Eames Bradley group fight back?

One of the members of the Eames Bradley group has accused unionist leaders of being “dishonest” and “almost duplicitous” in their reactions to the Eames Bradley report. The BBC are quoting Jarlath Burns as saying:
“A lot of our politicians came up with a lot of the ideas which we had but felt that they couldn’t really present them publically or couldn’t support us publically,”
“One or two politicians said ‘I know and I understand what you are doing in this report but I can’t support this publically because I’d take a tremendous hit for it.”
“Individually we found politicians very helpful, but once they get into this thing called the political party, very often they have to hide behind the policies and rhetoric of that party.”

It is interesting that Mr. Burns seems to be mounting something of a fight back after all the negative publicity (by no means all of it from unionists) over the report. If Mr. Burns is correct of course it is dishonest of the politicians. The problem is that there is no way for us to establish who is being dishonest here. Any unionist who privately supported the commission’s proposals would be unlikely to come forward and admit such. Equally of course Mr. Burns and the other members of the Eames Bradley group could be seen as having reasons to try to spread around the blame for the report. I guess it is a matter of who one wants to believe: it certainly looks as if someone is being less than entirely honest.


Jim Allister has called for the Eames/Bradley Commission to “Name and shame duplicitous politicans:”

“Today’s allegation from Jarlath Burns of the Eames/Bradley Commission that prominent Unionist politicians, who have publicly protested about the contents of the report, were supportive in private, is disturbing and a further blow to the morale of the innocent victims. It is appalling if some, for the sake of public consumption and approval, have trotted out condemnation while all the time encouraging Eames/Bradley down this path. This truly would be duplicitous. I call on Eames/Bradley to name and shame those dabbling in such hypocrisy.

It does remind one of the irrefutable fact that last year when the Assembly was legislating for the Victims Commission no attempt was made, by the DUP – who tell us they control Stormont – to amend the immoral definition of “victim” which governs our legislation. Stormont has the power to change it, but because the Victims Commission was the product of a DUP/Sinn Fein deal, shamefully, no such attempt was made. Actions do indeed speak louder than words.”

Mr. Burns may have thought he was helping the situation with his remarks on Sunday Sequence. There is a danger of the reverse. As fair_deal said below it is probably time for Jarlath Burns to “put up or shut up.”

This author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.

  • William

    Jarlath Burns should name the ‘one or two’ Unionist politicians, if what he says is true. It’s quite amazing that with a mention of ‘one or two’ he can’t be 100% sure, which suggests to me it is a ‘red herring’.

    No sane Unionist could agree to any proposal that equates terrorists of whatever variety, with the innocent victims of terrorism.

  • Turgon
  • Silver Line

    I dont belive that any Unionist would have supported the proposals I think the reaction that has been received over the report has led some in the Eames – Bradley team to be back tracking in panick?

  • CBGB

    It will certainly be interesting to see the response of some of the loudest unionist voices to Burn’s comments. Silence? Or alternatively equally loud calls for the names of these Lundys?

    In any case, there is no reason to doubt Burns in this regard. I doubt that he would have the full support of the rest of the consultative group if he was lying. Rather I suspect that the Eames-Bradley group, confronted with the hypocrisy and lack of backbone of some unionist ‘leaders’ have decided to stand up for themselves after suffering torrents of publicity-seeking abuse. Whilst Burns’ comments pale into comparison against the strategic leaks – often to the DUP – that have been a hallmark of NI politics they at least show a newfound awareness of strategic pr which was previously lacking in the delivery of the report and how the subsequent furore was handled…And again it would be interesting to know where the original information regarding the £12,000 payment, which surfaced early and went on to dominate the debate, came from!

  • Comrade Stalin

    What ? Unionists using victim politics for political ends ? Who’d a thunk it ?

    It’s not reasonable to ask them to name the politicians who gave their views in private, and presumably in confidence.

  • iluvni

    I wonder if Burns can tell us all a little more of the ‘understanding’ he let the cat out of the bag about between the GAA and Sinn Fein with regard to the Maze site.
    One would almost have got the feeling that some politicians/associations were being less than honest about their true intentions with regard to that project too.


    Believe me Jarlath Burns is NOT one to make these things up. He’s as straight a talker as you will meet or hear and that’s why he is on this panel. He is destined for high things and some even say a future GAA President. A very honest guy who calls it as he sees it and I wouldn’t expect him to name names as he’s not like that but he’s obviously been stung by the hypocrisy of some Unionist politicians. Unionism, duplicity and double standards? Mmmmmm…….we haven’t had that before especially when it comes to Loyalist violence and paramilitaries HAVE WE?

