.

    “My war ended in July 2005 when the PIRA announced it was standing down.

    “I believe the faceless securocrats are trying to destroy my reputation and the reputation of other well known republicans to try and create tensions within the republican

    family.”

    The 52-year-old said his family had suffered “hugely’’ since informer allegations against him first emerged in 2006.

    “It started two years ago when these faceless securocrats started to spread deliberate lies that myself and a number of other prominent republicans were informers.

    “I wanted to speak out then but was advised it would only give credibility to the lies.

    “When more of these lies started to emerge six weeks ago I wanted to speak out then to refute them.

    “Again I was advised it would only give them credibility.”

    The father-of-four said his solicitor had repeatedly written to the chief constable to challenge police about the source of the claims.

    “The PSNI has refused to even acknowledge his correspondence.”

    Revealing the hurt that the informer allegations had caused to his family, he said: “I’ve only started to get my life back together in recent years through the help of the ex-prisoners’ group.

    “I’m training as a counsellor now because I want to give something back to my community.

    “No-one knows the effect this type of slur has on a republican and their family.

    “I’ve people phoning me up telling me they’ve heard I’ve been taken into protective custody.

    “My friends and family have rallied round but you’re always thinking someone else is thinking the worst about you.

    “It’s hard enough for me to deal with it but it’s even harder for your family.

    “As a republican all I have is my name, that’s why I’m speaking out.

    “I’m not the first republican the securocrats have tried to destroy and I doubt I’ll be the last.

    “All I can say is that I’m here in my own community and if anyone has a problem they can come and speak to me.

    “My war is over but the Brit securocrats seem to want to use me as a pawn in their sordid

    little games.”

    link

  • Gregory

    “Surely he’s not just going to carry on his blog and pretend not to notice one of his most important posts has been deleted by the powers that be? ”

    It is basically sad, I predict a bout of re-education, followed by a John Pilger documentary,

    ‘The victims of group-think’

    John Pilger : “And nobody knows what happened to them”

    Black Taxi Driver “The unpersons were slapped on the arse for being negative blackwhite”

    I think it is a doubleplusgood thing that Squinter is to be held accountable for his crimes, I really do.

    G.

  • Steve

    Gee maybe the republican community of west Belfast isnt as fractured as anti-Sinn Fein posters would like us to believe and maybe just maybe a capatalist owner of a relatively small newspaper wants to protect his circulation by not pissing off its readership?

    I know many of you will come on here and whinge about his lack of journalistic courage and how he should be willing to sacrifice his newspaper for the sake of integrity but as the guy who has to pay the bills he would probably disagree.

    hardly the first newspaper owner to travel down that road

    integrity doesnt by any ink or newsprint

  • Grassy Noel

    Sorry Steve,

    but that won’t wash. Mairtin is loaded – and the papers are doing very well. Think of another local newspaper publishing a front page apology to a party leader after one of their columnists criticised their record. You can’t, because they wouldn’t.

    I will never buy said paper again

  • Shore Road Resident

    Gee Steven, you have a fairly low opinion of people in West Belfast. The ATN’s conduct over this issue is exactly the reason why Daily Ireland failed – nobody wants to pay for party propaganda. It is amazing that the “capitalist owner” involved has still not cottoned onto this.

  • King Rollo

    That fellow Adams gets more like Robert Mugabe every day.

  • Trainpilot

    I am quite sure there’s more to this than meets the eye. Sinn Fein are astute political operators.

  • Steve

    Grassy Noel
    but that won’t wash. Mairtin is loaded – and the papers are doing very well

    And that wouldnt have anything to do with his supporting the local community?

  • There’s been a squeak from the DUP mouse!!

    Anderstown (sic) News climb down confirms what we already knew.

    “The truth of the matter is that whilst the Andersonstown News continues this slavish devotion to a single political party it should not be receiving one penny of public money, either from the government or through various European funding programmes as it has in the past. By groveling to Adams in this way, the Andersonstown News has confirmed what many people already believed, that it is the Sinn Fein equivalent of Pravda.”

  • Shore Road Resident

    No Steve, it has more to do with the extremely generous financial support he’s received from the British government down the years, including the construction of a highly-profitable printing press entirely at taxpayer expense.
    Who exactly in his “local community” was he supporting to get that?
    Anyway, you’ve now switched from calling the publisher the poor owner of a small paper to a gazillionaire thanks to the same paper, so you’re clearly not here for a serious argument. Drone.

