Faces of the West Belfast past, now part of culture

As you get older, you have to get used to the idea of real life experiences repeating as something called culture. It’s always an anxious moment, waiting for the re-enactment or recall. Will vivid memories of the old experiences come rushing back or will they return back embalmed. in the oul’ Oirish way? Day after day in the old Belfast Magistrate’s Court, solicitor Paddy McGrory (senior) solemnly intoned little speeches as to why his clients should get bail. Every now and again, wonder of wonders, the beak would half agree with him as bail periods stretched into many months. But in the end, sometimes with a sorrowful shake of the head from the magistrate, it was back to Crumlin Road jail for your man. There was much more to McGrory, the SAS Gibraltar killings, supergrasses and all that, but a great deal of the routine must have been very mundane. He was respected across the divide and the smear “Provo lawyer” never stuck. It was McGrory’s key achievement to provide legal defences for terrorists that could be respected by his natural political opposites. At times, this was one of few fine threads that held society together. President McAleese’s rather daring choice of Paddy as the subject of a Feile an phobial lecture is keenly awaited by her admirers and critics alike. As is another celebration of a troubles creation, the people’s black taxi, this time as play and theatre. Can Two Roads West match the real life drama of many a black taxi ride? Reviews of both events, please!

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

Upcoming Slugger Events

The Mccluskey Civil Rights Summer School – Guest Speaker Bernadette McAliskey
Sat, 18 Aug 2018 |  Dungannon
Book your free place…

Inez McCormack Civil Rights Women’s Conference
10am, Saturday, 8 September 2018 | Public Records Office Belfast
Book your free place…

Madge Davison Lecture – ‘Inequality and Unfairness in 2018: What Would Madge Have Said?
7pm, Tues 25 Sept 2018 | Queen’s University Belfast
Book your free place…

The End Of Catholic Ireland?
7pm, Tues 6 Nov 2018 |  Belfast
Book your free place…