1981 Hunger Strike: Deconstructing McGuinness

A couple of analogies to start. And then an extended deconstruction of McGuinness’ article from the Irish News.

Picture Gerry Adams as manager of the team, Danny Morrison as Captain. Bik McFarlane is a star player. Gibney is a coach. Imagine the Irish News special as the Cup final. The manager, who never gave public interviews all season, has disappeared. The Captain has absented himself from the field, and taken his star player with him (probably after consulting with Coach Gibney). Reserve player Laurence McKeown, who has performed well in the past, and heretofore unseen on the field McGuinness are the main defence. And that is where they spend the game – stuck in their own box, not even able to contemplate scoring a goal of their own, and barely able to keep the other team from repeatedly netting the ball. Now, knowing they were going into a losing game, it may have been sound strategy to absent the key players from the field at the crucial moment, in order have a ready-made excuse for the coming disaster, but it will do nothing to mitigate what is bound to be a resounding defeat. At the start of the season they were the favourites – but anyone who still has money on them now has woefully misread the underdog.
Where are Morrison and McFarlane? At this point, if we were to believe what they have been saying all along, they should be easily sinking it into the net now, shouldn’t they? Instead, their absence hands a victory to their opposition. “Your silence will not protect you,” the saying goes. Speaking of silence, President-For-Life Adams is still staying schtum on the whole thing. A mixed blessing, given his increasing predilection for inappropriate flights of fancy – but an indictment of the worst aspects of his leadership. The buck stops with him, yet he is quite content to pass it until some loyal dimwit falls on his sword for him. (Any takers on who it will be first?)

The strategy of the Adams cadre has been to bury the story at all costs. But, like the Disappeared risen from the bogs and beaches, this issue will not go away. Bits of bone and matter continue to surface, grisly bits at a time. Their presence and significance cannot be denied. With forensic examination, the bodies are being reassembled and identified. And so too the finger of culpability will find its mark. Those who pay attention to the details, however seemingly mundane or trite, know the significance of each find and can read where the evidence is taking them. The full body of the truth will not appear all at the once; it may never appear 100% conclusively. It’s a slow, sometimes plodding process. It’s been 5 years since the publication of Blanketmen, which was little more than a marking on a map of a remembered grave. Those expecting the full skeleton to sit up and point a bony finger will be forever disappointed. Those who have the ability to use logic and reason, however, understand how far the excavation has come, and how close it is to its conclusion.

We’ll turn our attention now to Martin McGuinness’ piece in the Irish News. The current Deputy First Minister, famous for being one of the Chuckle Brothers alongside former arch-nemesis Ian Paisley, and infamous in certain circles for denouncing Republicans as traitors from the steps of Stormont alongside the Chief Constable of the PSNI, was at the time of the hunger strikes, as referenced in Ed Moloney’s Secret History, the Chief of Staff of the IRA.

So it would be reasonable to expect an insight to what went on in July 1981 with some heft to it. After all, a person in such a position would be more than a mere runner between players in Derry and Belfast. In fact such a person might be able to shed light on more than just the events of July and perhaps – staying within the hunger strike framework – beyond. For example, he might be in a position to shed light on how exactly the contact between Thatcher’s spooks and the IRA was revived during the second hunger strike. Denis Bradley has previously hinted at this, claiming variously that this contact began in a room in Derry as far back as early May.

“I was actually in the room with Robert McLarnon [senior MI5 officer] and IRA leaders when a phone call came from a European summit during the hunger strike. Thatcher was at a European summit but kept in contact with us by phone. An offer was made to republicans to end the hunger strike; it was actually a better deal than the one they eventually settled for. At the time the republican movement was not in control, it was the prisoners who were in control and the leadership could not take on the prisoners. As far as I remember the offer was made after the second hunger striker, Francis Hughes, died. What we were being told was that this was the Prime Minister’s last offer on the hunger strike.” – Denis Bradley, quoted in The Guardian, 17 October 1999

“John Devereux, who died later in the Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash, was meant to have accompanied Robert McLarnon to Derry for the meeting. Instead Robert came on his own. I was in the room when Martin McGuinness said ‘Was this authorised by the British Prime Minister?’ To which McLarnon said ‘Yes’ .” – Denis Bradley, quoted in The Guardian, 17 October 1999

Francis Hughes died on the 12th of May – 2 months before the July offer that preceded Joe McDonnell’s death.