  • Peter O Hare

    Jarlath burns is as astute an operator as there is. Highly intelligent and sharp, he has had a busy week with the report and then orgainsing the celebrations in Croke Park where he holds high office. I’m sure he sat back this week intending to say nothing but couldnt stand the political dishonesty of those who said one thing to his face and went out with another spin when the report came out. It’s interesting that he appeared on that programme given the amount of theological heads on that group who are regulars on Sunday sequence. There must also be a story in that too. This one is bubbling under the surface. I’d love to know also why he was on the group and what his ultimate goal is.

  • fair_deal


    “It’s not reasonable to ask them to name the politicians who gave their views in private, and presumably in confidence.”

    The bounds of reasonableness were broken and by Jarlath Burns himself when he made his nudge nidge wink wink comments. Its put up or shut up territory.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Simple question: at what stage did Jarlath Burns tell the Unionist Politicians about the £12,000?


  • Archie Purple

    We’ll see how strong a ‘fight-back’ the Eames / Bradley cowards if they have the courage to meet the relatives of the murdered that I work with. The invitation is out to them and we all await their reply.

    If the launch is anything to go by, Eames and Bradley skulked off the stage and didn’t answer press queries after their digusting launch, as they were supposed to do.

    Likewise, their office closed down that day and queries on their webpage comment form are not being answered, so it looks like they can’t stand the heat, so they’ve got out of the kitchen.

    But they can’t escape….Eames needn’t show his sour face again in Protestant gatherings and as for Bradley and the rest of them, Pity the fools !


    There is obvious hurt and deep emotion still out there but I am VERY sceptical as to the reasons some Unionists and their ‘Victims’ spokespersons use it. Is it for justice and truth or is it because the thought of sharing power with Catholics is STILL a step too far? The latter is the real reason I believe and the antics of some of those Unionists at the Europa was shocking. They TOTALLY refused to recognise or acknowledge that the Catholic community, outside the Republican movement, had suffered greviously in the conflict and WHY would anyone wear a sectarian divise symbol like an Orange sash? This ‘it was only we Unionists’ who suffered really cuts deep and creates great anger within the Nationalist community who suffered over a 1000 dead victims and even more thousands of injured and maimed. It is a fact that the average innocent Catholic citizen had a greater chance of being murdered by the British State and it’s Loyalist death squad satellites than ANY other community or group AND Unionism doesn’t want to hear that. It muddies the lies and statistics they peddle at these launches. I wish Unionism would put a tenth of the effort and emotion into decommissioning the illegal murderous weapons and explosive devices STILL hidden within their community.

  • John East Belfast


    Cedric Wilson is as about as representative of the unionist couumnity as Archbishop Eames is so I wouldnt build a case around either of them.

    The bottom line is I have yet to find anyone from the unionist community – and I consider myself on the moderate wing – to accept this across the board £12,000 payment. Indeed the general generous view is that Eames has taken leave of his senses.

    As for all this agonising over who is and isnt a victim it was very simple.

    ie anyone who died in the Troubles and at that time was acknowledged as a member of a proscribed organisation or a political organisation that publicly approved of the actions of the proscribed organisations is not a victim for any recognition purposes by the State.

    it really couldnt be any simpler than that and if Eames was involved in a state sponosred group that couldnt reach that conclusion then he would have been better to step away from it at that time.

    This has arisen because of the Group’s desire to be all things to all men and Eames has seriously undermined the rule of law and those who stood to uphold it for 30 plus years.

    My view on terrorist victims is that just as we wouldnt hold the relative responsible for the actions of their kin then they should not at the same time expect the state to feel any obligation to acknowledge them – it works both ways.

    The State’s duty is to recognise the relatives of the victims who stood to defend the rule of law and the existence of the state itself a well as those innocent citisens/civilians who died whom it was the state’s duty to defend and protect.

    All this hand ringing and agonising is pathetic.

    As for Burns’ comments yes he should put up or shut up but a couple of comments from a couple of individuals without knowing the context is a meaningless red herring.

  • 2050


    Couldn’t of put it better myself ! I also wonder about the FAIRS need for Sash’s & Lambeg’s on other occasions ?? No doubt there representatives follow Slugger and could post a clear satisfactory explanation?

    The silence is deafening from unionists & the media on loyalist decommissioning? Quite a contrast from their position on IRA decommissioning but not surprising .