  • Steve

    Never/SRR

    So really its the equivalent of the DUP and the Newsletter

  • Steve

    SRR I never called him poor I called him a Capatalist and I sure never called him a gazillionaire so whos the drone here?

    And since you made no arguement yes it is over being as it never started

  • Steve,

    for me the issue isn’t so much about the apology, but about the way the post has been removed from the Squinter blog, excised from history as if it never existed. You do know what Winston Smith’s job in 1984 was, don’t you?

  • Shore Road Resident

    No, Steve, YOUR ma.
    Glad you see the DUP/Newsletter parallel. Surprised you’d think that was something to defend. Is there anything to your case here beyond party tribalism?

  • susan

    Look, Steve. As a politician and as an elected representative, Gerry Adams has every right to object to any and all aspects of Squinter’s essay he feels are inaccurate, unfair or unwarranted.

    However, as a republican and as a writer, Gerry Adams has an additional responsibility to defend to defend the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. To expect nothing more, and to accept nothing less.

  • Hogan

    “I am quite sure there’s more to this than meets the eye. Sinn Fein are astute political operators.”

    That is not denied, however on this occasion i believe you have failed to appreciate one of the main ingredients in a politician’s DNA – i.e. ego!

    The Sainted Beard was so outraged at the direct attack on him in his heartland by a publication that has been the Provisional movement’s lickspittle for so long that he simply lost the run of himself.

    Others have commented on previous thread’s, and i agree, that SF should’ve exercised some restraint in their approach to Teach Basil by demanding right of reply in an open letter or lengthy interview etc.

    This was not a masterplan hatched by Connolly House, they just massively over-reacted and in doing so exposed just how much their right hand can tickle Teach Basil’s tonsils.

    The fact that a governing party can get away with it without causing massive consternation in the wider media is merely a reflection on the standard of press-release reguritators…sorry i mean’t journalists, that we enjoy in ‘our wee country’.

  • ulsterfan

    Democracy,freedom of expression and liberty have been damaged but good men will work to have them restored.
    It is as serious as that!!!!

  • Steve

    Susan
    You seem to think Sinn Fein ordered it removed, do you have any proof to back that up? Anyone else?

    Has squinter said anything?

  • Shore Road Resident

    You really are a geg Steve.
    The Squinter column has not appeared this week and the paper will only say “Squinter will be back”.
    This really is the most remarkable act of cowardice by a supposedly independent newspaper. Don’t try and excuse by asking “has Squinter said anything”. Squinter is clearly not allowed to say anything.

  • Worth a look
  • susan

    Steve, instead of hypothesising about what you think I “seem to think,” pay attention to what I said:

    “As a politician and as an elected representative, Gerry Adams has every right to object to any and all aspects of Squinter’s essay he feels are inaccurate, unfair or unwarranted.

    However, as a republican and as a writer, Gerry Adams has an additional responsibility to defend to defend the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. To expect nothing more, and to accept nothing less.”

    Gerry Adams has every right to refute and dispute Squinter’s claims, but he also has a personal responsibility to defend Squinter’s freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. WHOEVER is responsible for the attempt to excise Squinter’s article from history. And Gerry Adams has a responsibility to do so not for the love of Squinter, but in defense of the basic democratic and republican principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

    I

  • Steve

    So I am a geg

    Presumably because I dont accept the propaganda being spewed by the Anti-Sinn Fein posters.

    I operate a business so I understand about pressures from outside forces, Sinn Fein certainly did object to the article but did they order it removed or was that a business decision by Mairtin O? After last weeks post about him denigrating Adams I wouldnt think adams has that kind of pull with the paper.

    I presume that the publisher knew full well the content of squinters article but never anticipated the back lash they recieved and not just from Gerry and he subsequently found it expiedient to follow these actions.

  • marty

    Presumably because I dont accept the propaganda being spewed by the Anti-Sinn Fein posters

    Er, you seem happy enough to believe the SF propaganda judging by your rather one-sided posts.

    How boring must Canada be if you spend your days arguing about the ATN?

  • Steve

    Marty
    Politically speaking its very boring but thats what you get for a stable 141 year old democracy thats transmuted into a reasonably egalitarian society

    Not perfect but not bad

  • Blooper

    Steve

    Quite right – a wonderful legacy left by the Biritsh in our former Dominion.

  • mal

    So much for free speech. The 3 -20 archive edition has been removed. Welcome to 1984. Hello Pravda. mise

  • wild turkey

    ‘for me the issue isn’t so much about the apology, but about the way the post has been removed from the Squinter blog, excised from history as if it never existed. ‘

    Sammy M, do you mean to say its been disappeared?