Was a substantial offer made to the IRA leadership as represented by Martin McGuinness before the July offer? Why were the prisoners never told of the Derry meetings between McGuinness and the spooks?

This was after the election and death of Bobby Sands; the British were under enormous pressure; archive material makes clear that Thatcher wanted above all else an end to the hunger strike. This is borne out by the lengths she went to with the back channel negotiations. Even Adams says of her during this time, “she was no stranger to expediency”. Politically, if they were going to make a substantial offer, that would have been an opportune time.

Denis Bradley fleshes out the background behind the negotiations and the private positions of the IRA and Thatcher in this quote from Liam Clarke’s biography of Martin McGuinness:

“My other partners in the Link got very annoyed because they thought a deal was on the table long before it was on the table and the reason it didn’t happen was because the Provos gave away their authority to the hunger strikers themselves – they were far too emotionally involved and in no position to make any judgements because the Provos appeared to hand the whole thing over to them. As far as I can make out from our guys, Thatcher would have made a deal quite early on despite what she said in public.” Denis Bradley, quoted in From Guns to Government, page 130

This makes sense taken in conjunction with Bradley’s comments in 2006,

“but [Thatcher] made an offer of doing the settlement basically on the grounds of what was ultimately settled for, and the person who was on the phone, involved in this linkage, said to the person from the republican movement: “I think you have to take this offer. You should take this offer.” And I think the answer was, no, I think it has to be the prisoners who have to make that up and it didn’t happen and it [the hunger strike] went on.” – Denis Bradley, quoted in The Observer, 30 April 2006

Except, as we know, if the account of an offer being made after the death of Francis Hughes is correct, the hunger strikers, just as it would be two months later in July, were told nothing. The IRA leadership, McGuinness in May and Adams in July, gave the appearance that the prisoners were in control, yet kept them out of the loop, and later over-ruled them when the prison leadership did accept a British offer they were told about.

Martin McGuinness, here for the first time publicly addressing the hunger strike controversy, has about 800 words to make his case. Instead of expanding on any of the above points, he uses the first 260 to give a history lesson – one covered in the main by other background pieces in the same issue. He uses the next 100 to hide behind the skirts of the families of the hunger strikers. When he finally gets to the meat of the matter, he re-hashes old points of Danny Morrison’s – the incredulous idea that the hunger strikers were to rely on word of mouth negotiations before making any decisions! The duplicity of the British reneging on the deal of first hunger strike leading to the hunger strikers’ hard-line! The anti-Republican agenda driven ICJP whose own deal could not be finalised due to dastardly Brits!

Given the nature of the Mountain Climber ‘link’, the idea that it would operate via word of mouth, and, in the pre-mobile phone, pre-email days of 1981, the archaic form of the telephone, should not be shocking. The idea, too, that the British would seek private assurances or confirmation of acceptance before documentation, should come as no surprise. What did come as a surprise was the documentation that detailed Thatcher’s directives to her subordinates upon acceptance from those Provisional leaders she was dealing with.

“The statement has now been read and we await provo reactions (we would be willing to allow them a sight of the document just before it is given to the prisoners and released to the press). It has been made clear (as the draft itself states) that it is not a basis for negotiation.” – Extract from a Telegram from the Northern Ireland Office to the Cabinet Office

We know, too, that the idea that the hunger strikers would not bend due to the British reneging on a deal over the first hunger strike is a complete chimera. There was no deal at the time to renege upon, given that Brendan Hughes called an end to the hunger strike before anything could be completed.

We also now know the reason why the NIO did not send in a representative to stand over the ICJP deal at the crucial moment: Thatcher’s representatives were negotiating with Adams et al and put the ICJP initiative on hold.

So far, McGuinness has used almost 600 of the 800 words he has to make his case by repeating known history and points that have been previously discredited. He sheds no new light on events, or his role in them, apart from a weak admission that it was he who Brendan Duddy gave the details of the early July offer to, and in turn he delivered the details to the Adams committee in Belfast.

