‘Church helped reduce Troubles’ retaliation’

The News letter has an article on an interview with Professor Henry Patterson conducted by the Church of Ireland Gazette. Professor Patterson has been researching the border Protestants of Co. Fermanagh; some extracts of his comments are below the fold.

“One thing that strikes me, particularly in Fermanagh, is the lack of tit-for-tat retaliation. There’s very, very little of that. It was a very restrained response.”

Prof Patterson said that he believed the Church as an institution, but also Christian values, had played a role in restraining victims from seeking retribution.

“People’s religious values play a role. Some of the people I’ve talked to have said this, in terms of the sanctity of human life, respect for law and order, authority and issues like that.

It’s fashionable now to go on about the UDR being infiltrated and collusion and all these things.

I think that in somewhere like Fermanagh one of the functions of the UDR and traditional leadership of the Unionist Party was actually to ensure that people didn’t respond in a tit-for-tat way; that they left the response to the security forces – even at a time when a lot of people thought the security forces weren’t protecting them enough.

There is a tradition in border areas and in particular in Fermanagh and south Tyrone of service in the security forces, in the B Specials and then after 1970 in the Ulster Defence Regiment and in the Reserve of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

Because many of these people were part time it made them easy targets and right from the beginning the IRA picked on them and targeted them.”

As the News Letter notes many of these experiences are mirrored in the CoI’s Hard Gospel report “Whatever you say: say nothing.” which I have blogged on before.

  • Silverline

    Turgon

    I have to say I find most of your blogs and comments to be based on rumour; for example there was the claim about the Irish Language act it did not happen! There was the claim Sinn Fein would be in charge of policing and Justice did not happen! And the claim the new football stadium would be at the Maze it did not happen. I find it hard to believe your party also stated they would share power with Sinn Fein in a council styled model and your leader claimed that not all the St Andrews Agreement was bad, you really are contradicting yourself a lot on different issues. Your party leader also helped to negotiate the St Andrews Agreement and his finger prints are all over it. I believe your party will get around the 20,000 – 30,000 mark, if they do your party will be to blame for Sinn Fein topping the poll and the possibility of the SDLP taking the second seat.

  • Turgon

    Silverline,

    Why do you want to turn a blog about an academic’s analysis of Fermanagh Protestants during the troubles into an attack on the TUV?

    Any chance of commenting on the blog or Professor Patterson’s remarks?

  • Silverline

    Turgon

    Blogs are for talking and if other issues get brought up tough, are you trying to stop the freedom of speech, god help us if that what the TUV offer, it is an observation you seem motivated by trying to destabilize and scare people you offer no alternative except to bring us back to the past?

  • Turgon

    Silverline,
    There will be multiple opportunities to debate the election (I may well do one today). I am not trying to block freedom of speech: what we are trying to do is ensure that all debates are not dragged onto one topic. Now do you have any comment about what happened to Fermanagh Protestants and how they did not retaliate despite all the sectarian murders that were visited on them?

    I am happy to fight with you on multiple issues as I do with fair_deal, bigger picture etc. However, on this issue I expected support from unionists: not an attempt (even if accidental) to deflect attention away from the fact that the IRA ran a sectarian murder campaign in Fermanagh and the Protestant population remained extremely restrained. It is also an interesting observation that Prof Patterson points out that despite the current fashion for trying to suggest vast collusion, the UDR etc. were actually forces which helped prevent loyalist murders.