  • Steve

    Steve

    Quite right – a wonderful legacy left by the Biritsh in our former Dominion.

    Posted by Blooper on Mar 28, 2008 @ 03:54 PM

    Well it may have started out modelled on the british system since we have no inheirited right to govern ie house of lords and much less centralized and more devolved administrations I would judge our democracy similar but very different.Of course it is partially do to our rather more geographically diverse nation that power out of necesity was devolved out to the provinces

    And just for the record the english did not instal our form of government it was a made in Canada solution that was only modeled on the english parliament

  • Steve

    Susan
    What I am saying is you are berating Gerry Adams for having the article removed with out any proof that he did.

    If he did use whatever power he might have to get the article removed then I would agree with what you are saying. But in the absence of any proof I refuse to condemn him because the article was removed after he complained.

    And most posters are just using this as an excuse to take pot shots at the paper and Gerry

  • Sammy M, do you mean to say its been disappeared?

    Yup, not a sign of it. And comments on that site are moderated – I wonder if there’s any chance of anything critical of the paper’s line being included, except for the odd hysterical letter from hardline loyalists they publish to show how inclusive they are.

  • “as a republican and as a writer, Gerry Adams”

    He’s a great writer, Susan!!

    “Ah, shut up!” I told her. “Who’s listening to you, wee doll,” and I stamped out of the house.

    I think he’s just had another bout of the stamps 🙂

  • susan

    Steve, Gerry Adams has a platform locally, nationally and on the world’s stage as an elected politician, a republican, and a writer. He’s been a member of PEN (“promoting literature, defending freedom of expression”) since at least the nineties, perhaps longer.

    http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/

    As I said, and as I expect you will continue to ignore, WHOEVER censored Squinter’s post from the site, censorship is censorship and if Adams continues to be silent in defense of freedom of the press and freedom of speech the ensuing speculation and suspicion may ultimately damage his reputation more than anything Squinter wrote.

  • DC

    Once again Sinn Fein invokes symbolism by attaching the Party political to a death in the name of republicanism; however, he was actually beaten to death along non-sectarian anti-social behaviour grounds.

    Gerry Adams is trying to confuse the situation by using an uncomplicated message that Bap was at utmost a republican, invoking group recognition of that fact to belie the substance that it was nothing to do with republicanism but on the ground attitudinal problems ingrained in the minds of local youths.

    And which Squinter had every right to complain about.

    Re:

    “The duty of citizens is to join in the efforts to achieve more change, more jobs, better housing, and safer communities.
    That’s the way forward for this constituency.”

    What a patronising fucker, does he think we are all idiots!!!

  • susan

    Nevin, every so often try to concentrate less on personalities involved and more on principles at stake. If only to get on everyone’s wick. ;o)

  • Susan of course you are absolutely correct, it is indefensible what has happened at the ATN and people should black the paper until this matter is put right.

    It is almost as if Gerry Adams is determined to destroy what is left of his reputation, which is something despite disagreeing with him on a great many things I personally find sad, although it does not surprise me as after he signed up to a very similar peace protest arafat went the same way.

    For a man who have been the victim of censorship to act in this fashion and keep quiet whilst the ATN and friends act in this manner is pathetic.

    It is difficult to comprehend what is going on in Adams mind of late, first we had his despicable behavior at the funeral of Brendan Hughes and now this. It is as if the man is determined to destroy himself.

  • Garibaldy

    The Provos have murdered, beaten, and intimidated those who oppose them within the ares they see as their own for decades, and now that they have practically stopped doing that but Adams complains to a newspaper people say he has turned into some sort of big bad wolf. I fear that people’s priorities are somewhat skewed.

  • jake

    mick hall – he’s rattled, since the southern election fiasco it has all been falling to pieces for him – remember enoch: all political lives end in failure – now it’s his turn

  • Susan, that pert butt was just asking to be kicked. And it’s Friday 😉

  • susan

    Garibaldy, it isn’t about complaining to a newspaper, and if things are allowed to stand as they are, it isn’t just about Gerry Adams. It’s about freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and standards and funding for an allegedly free press, If a principle is a principle you can’t argue it is a principle just for people like you, or people you like. (Although heaven only knows people will continue to try.)

    Thanks, Mick. I don’t know if it is Adams himself who is behind this blatant, documented act of censorship, or clods who think they are defending him, or, as Steve suggests, a publisher skittish about his profit margins. But I do wish someone with Adams’s ear would remind him that the defense of freedom of speech and freedom of the press only becomes a personal attack on him if his continuing silence dictates that it is must be so.