He then complains that while people are heralding the release of FOI documents, they aren’t paying attention to the content. Yet he does not illuminate as to what part of the content of the documents he thinks people should be aware of.

This is likely because the content of those documents do not support the narrative he is clinging to. As evidenced by the extract from the telegram quoted above, we see how it confirms the deal sent to the Provos, and that Thatcher issued a directive for it to be released to the prisoners and the press upon acceptance – which we know she never got.

We also see from the content of the documents, which have been verified by Brendan Duddy, the Mountain Climber link who gave the details to McGuinness, that the deal on offer met 4 of the 5 demands.

McGuinness urges readers read the documents and Ten Men Dead – a side by side reading of the offer can be found here: http://www.longkesh.info/category/ten-men-dead/ – and then lifts, almost verbatim, the same point made by Sile Darragh in her letters to the Irish News and Irish Times earlier this year:

“I would encourage people to read this book and the documents released in 2009 and compare it to the allegations of those who never visited the hunger strikers in the prison hospital, never dealt with the prison administration and the British government or liaised with the ICJP (which, on its terms, to be fair, was attempting to resolve the situation)”. – Martin McGuinness, 28 Sept 2009

“Mr O’Rawe didn’t speak to the hunger strikers, didn’t visit the prison hospital or meet the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace.” – Sile Darragh, 21 April 2009

Discerning the original source of these sorts of articles, whom some suspect is none other than Danny Morrison, is akin to ascertaining whether Barrack Obama’s Dreams of My Father was ghostwritten by Bill Ayers. Whether it was actually written by Ayers or not, his fingerprints are all over it, as are Morrison’s on McGuinness’ article.

So we come to the conclusion of McGuinness’s article – are we any wiser as to what happened during that fateful time? Will we be left with any resolution to the controversy? Sadly, no. McGuinness squanders the last of his word count to have a last kick at Thatcher, and to thank the hunger strikers obliquely for their sacrifice which has led to his seat at Stormont today.

The irony being that the oft repeated thanks supports the claims that they were sacrificed for Sinn Fein’s political gain, which delivered McGuinness to that Big House on the Hill as a Minister of the British Crown.

Earlier on Slugger:

1981 Hunger Strike: A Case to Answer

Gerry Adams and Kieran Doherty, 29 July 1981

Prolonging the Hunger Strike: The Derailing of the ICJP

Updated Timeline and Upcoming Discussion Brian Rowan and Brendan Duddy to speak at Feile

Gulladuff: More Heat Than Light Gerry Adams meets with some of the families of some of the hunger strikers.

Gerry Adams to meet Hunger Strikers Families; Inquiry Sought Families of the hunger strikers call for a public inquiry; Adams arranges meeting

“This is a huge opportunity and I feel there’s a potential here to end this” Bik McFarlane miraculously recovers his memory and completely backtracks on every denial he had made previously, while also making up new, contradictory details never before mentioned

“I will not be attending and will not send a representative” Gerry Adams refuses to attend public meeting about the hunger strikes; extremely revealing discussion in the comments section

1981 Hunger Strike Truth Commission Includes text of British document of July offer and transcript of Willie Gallagher’s speech at the Derry meeting

The Truth is a Heartbreaking Thing Initial summary of Derry meeting

Upcoming Debate: “What is the Truth Behind the Hunger Strike?” Announcement of public meeting and note of Radio Foyle debate between Raymond McCartney and Richard O’Rawe (also discussed on The Pensive Quill: A Shifting Narrative)

When in a hole… Contrasts between Danny Morrison’s position and previously published accounts of the time

What were the hunger strikers told? Questions emerge that cast doubt on what the hunger strikers knew when about what negotiations were being conducted on their behalf by the Adams subcommittee.

“Let’s have the whole truth” – Danny Morrison and Richard O’Rawe statements

Did Thatcher Kill All 10 or Only 4? – contains statements and interview excerpts

  • dunreavynomore

    Many thanks, Rusty Nail, and further to your football analogy it seems that Adams’ decision not to field his first team has been disastrous for the home side. The biggest losers, sadly are those who had previously invested so much, some their very lives, in this team. Keep going, Rusty, honest people will never fear the truth.

  • Only Asking.

