“a somewhat more moral position”

Eamonn McCann’s opposition to the presence in Londonderry of US-based company Raytheon has seen him in court previously, where he was acquitted of criminal damage. But he has taken a more measured approach in the Belfast Telegraph today. Starting with the recently released notes by then DETI minister Ian Pearson of a meeting between Raytheon management and the SDLP’s John Hume, he looks at the complicated relationship both the SDLP and Sinn Féin have had with the company – epitomised by this statement by Sinn Féin in 2006.

However, in light of the revelations that Raytheon has been involved in manufacturing military applications in Derry then Sinn Féin will be calling at the next meeting of Derry city Council for Council to reaffirm and implement its adopted position – that Raytheon confine itself to “civil” development work.

From the Belfast Telegraph article.

There is nothing complicated, on the other hand, about the attitude of the DUP or of the sole Ulster Unionist city councillor, Mary Hamilton. They take the view that it’s been clear from the outset that Raytheon would be and has been producing defence equipment for British and other forces at its Derry plant, and they do not find this in any way troublesome. Many might see this as, all things considered, a somewhat more moral position than that of their nationalist counterparts.

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  • HGW XX/7

    Mr McCann seems to have an issue with Raytheon’s production of military kit. Is his argument against such equipment based on its utility in force confrontations?

    I wonder because he appears to be comfortable with the tactics of those who violently trashed Raytheon’s offices.

    Philosophically is the violence associated with firing a missile somehow less defensible than firing a computer out of a window?

    Is it about scale, or is some violence ‘good’ and other ‘bad’?

  • John O’Connell

    First, to deal with Eamon McCann

    [Play the ball – edited moderator]

    Secondly, to deal with the issue, it can never be more moral to simply support the rule of violence in the world than to try to curtail its excesses in your constituency. Our culture in the west has a perverted set of values and unforunately it does suit people like the unionists, with their extraordinary attachment to right-wing dogma caused by their continued justification of the Plantation, to have things this way. BUt there is a pattern in Eamon McCann’s article in that Raytheon perceive any sympathetic comment as support for their position. It’s a bit like the leper thinking that a gentle touch means he can come to tea.

  • Dec

    It’s certainly less morally-ambiguous than Eamonn McCann’s views, which if they ever came to fruition, would lead to a large number of his fellow citizens out of a job whilst Raytheon carried out their work elsewhere.

  • John O’Connell

    HWG xx7

    To take your point a little further. You ask if it is acceptable violence to throw a computer out a window. I would also ask if it is acceptable violence to ready your political organisation for power on the back of any instability the IRA can create in Ireland as Eamon McCann urged when leader of the Socialist Workers Movement in the 1980’s? Is Eamon’s real objection to capitalist violence only to do with scale? This would hardly be a moral position, and as you may see from his article, Eamon thinks he knows all about moral positions.

  • dub

    Eamon is becoming more of an apologist for unionism and northern ireland every day.. perhaps he could join UCUNF?

  • J Kelly

    I don’t know what JOC wrote about Eamonn McCann and to be honest i dont want to know but i have question for the mods is it only Gerry Adams that JOC is allowed to abuse on this site.

  • TerryD

    Of course the bold Eamon may well have problems with violence in general and not just Raytheon but if he does it clearly isn’t evident in the company he and his fellow protesters keep.

    The very public involvement of some of Derry’s leading dissidents in this campaign, people who have repeatedly stated their own views on violence, doesn’t seem to bother Eamon in the slightest. Then again, if we’re ever going to overthrow global capitalism someone is going to have to manufacture the weapons.

  • John O’Connell

    J Kelly

    The begrudgers and go forth and procreate comes to mind.

    In any case I am not abusing Gerry Adams when giving him his proper title as Antichrist. It is to simply put a title on what he actually believes like an eye for an eye and the rejection of the message of Jesus Christ, which JC calls “a sword”. That sword is in competition with Gerry Adams sword of violence, which he still justifies and glorifies and therefore a fairminded person will regard the challenger to Christ’s throne as the Antichrist.

    I’m sorry, moderator, but he asked for it.


    if we’re ever going to overthrow global capitalism someone is going to have to manufacture the weapons

    Capitalism is founded on violence and is the indisputable champion of violence. It simply will not be overtrown through violence. Only when man realises that the justice he seeks can only be delivered in the defeat of violence and not in the validation of violent methods so routed in capitalism, will he realise that non-violence is the way.

    I know it sounds so unfashionable these days, but Jesus Christ gave us the way to break the hold of capitalism founded on violence and until we respect that in a radical way we will remain prisoners of the ways of capitalism. The opposite of capitalism is Christianity not state communism. Capitalism is a part of human nature and can only ever be curtailed as the SDLP did over Raytheon in Derry. But the system can be beaten by individual efforts.

  • holylands res

    off topic but….

    BBC reporting that the man arrested following an attack on a Belfast church is the son of leading QC, Adrian Colton.
    Windows were smashed at City Church in the Holylands area. It was used to shelter Roma families who fled their homes after racist attacks.

    Does anybody know if this is the same Adrian Colton, who stood for the SDLP in Assembly elections and had been talked up as a saviour to the SDLP problems at a recent dinner to honour john hume. I seem to recall he was referred to as the leader of the SDLPs “young turks” in the 80’s?

  • Jo


    Yes it is.

    A friend of mine lived in a Stranmillis house he and Alex A had stayed in the previous year, in the early 80s.

    The state of how they had left that house is best imagined than described. It would seem there is genetic inheritance. 🙂

  • stinkermoloney

    In fairness, in the current climate, any employment is good employment

  • John O’Connell


    As it says in the Tayto ad, “There’s always one.”

  • John O’Connell


    Notify me of follow-up comments?

    Is this facility down at the moment?

  • Dave

    “Many might see this as, all things considered, a somewhat more moral position than that of their nationalist counterparts.” – Eamonn McCann

    McCann means ‘moral’ in the sense of the DUP not lying about their level of support for Raytheon’s involvement in the arms trade rather than meaning that support for the arms trade is moral. The DUP, unlike the SDLP, had no motive to lie – they would, no doubt, have done so it there was a self-serving need.

    Is there really a need for the SDLP to lie now? Not as much as there was a decade ago. The opposition of nationalists to Raytheon’s involvement in the arms trade is more likely to have been based on opposition to the British army rather than related to the arms trade, per se. Now that support among nationalists is growing (being engineered) for the British army, nationalists would find that they are less hostile to Raytheon’s involvement in the arms trade than they were before – without realising the connection but rather attributing it an economic imperative to create jobs (which also existed a decade ago but wasn’t seen as sufficient to overcome the now waning objection).

    For someone as principled and as committed on this issue as Eamonn McCann, the self-serving agenda of nationalists coupled with a huge capacity for self-deception and duplicity must very disappointing.