Alex Attwood speaks about West Belfast…

Slugger was able to catch up with Alex Attwood in the bunker room at Armagh City Hotel. The bunker, as its name suggests, was pretty badly lit – but Alex speaks about the constituency of West Belfast.


    Although the SDLP’s recent record in West & North Belfast leaves a lot to be desired Sinn Fein have been a disaster for these areas. They have been quite content to revel in and take advantage of the economic and crime ridden wastelands both have become. Sinn Fein seems very happy at the status quo and thinks it’s role is to fill out your DLA form and push for a Housing Executive house while getting you as many government handouts as you want. They don’t seem to realise that this lifestyle culture is crippling these districts and foments the circumstances that leads to alcohol, drug dependancy and mental and physical ill health. Many residents are hardworking people who want to make their own lives better but feel they have been left behind by the political representatives of the ‘world owes me a living brigade’ which Sinn Fein have become. What have Sinn Fein brought to these areas? NOTHING but a telephone service for the Dole and Housing Executive. Their record is appalling and Robin Livingstone and the Andersonstown News said as much before they were told to recant by the Connolly House thought police.

  • Tir Eoghain

    I would doubt very much Alex ever had a pint in Nth or West Belfast with an ordinary person without a tie on them.

    Gift of the gab doesn’t wash with people you seem to try and speak for Alex.

  • Gregory

    “I would doubt very much Alex ever had a pint in Nth or West Belfast with an ordinary person without a tie on them.”

    That’s a bit unfair, he’s of a social class,

    and much of that class generally avoids many of the pint serving establishments in W. Belfast,

    That’s quite wise, opposition to SF, is not without physical risk, to speak out against them, in the lanes and watering holes,

    one has to accept, that SF didn’t arrive at the apex of ‘not fit for purpose’ politics without hurting and threatening a few people in its wash.

    That joke about a job being advertised before a SFer had been settled & slotted, springs to mind,

    Sinn Fein prefer a marked deck, organizing disadvantage for their critics, to them that is politics.

    They may be nice individually, but as a corporation, SF are quite nasty, and they’re not as good at grass roots politics as some say.

    West Belfast has no factories, and is a crime ridden dump, not because of a bolshie agenda of keeping the plebs barefoot.

    It is because Gerry Adams isn’t good on economics, investment, self-help, and nobody with two brain cells would trust SF with money.

    SF are a ‘party class’ and live surrounded by ‘the party’ the rest of the inhabitants are just there.

    I don’t like them, I stay in W. Belfast to spite them. I wouldn’t chance my arm in any number of bars, given the relationship between SF and myself.

    Having said that many republicans from the 1970s and 1980s, come up to me, and are friendly, because they know, I have a (genuinely felt) low opinion of Gerry Adams.


  • Hi Kathleen.

    I wonder were you able to get an interview with Paul Quiin’s mum. She had spoken at the Fringe meeting where you interviewed Alex and gave one of the bravest witnesses to ongoing republican violence when she talked about how the IRA murdered her son last year.

    The SDLP brought her together with representives of the Ballymurphy Masacre, Gerry Conlon, Raymond McCord and Paddy Hill.

  • Gregory

    “The SDLP brought her together with representives of the Ballymurphy Masacre, Gerry Conlon, Raymond McCord and Paddy Hill.”

    My family had the shop at the bottom of Springhill Avenue,

    I remember there was blood on the ceiling of the interrogation room, at the Taggart Barracks, I was 13 or 14 when I was there.

    the British ( same place and time) were as bad as Gerry Adams has painted them in his books, that recollection was accurate.

    The Brit army were bad in Ballymurphy.

    Two of our priests died.


  • westwing

    I am angered that people feel they can label west Belfast a ‘crime ridden hole’ when the closest most ever get to the area is when driving down the westlink. And the reason why people stopped voting SDLP is because they dont feel they have any real connection with the community. When you listen to Alex Attwood speaking you understand why, he has no warmth or understanding at all instead just speaks in a monotone politician mode, its like he’s reading and autoque.
    Every member of my very large west Belfast family is educated and hard working and most remained living in the area because they like the community spirit and the way when we were abandonded by all we helped ourselves.
    Also because a person is unable to work for one reason or another and claims benefits they are not suddenly reduced to something you walked on. What kind of society does not help those in need, maybe we should reopen the soup kitchens and stick our children back in the mills or up a chimney to work just in case we upset the sensitivities of the middle class.

  • UFB

    Alec, like the former SDLP MP Joe Hendron, has the luxury of speaking of the social problems and deprivation of Belfast West from the sumptuously majestic surroundings of [edited]. It didn’t take Alex very long to up sticks from [edited]and leg it as fast as his wee legs could carry him to the profuse delights of [edited].