    Any chance the man himself ever gets up for a glass of water in the middle of the night and cruises by Slugger?

    Jake “All political lives end in failure.” Great point; and most true of the interesting political lives.

    Nevin: No comment. NASA’s efforts to defy gravity have nothing on mine. But thank you for that reminder that is Friday!

  • This censorship is all quite shocking. The Squinter article in itself is only one part of the equation. What was more interesting was the long list of attacks on Adams and Sinn Fein which were posted after the article on Squinter’s site. Suddenly, it appeared as if all those whispered voices of dissent in West Belfast had something to coalesce around. These have all been wiped away, as if they never existed. Stalin would be proud. And what’s laughable is that today’s Andersonstown News has the front page headline: “We want Bap’s Home Levelled” with a picture of Fra McCann and a stern-faced friend. Not content with blaming everyone else, it’s now the flat’s fault. Do they think that demolishing it will make the hoods go away? Please!?!

  • slug

    “he Andersonstown News accepts that the tone and the timing of the Squinter article last week, during a period of community mourning, was inappropriate and unnecessary and apologises to Gerry Adams and our readers for any hurt caused.—Ed.”

    Good gracious. That is extreme and says *a lot* about the proprietor.

  • The Raven

    That’s it….I’m calling the doctor for Greg…ten years is about nine years and 11 months too many for him to have been this way….

  • Charles in Texas

    Mick Hall

    I totally agree with you 6:31. I must now go have a lie down!

  • Gregory

    “That’s it….I’m calling the doctor for Greg…ten years is about nine years and 11 months too many for him to have been this way….”

    I might need one before this is over.

    I don’t think Big Brother No 1 is guaranteed to be too pleased by what is happening next week.

    So, no sex offenders in schools, no matter what Ms Ruane or Big Brother No 1 say.

    G.

  • Garibaldy

    Susan,

    They repressed the freedom in speech in a lot more violent and direct ways for years. And some of the people now up in arms supported them while they did it. And as has been pointed out at the top of this thread, the people behind the ATN have not been backward about censorship either.

    What has happened is clearly inappropriate, and demonstrates the quasi-fascistic streak that is ingrained within the Provisionals. But there have been worse examples.

  • Gregory

    Big Brother No 1 isn’t quasi anything, I’m reporting you to think-rite CRJ.

    G.

  • LURIG

    I think I have seen this play before. Wasn’t it called Dallas and Bobby Ewing’s dream where everything that had gone on the previous series was all made up and a figment of Bobby’s poor deluded mind. Likewise the ATN reaction and climbdown is a rewrite where all mention of ‘the article’ vanishes in a puff. Was it really there at all? Next we will have Adams and his fawning worshipping entourage denying it ever existed, it was all a Sunday Independent plant. YO HO will someone in the Republican Movement get a grip here and stop digging. The low credibility that the Shinners already had in many parts of Nationalist Belfast is fast disappearing like snow off a ditch. What fools do they take us for? Instead of taking it on the chin Adams and Sinn Fein threw a strop, took their ball home and forced the ATN to take the blame for even questioning the Bearded One. They should BOTH have put their heads together and made a joint statement of sorts including one where the ATN would reconsider publishing large half page ads for cheap alcopops and beer which it does every week. It should also have contemplated it’s own navel for the massive upsurge in anti-social behaviour. SOMETHING obviously happened in the last 7 days to force such a climbdown and the ATN & Robin Livingstone have a moral duty to their profession and an obligation to tell their readership what this was. Both Sinn Fein and the ATN now look totally foolish and have lost the confidence of their own community. Is it any wonder the hoods and thugs are sitting back and laughing. You can fool some of the people All of the time, you can fool ALL of the people some of the time BUT you can’t fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

  • Gregory

    Are you associating the promotion of blue rocket fuel with alcohol induced violence in West Belfast?

    I had to pay for a skip to take away about 800 bottles, SF and Belfast City Hall allowed me to eat the loss/cost. Rely on oneself.

    SF also cut down my tree. In fairness the ATN did a sympathetic story on my knife wielding yobbo probs. However, SF tended to well, take control, so my tree had to go.

    Not that the tree was out killing anybody or anything. That’s life, that’s SF. I wasn’t invited to the meeting about MY tree, I’m not a group-thinker.

    G.