    John East Belfast

    I hear and acknowledge some of what you are saying. I have worked, played football and socialised with the most decent Protestant people you could ever hope to meet. We have had discussions about this and their views are NOT unlike yours i.e. The Northern State was legitimate, Stormont was the official government and all the associate security bodies had the right to defend that position. I tried to argue that Irish Catholic Nationalists DID NOT hold to this position and many of the subsequent Republican actions were a reaction to this myopic Protestant Unionist standpoint. Basically it is a battle of two ideoligies and one of them must eventually prevail if we are to have political stability. I believe the Unionist historian Dr. A. T. Q. Stewart has ALWAYS held to this position too and I would agree. There can NEVER really be accommodation while two polar views clash. I think that evolution will take care of this as Nationalists will eventually constitute a majority in the six counties.

  • John East Belfast


    This wasnt a “Protestant Unionist standpoint” – it was the view of the international community and the legitimacy and existance of Northern Ireland was enshrined in international law.

    The IRA were considered a terrorist organisation everywhere other than odious Soviet and revolutionary regimes who had their own objectives of destabilising the West.

    Indeed most importantly, from an Irish Republican viewpoint, the ROI treated them the same and imprisoned – and still does – their members.

    Individuals who feel aggrieved do not have the right to take up arms and commit murder – that is the only ideology that is worth protecting and why it is so important for it to prevail in NI in case another misguided group some time in the future take their lead from it.

    For instance taking your grasping at straws and sectarian solution for your 32 county separatist Ireland – a Catholic majority – then if you say what was wrong was right now then dont be surprised if future unionists take up arms to over throw a legitimate vote for such an entity.

  • Dewi

    “dont be surprised if future unionists take up arms to over throw a legitimate vote for such an entity.”

    Interesting JEB – would that happen do you think? What sort of settlement would prevent it?

  • “dont be surprised if future unionists take up arms to over throw a legitimate vote for such an entity.”

    It’s not as if unionists have given up their arms in the first place. Between the former UDR men objecting to giving up their personal protection weapons to their brothers in arms in the UDA/UFF/UVF/LVF/OV etc not giving up their arsenals, some of which was procured through the agency of the DUP backed Third Force….

    I don’t doubt one word from Jarlath Burns on this issue.

  • John East Belfast


    I am only saying that they would draw legitimacy from any under mining of the law now.

    ie For thirty years (by and large) indiviuals were dealt with under due process and considered as criminals under the law – national and international – including our nearest neighbour in the ROI.

    If via these proposals we equate, in the State’s eyes, that the aforementioned criminals were anything but then if Slugger is here in 20 plus years time there will be people on here drawing parallels for whatever campaign has begun then.

    Of course that might not be just unionists as I have mentioned above but if partition is still here – and even with a catholic majority there is no end in sight – then the post 2016 IRA could re-emerge.

    Any equivocation by the State on the illegitimacy of the last 30 years will be a poor inheritance for our descendants.

    That is why it is so right to draw a line under what happened here – yes a lot of people and their families suffered and yes there are even misguided and extenuating circumstances as reasons why people got involved but that is why we had the Belfast Agreement and associated prisoner releases.

    However we NEVER acknowledged any legitimacy to those people and what they did and this levelling all victims by the State is a step too far and is both an insult to the past and present and a bad precedent for the future.

  • Turgon

    I agree entirely as it appears does Jim Allister (see Update) it is time for Mr. Burns to name names or else his remarks will be regarded by many as spin without substance.

  • dunreavynomore

    Peter O Hare wonders why Jarlath Burns “was on that group and what his ultimate goal is”
    There is little doubt that the two governments appoint people who suit their purpose to panels. Jarlath was probably picked because of his GAA, Sth Armagh, Gaelic speaking background and the fact that he has canvassed for S.F. in past elections will have done him no harm either. As to Peter wondering what Jarlath’s ‘ultimate goal’ is, who knows any more than what is Bradley’s ultimate goal in all this.

  • Dublin voter

    Lurig: “Basically it is a battle of two ideoligies and one of them must eventually prevail if we are to have political stability. I believe the Unionist historian Dr. A. T. Q. Stewart has ALWAYS held to this position too and I would agree. There can NEVER really be accommodation while two polar views clash.”

    Lurig and JEB, I am enjoying your debate. I can’t agree with Lurig above. That to me is a resignation to a state of unending conflict. Neither of these ideologies/polar views can ever prevail, in my view. The answer has to be some kind of compromise which recognises the legitimacy of both views and some kind of governmental dispensation in which people holding both views feel that their views and identity are acknowledged and respected. Do I sound a bit like John Hume?
    I think the Good Friday Agreement was a good start to getting to that place.
    It has to be about some kind of joint authority over Northern Ireland in which nationalists can be happy that their Irish identity is recognised and unionists that their British identity is recognised.
    I don’t believe that a Catholic majority in Northern Ireland is inevitable but even if it does come about, I don’t think it should automatically result in a united Ireland and severance of the British link. That would be akin to the Northern Ireland of c1922-c1972 but with the shoe on the other foot, so to speak.
    Even if a majority in NI vote for a united Ireland, I believe that the British government should still have a major say in Northern Ireland affairs so that the unionist people can support the new dispensation.