    I am one of those people that WW speaks above in his second paragraph above and I think that although WB has a natural SF majority The Beard needs to stop acting like Lord of the Manner and get his subordinate elected reps to actually do the job they were elected to do, represent the electorate to the best of their ability and develop the economic infrastructure of the area.

    I’ll say one positive thing about the Atwood’s, Alec’s wee brother Tim is a much more effective councilor than the absentee landlord ever was, however, that’s probably not too difficult a feat to accomplish.

  • UFB

    *Lord of the Manner

    Should read Lord of the Manor

  • Westwing,

    Absolutely well said! There is no shortage of west Belfast detractors about, the mast majority of whoms only visit has been to the Royal. I suppose their intolerance will sadly always be there, just have to carry on confronting it.


    Quite curious how you come to your conclusion that nobody with two brain cells would trust SF with money?
    When one compares the balance books of the 26 councils, the SF dominated, or ones were SF have a strong influence, they far out perform unionist debt-ridden councils in the east in terms of fiscal prudence.

    Conall Mc Devitt,

    The main issues which effect the lives of the people of WB, and all other working class areas are the economic situation and crime. Belfast has been plagued over recent years by an alarming increase in attacks on the elderly in their own homes. These barbaric attacks, which one could argue are worse than attacks on children, in terms of vunerability and lasting impact. They are carried out by vicious thugs, who when caught get their waists slapped. So why do you and the SDLP make such a commotion over the death of an alleged fuel smuggling criminal and ‘eco-vandal’? There is an on-going police investigation into his death and for all you know charges could be pending.
    Would you not be better served showing some support for the families of truly innocent victims of crime who remain invisible and are not given virtual unlimited access to media outlets?
    I think the more discerning bloggers see through the crocodile tears and the petty politics.

  • veritas

    the only time the old foggies of the sdlp are seen in West Belfast are media exercises and elections….

    they are completely irrelevant to most on the ground and that says more about the sdlp…

    They can sit in their “bunker” and wax lyrically about what the electorate are missing but I seem to remember the West under the sdlp and to be frank it was jobs for the boys in conjunction with the Catholic Church and some wonder were SF learned it from…

    SF at least are on the ground not that they make a difference but its appearances that count and even if you don`t get anything done, its the appearance of being there regularly not just at elections….

    that counts.

  • Veritas

    Maybe you should know that the MP for West Belfast is the Antichrist by deduction, by his admission and by his name containing “Adam” and working out at 666. It may seem trivial but there is an atmosphere too that is extremely hostile to mere mortal Christians.

    There is the thick fog of intimidation and the conditioning after years of propanganda of a people to expect absolutely nothing but the fanciful words of nobility in death, justice in violence, and victory in inferiority.

  • John O’Connell,

    I thought the pope was the anti-christ???

    Please go quietly in the night!! If your having a laugh, then appologies!

  • I don’t want to entertain the notions of JO’C – but I wonder by what mathematical process he arrives at the equation that Gerry Adams = 666?

    Biblical calculus?

  • Paul Keilty

    I am having a laugh alright, but Gerry Adams is the Antichrist, of that I have not got the slightest doubt.

    And anyone who criticises the splinter in the SDLP’s eyes should look at the plank in Sinn Fein eyes.

    So why do you and the SDLP make such a commotion over the death of an alleged fuel smuggling criminal and ‘eco-vandal’?

    Anyone who could blog that should in a decent society be locked up and the key thrown away. You’re lucky that this society is kind to the Antichrists.

  • Concubair O’Lathain

    Gerry Adams

    His name adds up to 666 by taking A=6, b= 12, and c=18 … to z=156

    His name contains Adam
    The name of the beast is “man’s number” (Rev 13:18) or Adam’s number, Adam being the first man

    There’s quite a lot more which you’ll find on my website by clicking on my name and clicking Revelation.

  • e =mc2

    ‘There’s quite a lot more which you’ll find on my website by clicking on my name and clicking Revelation’

    er.. thanks, but I’ll pass all the same, John, if you don’t mind.

  • e=mc2

    Ah, you’re a scientific supremacist.

    You know, I have the antidote to the nonsense that passes for the supremacy of science. It’s just a matter of time before science is knocked off its lofty pedestal and we come to realise that the vastly most important things are all within our own reaches.