  • Steve

    Greg
    its nice to see someone deeply attached to a tree…. did you give it a wee hug before it went awat

  • Gregory

    They done it when I wasn’t there. It’s demise is officially recorded by the US Department of State as ‘The Battle of Downfine Forest’.

    ‘Opponents of Big Brother No1 were today targeted by group-think militia in a punitive action which left one little dog ‘kicked’ and many pedestrians injured, one tree is thought to have been set upon by a group of eejits armed with a chainsaw’

    I’ve asked for political asylum in the United States I’m still waiting for President Bush to get back to me.

    G.

  • TAFKABO

    I feel it my duty to inform everyone here that I recently encountered Greg on another forum, where he ranted on for months and months about sex abuse. There was no topic he couldn’t turn into a conversation about kiddyfiddling.
    It would be laughable except for the fact that Greg works for some organisations connected to the Catholic Church, the really fundamentalist wing of the Church at that, ask him about is campaign to have sex education banned in Scotland, or his comments about how condoms are useless in the fight against AIDS.

    Worst of all, and I say this seriously, Greg calls in the lawyers when things don’t go his way.
    Mick needs to be very careful in allowing this type of loon on the boards, my advice is to keep a very close watch on him, he has destroyed on discussion board as it is.

  • Gregory

    I think we all have to stay cheerful for the sake of Big Brother No1, that is the only threat to free speech in my part of the world.

    I do however win court cases as a rule. If you are the original TAFKABO, have you still got the Stormont photos of me waiting for the Deputy First Minister?

    GARDAÍ are investigating claims a sex pest stole the identity of a West Belfast anti-porn campaigner and used it to harass women over the internet.

    http://tinyurl.com/3bztp9

    They haven’t censored everything at the Andytown News yet by the way.

    G.

  • TAFKABO

    Don’t say you weren’t warned folks.

  • Gregory

    I do tend to feel the authorities, that is to say the An Garda Siochana, took the view, that the copyrighted photos should not have been used for the purpose they were put to.

    “Sick sex pest poses as local man to harass women online”

    That being unlawful, the Andytown News vaguely hinted at that in their headline. Also, I’m not Continuity Catholicism as such, I’m just a pro-Vatican lobbyist.

    I do Catholic stuff.

    G.

  • TAFKABO

    Yeah Greg, you support the banning of condoms in AIDS riven Africa, and you don’t want kids to have sex education.
    A lobbyist for the Vatican?
    Ironically, they’re the one organisation you want accuse of sex crimes.

    “Sex pest” indeed.

    Do keep us informed of the Garda’s investigations.

  • TAFKABO

    want s/b won’t

  • Gregory

    The Vatican were offered a fait accompli.

    The following article was written after Esmond Birnie called the Newsletter to offer the UUP perspective & view.

    I spoke to Dr. Birnie about it on the 1st Feb 2007. I told him I wasn’t happy at all and would appreciate it if the UUP could adopt a critical position.

    “However, despite such a lengthy investigation, on Jan- uary 15 a
    spokesman for the Government said in Parliament that they did not know
    how many Roman Catholic officials have been interviewed by police in
    Northern Ireland or charged in relation to withholding evidence of
    child abuse over the past 10 years.
    Minister Paul Goggins told MP Teresa May that the PSNI said the
    information was not available in the requested format and could be
    provided only at disproportionate cost. ”

    http://tinyurl.com/yvdxd5

    Makes you wonder about C. Ruane’s vetting promises doesn’t it?

    I think you will also find the hand of Tony Blair and the NIO all over our local issue.

    G.

  • Gregory

    They only handed over abstracts. The PSNI were happy enough not to have the detailed files.

    A few people tried to do do something about it. We didn’t have that much support.

    In my view the NIO, PSNI, & PPSNI took a less than thorough position.

    G.

    Northern Ireland
    Clergy: Sexual Offences
    David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland has received (a) full details and (b) summaries of allegations of child sexual abuse by priests from the Roman Catholic Church. [148549]

    Paul Goggins: I have been advised by the PSNI that they have received information regarding a number of allegations of historic sexual abuse allegedly committed by priests from the Roman Catholic Church.

    This information was handed to PSNI by solicitors acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church has co-operated fully with PSNI supplying all relevant information which has been required or requested.

    An investigation file is currently with the Public Prosecution Service for consideration.

  • TAFKABO

    People should note that even when discussing abuses by the Church, Greg will attack and criticise everyone but the Church, note how he carefully chooses his words to leave the church looking as if they’re the only ones doing the right thing, whilst all other parties are negligent in Greg’s eyes.