    Discerning the original source of these sorts of articles, whom some suspect is none other than Danny Morrison, is akin to ascertaining whether Barrack Obama’s Dreams of My Father was ghostwritten by Bill Ayers. Whether it was actually written by Ayers or not, his fingerprints are all over it, as are Morrison’s on McGuinness’ article.

    Supposition. I’m not sure it deconstructs McGuinness, his article maybe. Counting the words, 800, thats implies someone with too much time on their hands.

    So we come to the conclusion of McGuinness’s article – are we any wiser as to what happened during that fateful time? Will we be left with any resolution to the controversy? Sadly, no.

    Like was said in the other thread, theres nothing new. Two things came from todays paper, one news of an insider in the prison for the Irish govt, and two, McGuinness is the conduit between Duddy and the IRA, which is hardly surprising. Thats all was got today.

  • Dixie

    Great piece of dismantling Rusty.

  • Vladimir Lenihan

    Nice one Anto. That about describes them all right. A pathetic bunch indded

  • Peter Fyfe

    OA

    Counting the words, 800, thats implies someone with too much time on their hands.

    Surely if he is studying the article in detail, the fact he knows the length of the article is no suprise.Why do you suppose McGuinness wasted so much of his space with a history lesson and talking about Mark Thatcher?

  • Only Asking

    Peter, could be many reasons. Maybe he wanted to place what he said in context, perhaps he wanted to illustrate the types of mothers, Thatcher worried over her own son yet so cruel over the sons of others. But supposing isn’t proof of anything, nor is how much words he used to contextualise/history or discuss Mark Thatcher. Unless he tells us why we won’t know, supposing only muddies already muddy waters.

    I think this debate is too important for anything but facts, supplement facts with supposition and it will obscure the truth, or at least it will not enhance it. It won’t allow the truth to shine as Hugh Logue says. Facts, evidence will let that happen, conjecture and supposition will dime the shine.

    Surely if he is studying the article in detail, the fact he knows the length of the article is no suprise.

    Maybe, maybe not, what do you think counting the words adds to the overall debate? You could say O’Rawe merely outlined his version with the history of this debate, why not count O’Rawe’s words? Because it doesn’t add anything.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Can someone give me the cliff notes version?

  • Only Asking

    Infact Peter upon reading O’Rawe’s version,it’s a defense of his own position since writing the book.

    Link:

    http://www.longkesh.info/2009/09/28/irish-news-special-issue-richard-orawe/

    Place it in that context and McGuinness’ article doesn’t look so out of place.

  • joeCanuck

    honest people will never fear the truth

    Nor should they. But how do you determine who’s truth telling and who is dealing in lies and innuendo?
    Who is Rusty Nail? What is his real agenda?
    He should “out” himself which will give us all a clearer picture.

  • Dixie

    Who the feck is joeCanuck to cast doubt on anyone? I know who Rusty is but for all I know this Canuck effort could be one of those crucified souls singing ‘always look on the bright side of life’ with Gerry.

  • joeCanuck

    open letter to Mick Fealty (and Dixie, whoever he is).
    We have a television program here in N. America called Law and Order. Next to homicide, the most serious charge brought on it is “Depraved Indifference to Human Life”.
    Now, for Dixie’s benefit, any regular visitor to this site knows that I am not a fan of Gerry Adams, nor of S.F. However, I left N.I when the Hunger Strikers started dying and the two events are not unconnected.
    However, the charges continually brought here by Rusty Nail amount to ,at the least, Depraved Indifference against Mr. Adams. These charges are brought anonymously. If Rusty Nail truly believes this, then I accuse him of cowardice in not revealing who he is and I accuse Mick of connivance in this patently unfair character assassination.
    Fair is fair, and, as someone else pointed out, we should not fear the truth. We cannot begin to judge the truth fairly, however, if we continue to have anonymous attacks. Rusty should let us know who he is or he should be denied anonymous blogging privileges.

  • give us a 99

    aye Dixie as long as you know who he is then that’s ok. the rest of us can get to feck

    I thought you boys gave up wearing masks a long tine ago

  • J Kelly

    did anyone hear about that corner shop being robbed in in sion mills just outside strabane over the weekend…

  • fin

    I’ve tried to follow all of Rustys blogs and the comments posted since this ‘series’ started and it gets confusing. Comments are made as facts to paper over incidents that don’t match Rustys narrative.