  • dunreavynomore

    Paul Kielty

    “so why do you and the SDLP make such a commotion over the death of an alleged fuel smuggler and ‘eco vandal’?”. Paul, do you have any idea of all the ramifications of that statement? You seem to be saying that Paul Quinn’s life is not worth much and that you have decided that he was the author of his own misfortune. If that is what passes for republicanism nowadays, that people can be killed for real or alleged offences, I am thankful to have no connections to the people you support, the same people many believe murdered Paul Quinn. Paul Quinn deserves the right to presumed innocence until proven otherwise and even then no one had the right to murder him. It is worth pointing out that both police forces and all parties in Ireland ,bar one, believe that the IRA murdered him and in a most brutal fashion.
    The problem for the IRA and Sinn Fein is the Quinns, a non political family, quickly learned how to keep their quest for justice going and are doing great work at it. Fair play to them and too bad if their efforts upset you and your narrow view of the world.

    Paul, if you wnat fuel smugglers and ‘eco vandals’ just watch at your local fuel station and see who is delivering the fuel and where it is coming from. You might be rudely surprised, or maybe not surprised at all. Paul Quinn is dead but there are plenty willing to stand up for his family. (I am not an SDLP member or supporter)
    Paul, there is plenty of crime in sth Armagh too and plenty of ‘republicans’ involved in it.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Out of curiosity, John, are these revelations part of current stoop policy? If they are, then victory is surely imminent.I notice that you have 3 o’s and 3 n’s in your name. Any significance?

  • ulsterfan

    Getting back to the subject—just compare what John Hume and SDLP did for Derry by bringing in North American investment and compare that to what SF has not done in WB.
    The comparison is stark and speaks for itself.


    What arrogance to say that those who speak out about the problems of North & West Belfast know nothing of these areas! That’s something the SF propoganda machine would churn out. I suppose Robin Livingstone & the ATN knew nothing of the areas either when they spoke about Sinn Fein & Adam’s constituency record? I live in one of these areas and work in the other so I know the problems that people live with and they feel very let down by their political representatives, particularly Sinn Fein. I know that there are many decent individual SF members but their record as a party is open to question. They have brought very little investment and jobs numbers and appear quite happy with the status quo where their main role is benefit and housing advisors. Of course there are many genuine people on benefits but as well as the needy there are as many swinging the lead who don’t want to work. I see the 20 year old mother with 3 or 4 kids hitting the local shop for lotto cards as soon as she gets her benefits and makes sure she has a sufficient supply of cigarettes (& pyjamas). Likewise we all witness the bar code moustache youths who swan up and down the Falls & Antrim Roads with their carry outs with NO intention of looking for work. There is a substantial chavvy loutish element in N & W Belfast with no respect for themselves let only others and they are totally ruining these areas; anyone who says otherwise is in total denial. Don’t preach to me as I see it every day. There are good people in these areas but their lives are being blighted by the dependant culture that Sinn Fein has nurtured and indeed wallows in. The party’s problem is that NOT everyone wants to be the perpetual victim with a chip on their shoulder. Many want to better themselves but the Shinners can’t and won’t break out of the MOPE bubble. They prefer to control their constituency and keeping them downtrodden and dependant on others suits Sinn Fein. There are votes in not having to think for yourself and blaming others FOREVER.

  • His name adds up to 666 by taking A=6, b= 12, and c=18 … to z=156

    Why does a=6, b=12…..z=156?

  • runciter

    Why does a=6, b=12…..z=156?

    More to the point, why do the moderators put up with his constant spamming of this forum?

  • dunreavynomore

    I see in today’s Irish Times that during the SDLP conference Briege Voyle represented the Ballymurphy familes who were victimes of the massacre in 1971 and also spoke of the murder of the parish priest and a mother of eight by the British. Seems to me that the SDLP were unusual in bringing victims from all sides together, Raymond McCord, his son murdered by the UDA, Breege Quinn, believes her son was murdered by the IRA, Briege Volyle representing Ballymurphy victims of the British army, Paddy Hill and Gerry Conlon, victims of the British judical and ‘security’ forces. Fair play to them for bringing these people together and giving them their say.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Out of curiosity, John, are these revelations part of current stoop policy? If they are, then victory is surely imminent.I notice that you have 3 o’s and 3 n’s in your name. Any significance?

    Victory is there to be grasped if only the leadership of the party realised that they no longer have to sacrifice the party’s interest for Sinn Fein.

    C O’L

    Why does a=6, b=12…..z=156?

    You’ll have to ask God that. Try putting a note up the chimney. But it does the job, doesn’t it?