  • Gregory

    (a)

    See above, I just did criticize the Northern Bishops, they can’t be trusted in relation to child protection, they’re very difficult.

    (b)

    I also requested the media articles which illustrated ‘the nature’ of the problem. Or, to be specific, the PSNI & PPSNI didn’t really want to do any of it. The NIO hand at work.

    (c)

    I roped in political friends to say the needful for the positive media articles.

    ‘The UUP family affairs spokesman Esmond Birnie said: “An independent inquiry could be very helpful in restoring public confidence. I am not completely convinced the Church has done all it can to restore public confidence since Ferns.”‘

    PSNI & PPSNI let us down. The former couldn’t even be relied upon to ask for detailed files.

    I spoke to Dr. Birnie about it on the 1st Feb 2007. I worked at it until 17th Jan 2008.

    The decision not to prosecute was perhaps early August, I’ve seen documents dated 09 August 2007 talking about informing suspects.

    The notification to the media took place 07 December 2007, I stopped (lobbying) a few weeks later, 17th Jan. The NIO had it fixed.

    There you have it

    G.

  • TAFKABO

    Yes, there you have it.

    Once again, you focus on the aftermath of the crimes, preferring to lay blame for the failures in prosecution, all the while avoiding the elephant in the nursery, namely the church you work for and the systematic abuse of children.
    How can you crow so much about being a crusader against abuse when you work for the catholic church?

  • Gregory

    I spent a year trying to get the culprits prosecuted, to no avail. I’ll get the allegations listed (in detail) on the NCR in the USA.

    the SDLP, Sinn Fein were a waste of time, I had to talk unionists into taking a swing at it.

    The reason it went nowhere was because the PSNI, PPSNI & NIO didn’t want to do it.

    The Vatican wants it resolved.

    It is not that easy out in the provinces to get the central line adopted, it just isn’t.

    Northern Bishops, they just want it buried.

    The PSNI. PPSNI, NIO & Goggins, and Tony Blair, agreed that buried was the best option.

    That’s what we were up against & the Northern Bishops of course. I worked it for a year.

    Did my best

    G.

  • TAFKABO

    So there you have it, according to Greg, the Nice Vatican wants priest child abusers prosecuted, but them pesky police services, government agencies and political parties are all stopping it from happening.

    (Anyone else find that the lights on their bullshit detectors just started flashing?)

  • Elizabeth

    There is a revolution occurring in America right now, a fundamental shift in sensibilities that were once thought to be cast in stone. People of all colors are acknowledging their commonality; in some instances even celebrating it. For we have come to recognize that we are not enemies, but comrades united in the struggle to keep our homes from being foreclosed, to keep food on our tables, and to force televangelists to open their books. People, I am talking about a genuine grass roots effort to kick unrepentant, rampant, ruthless, capitalism in the knees. Citizens, errr subjects of N.I. wake up and smell the coffee. Your neighbors aren’t your enemies, it’s the cashed up politicos of both parties with second homes in Donegal.

  • Gregory

    “So there you have it, according to Greg, the Nice Vatican wants priest child abusers prosecuted”

    The Vatican is not here, and Catriona Ruane and the NIO are sadly calling the shots. That’s the problem you are failing to grasp.

    Ms Ruane tells the CCMS they can get away with what they want to get away with.

    She won’t lift a finger to put a CCMS school back on the straight and narrow. She is following in a line of malfeasance which has direct rule precedents.

    The CCMS and the Northern Bishops have an immunity agenda, they’e encouraged in that direction by the NIO & the British govt.

    The NASUWT get the exact same deal. So it is not restricted to the Catholic Church. Both are offered the same ‘free pass’ franchise.

    The Vatican tells subordinates they shouldn’t have immunity and the British tell them they can have a free pass, in fact, the NIO insist. That is what I am up against.

    If the Pope was Big Brother No1, I’m sure we wouldn’t have the same problem. The core problem is the NIO and the govt. in London.

    Big Brother No1 is also doing a Cardinal Law if you make the assumption he is Catronia Ruane’s political boss. That transfer of blame wouldn’t be unreasonable. Gerry Adams is (often) here and the Pope isn’t.

    G.

  • Elizabeth

    Speaking from the perspective of an American, the Catholic church in the US has been held accountable for it’s sins of omission regarding turning a blind eye towards sexual abuse. The hierarchy of the Catholic church working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and civil reviewing boards have taken steps to safeguard children against being victimized in the future.

  • Bakunin

    That Squinter was such a troublemaker.

    Will he join the lists of the disappeared?