  • fair_deal


    I veer towards spin plus nice way to encourage some Unionist in-fighting to distract from the dross in the report. Eames kept prattling on about a Unionist politician recognising that a mother’s tears are the same. This is a simple statement of fact about grief but it is being used as a justification for something radically different.

  • edward

    “dont be surprised if future unionists take up arms to over throw a legitimate vote for such an entity.”

    By your own definition wouldnt that make them criminals and terrorists and therefore subject to such inhumane treatment as the catholics suffered.

    See how much you enjoy Ghettoization, exclusion, internemnt and torture for a 5 or 6 decades

  • edward

    forgot about the riumphalist parades every weekend

  • Mr Tumnus

    Jarlath Burns has demonstrated a distinct lack of resilience if , as has been argued here. he made his comments in response to the storm of protest from unionists.

    Such a ‘fight back’ reaction perhaps indicates that he was less than suitable to have been a member of the Eames Bradley panel in the first place.

    Whatever the truth of his position it is now time for him to tell what he knows, if anything. To fail to do so will lead to the conclusion that his was a petulant partisan intervention. This will further erode the wider public confidence in Eames Bradley.

  • John East Belfast


    “By your own definition wouldnt that make them criminals and terrorists”

    yes it would but not by Lurig’s definition which is the point I was making

  • harpo

    What is most worrying about what Burns said is the claim that politicians spoke to the Consultative Group on the Past confidentially. Burns said that himself.

    So much for speaking confidentially if this member of the group feels entitled to start saying things like this.

    We have to face the fact that this group is a farce. They have come up with idiotic proposals, and now that there is a widespread backlash a member of the group comes out and betrays confidences.

    The amateurishness of the group is proven by this member – Burns – feeling entitled to break what was supposed to be said in confidence.

    I’d say that Burns needs to name names not for the purpose of naming and shaming, but to prove that what he says is actually true. Given his background this statement of his is probably just an excuse for him to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of ordinary unionists, who he hopes will question unionist leaders.

  • harpo

    “It’s not reasonable to ask them to name the politicians who gave their views in private, and presumably in confidence.”


    To follow up on that point, is it equally reasonable to share these supposed views at all, given that they were given in confidence?

    I’d say not, but Burns went ahead and broke confidences in a wholesale fashion.

    He has already broken confidences, but he did it in such a way that suits him and the other members of the stupid group. he gets to attack unionists in general, without having to bother naming names.

    Since he has already broken confidences, let him prove what he claims. Until he does so, we can only assume that he has an anti-unionist agenda. And is lying.

  • harpo

    “A very honest guy who calls it as he sees it and I wouldn’t expect him to name names as he’s not like that”


    A nice try at defence, but this supposedly honest guy has already broken the confidences of some people by saying this.

    If he doesn’t name names then he is in the position of having broken confidences in general as opposed to specifically. The only reason that he wouldn’t name names at this point is that he has been caught lying.

    “He is destined for high things and some even say a future GAA President.”

    I’m sure this sort of tactic will serve him well as he tries to achieve that position.

    “but he’s obviously been stung by the hypocrisy of some Unionist politicians”

    What hypocricy? Until he can prove it with specifics all we have are his claims here.

    If you ask me this was just a very amateurish reaction to criticism from unionists. If what he says is true then he is guilty of betraying confidences. If what he says is false then he is lying.

    I’d like to know which it is.

  • harpo

    “The bounds of reasonableness were broken and by Jarlath Burns himself when he made his nudge nidge wink wink comments. Its put up or shut up territory.”

    Fair Deal:

    Well said.

    Burns broke whatever confidences there were when he made these accusations.

    He needs to prove what he claims, and not hide behind his comment that what was said to him was said in confidence. We can already see that he has broken any promises that were made about confidentiality.

  • harpo

    “I veer towards spin plus nice way to encourage some Unionist in-fighting to distract from the dross in the report.”

    Fair Deal:

    Exactly. Mostly the latter. This guy is a Shinner and this is classic Shinner nonsense. Drop a hint that is bound to stir up trouble while acting all pious about confidentiality.