  • Dunreavynomore,

    Could not disagree with you more. If paul Quinn deserves to right to be presumed innocent until found guilty, then so do his alleged attackers. A self-restraint you may consider pending the outcome of the police investigation.
    You state that the Quinns are a ‘non political’ family, if this is true why are they routinely represented by close family friend, one time SF councillor, and now dissedent republican jim mcallister?
    The point I was making was a valid one for all normal working people. That is, gangsters murdering each other wether in monaghan, dublin or belfast is less important to them than an attack of some description on an totally innocent elderly relative. That is a fact. Go out and do a basic straw poll if you wish.
    The vast majority of people, unfortunately for you, are intelligent enough to see how some terrible crimes get ignored, while others, for no moral reason other than an attempt to do some political point scoring, get huge media coverage.
    If you are so concerned about what is happening in S.Armagh, then join the customs&excise;or the PSNI!
    Or even better, why don’t you organise an live-aid styled bash to raise funds for poor criminal scumbags whom fall foul of their erstwhile murdering scumbag friends!!

  • C O’L

    Why does a=6, b=12…..z=156?

    You’ll have to ask God that. Try putting a note up the chimney. But it does the job, doesn’t it?

    Gee, that’s a constructive answer. I think you of all people should think twice before ridiculing the faith of others. I am asking you a question as to the source of your equation – it seems to me that you have no more rationale than Douglas Adams when he arrived at the Meaning of Life=42.

    What evidence is there that a does in fact equal 6? Or that Z=156? You seem to have built an entire belief system on this equation and it seems flimsy to me

  • John O’Connell,

    I think you may be on to something with this, Gerry Adams is the antichrist lark! Many years ago I stood behind him in a queue in a chip shop and I did notice, just behind his ear, obscured by his mop of hair and beard, was a very small, circular tatoo. I could not make out at the time what it was, but am now sure it read 666!!!
    I would be quite prepared to swear an oath to the truth of this on my very own, highly revered medieval book of witchcraft!!

  • C O’L

    What evidence is there that a does in fact equal 6? Or that Z=156?

    Evidence is a scientific concept, faith is not.

    A=6 comes directly from the Biblical concept that man’s number is 6 and the steps of each letter by 6 thereafter follow this factor.

    The Antichrist is a man, is representative of the male, and as any follower of the Gospel of the Empire, even small empires, realises that the man worshipper is also the “woman is inferior” dogmatist, whereas women are superior under Christianity.

    Nietzsche was a follower of the Gospel of the Empire and he suggested in his work that Men are for fighting and women were for making babies for the warriors. He was an inspiration of the ultimate empire worshipper, Adolf Hitler.

    Nietzsche condemned Christianity as worthless, as a wrecker of the Roman Empire, and of all empires in his work The Antichrist which was how he felt about himself.

    Gerry Adams is the warrior Antichrist, whose values rejected Christ and who continues to mislead his people into believing that an Irish Empire is in fact superior to the unionist’s British Empire, the precise reason why Christ rejected empire – because these two competing notions are absurd.

  • Earnan

    Hitler never read much Nietchze, by his own admission.

    from “Hitler’s Table Talk”

  • New Yorker

    Paul Kielty

    Mrs. Quinn again stated in public that a dozen provos murdered her son. People believe Mrs. Quinn and not your lame excuse making. Once the cops lock up the murderers, there will be less crime in South Armagh, which you seem to decry.

  • Earnan

    I am no expert on Nietzsche in the history sense. I am only interested in his values.

    But I understand that Hitler was a great admirer of Nietzsche, making numerous visits to the Nietzsche museum, and using his concepts in Mien Kampf, things like Superman, Master race, and even the notion of a great German empire.

  • New Yorker,

    Good, then she can pass this information on to the PSNI, so let them get on with it!!

    By the way, don’t know what you mean about ‘lame excuse making’. I made no excuses for anyone. I have been very clear that I care not one iota for the deaths of scumbag gangsters at the hands of their scumbag gangster friends. I care about normal, decent, law-abiding victims of crime. Not wantabees, trying to forge illigal careers, who get their fingers burnt!!!

    Are we clear?????

  • New Yorker

    Paul Kielty

    There you go again with “scumbag gangsters”. By attempting to portray the Paul Quinn murder as a falling out amongst gangsters you are indulging in lame excuse making yet again. What is important is that a 21 year old was murdered by a gang of thick provos.

    Mrs Quinn has spoken with the PSNI and Garda as have many, many others. Hopefully there will be some developments soon.

  • kensei

    A=6 comes directly from the Biblical concept that man’s number is 6 and the steps of each letter by 6 thereafter follow this factor.

    Dude, it’s “if man is 5 then the devil is 6″.

    And God is 7.

  • Kensei

    Are you on something?

    Man’s number = 666

    This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666. (Rev 13:18)

  • kensei

    I speak only the Truth, John.

  • Kensei

    Good song.