    Since the early days of these blogs a question that keeps arising is ‘where was the offer’ and really comments like

    “Given the nature of the Mountain Climber ‘link’, the idea that it would operate via word of mouth, and, in the pre-mobile phone, pre-email days of 1981, the archaic form of the telephone, should not be shocking.”

    don’t wash, it was 1981 not 1881, ‘archaic’ telephone what? how about fax machine? thats was an easy way to distribute a document in 1981, how about a photocopy in an envelope on a plane from London to Belfast.

    the above in context with

    “We know, too, that the idea that the hunger strikers would not bend due to the British reneging on a deal over the first hunger strike is a complete chimera. There was no deal at the time to renege upon, given that Brendan Hughes called an end to the hunger strike before anything could be completed.”

    Republicans and the hungerstrikers that there was a deal, in fact the outcome is similar to what you accuse the leadership of not doing the 2nd time, as I understand it the hungerstrikers were told there’s a deal and the document is on the way to the prison and Hughes called of the strike on the strenght of that information as a prisoner was close to death.

    For me this is the groundhog day

    “The statement has now been read and we await provo reactions (we would be willing to allow them a sight of the document just before it is given to the prisoners and released to the press). It has been made clear (as the draft itself states) that it is not a basis for negotiation.” – Extract from a Telegram from the Northern Ireland Office to the Cabinet Office

    This super dooper deal that no-one in their right mind would turndown is only available in black and white once you say yes and moments before it hits the newspapers, come on, anyone who lived in NI in 1981 would laugh at any republican mug enough to follow that script.

    These articles although interesting at first have for sometime been scratching at a raw spot over and over, this pushing of Rawes narrative is like a dog with a bone, and slowly rewriting history to the silly point of now trying to convince republicans of kind and generous nature of Thatcher.

  • Only Asking

    I know who Rusty is

    Do the families know Dixie, or are you more entitled to know than they are?

    I have to admit I agree with canuck and fin

  • dunreavynomore

    “The acquisition of any level of power and the maintenance of that power is rarely a tale of honour alone.” Gerard Hodgins, Irish News, today.

    Now there is a statement worth mulling over in this context.

  • dunreavynomore

    Fin, I seem to have missed the bit where Thatcher is ‘accused’ would be the best word in her case, of being ‘kind and generous’ so perhaps you will point out where O’Rawe, Rusty Nail, or whoever, made such a claim.

  • Only Asking

    Dunreavy I think Fin is saying that if the accusation of the republican movement is that they were complicit in the deaths of the HS, it follows from that it was not all her fault. That is the point fin is making.

    I believe Fitzgerald, I think there was a deal with the ICJP with a similar deal running along between republicans and the British who Fitzgerald says were in contact with each other. In that deal republicans had a harder line, and got more concessions, ie education that the ICJP did not have. It is only reasonable then that Adams et al would go for the deal with the more concessions, as they’d paid dearly for anything up to that point.

    When Joe McDonnell died, that stopped or scuppered or interfered in some way with the continuation of what went on before, until finally the families stepped in. It was only reasonable for Adams and his sub committee to push for more, they like everybody else didn’t want to see this defeated especially after the loss of life incurred.

    I see it all panning out something along those lines rather than deliberate lies and resulting smear campaigns and hurt to the families.

  • J Kelly

    Its time now for a copy of the so called deal to be put on the record. someone must have a copy..

  • IRIA

    Maybe I read the Ayers/Obama bit incorrectly. “Whether it was actually written by Ayers or not, his fingerprints are all over it, as are Morrison’s on McGuinness’ article.”

    Rusty Nail: are you a believer that Bill Ayers wrote Dreams of My Father? Do you believe that Obama was born in Kenya, as well?

    Fealty: How do you let that stuff get printed?

  • This attempt to shoot the messenger will just not wash, not least because many of those who blog at slugger use a pseudonym. It has also been clear for some time that some of those who were intricatly involed in the events under debate [on both sides] have posted comments to this series of threads using a pseudonym.

    Nothing wrong with this, it is there right, but before people attempt to hang Rusty out to dry for doing the same, perhaps we should pause and ponder what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    As I have said before, I do not believe this is a tale of great villainy, but one of people having to make complex life and death decisions in extremely troubled and difficult times. Thus I believe it is a mistake to make a judgement on the standards and events of today.

    Nevertheless, I do not believe this matter will go away, the Irish News piece tells one that, better to finish it by having an independent enquiry. History demands the truth.

  • Dixie

    For the benefit of joeCanuck and the others my name is Thomas Dixie Elliott, I am a former Blanket Man who was in that wing in H-3 with Richard O’Rawe and Bik during the Hunger Strikes.
    I have already disclosed this in another thread regarding the Hunger Strikes.

    I spent time in the cell with Bobby Sands and Tom McElwee with whom I became close friends.

    I have written letters to the press regarding the events around July 5th 1981 and for my troubles some cowardly anonymous clampet posted photos of my 18 year old daughter on Politics ie…In this regard you can’t blame the likes of Rusty for choosing to remain anonymous.

    At least two of my letters can be found here…

    http://www.longkesh.info/category/media/derry-journal/

    Of course many of those squealing the house down about Rusty hiding behind anonymity are themselves kettles calling the pot black or rustier nails than Rusty.

    The long range sniper, joeCanuck, who resides in N.America and who believes that reality is a court room drama should realise that over here when you tread on the toes that fill leadership shoes you’ll get more than a kick in the arse, as Richard O’Rawe well knows.

    The fact is Rusty’s postings are powerful well-researched stuff that leaves his/her detractors with no other answers than who the fuck are you to be so pertinent as to know what you’re talking about?

    Surely Gerry has at least one online defender of the faithful who can put a thread together on Slugger that will equally leave us dastardly dissenting deviants speechless with nothing but handfuls of muck to throw back in reply?

  • Only Asking

    the Irish News piece tells one that

    No not if it is only part of the Irish News piece, todays isn’t included with an update. Why? Does it not fit the narrative of the blogger?
    This isn’t about pseudonyms to leave a comment, this is about someone standing over what they blog about on such a serious matter, death of loved ones to some families, the spreading of disinformation, (on some occassions, not all)accusations and inuendo levelled at others, and the inflaming of passions on an emotive issue.

    Thats more than leaving a comment under a pseudonym, thats pushing your agenda from behind a rock. It’s tantamount to fellon setting. Either stand over it or go away.

  • Only Asking

    The fact is Rusty’s postings are powerful well-researched stuff that leaves his/her detractors with no other answers than who the fuck are you to be so pertinent as to know what you’re talking about?

    Then whats Rusty afraid of? O’Rawe stood over his book, Willie Gallagher stands over what he says, All of them stood over what they say except the anoymous rusty. Why? Everyone who has wanted to say something has done so openly and above board, except here, there are no bona fides here. Only someone throwing muck from behind a rock. Who is rusty to dis Lawrence McKeown

    Reserve player Laurence McKeown, who has performed well in the past, and heretofore unseen on the field McGuinness are the main defence

    70 days on hungerstrike. Dissed by an anon slug under a rock.

    Rusty needs to prove the mettle, if not, why should anyone take a coward/s seriously?

    Come out or go away.

  • Mark McGreg

    I’m convinced by neither side in this debate as yet but do appreciate the work Rusty is doing in bringing various strands together so I and others can be as informed as possible.

    There is also the delicious irony of several people using changing pseudonyms to complain about an agenda from the blogger when their personal agenda is an awful lot clearer and in instances has little/nothing to do with the topic at hand.

  • Only Asking

    Several people on a thread of 26 comments? Joecannuck, f and I have objected, none of us AFAIK have used anyother pseudonym. Only one pseudonym per person, AFAIK.

    If this where a case of a blogger colating everyones opinion that would be different. But it isn’t. What is happening here is more damaging to the effort of bringing out the truth, it is not helping that effort.

    In the Irish News today, willie gallagher, gerard hodgkins, and numerous others, including Ed Moloney, yesterday O’Rawe McGuinness all stood over what they said, on different opinion platforms. These threads are not about colating information, these blogs actively participate in ratcheting up emotions on an emotive subject, that can only be damaged by anonymous allegations. If Rusty sees any IP with more than one name, why not say so, or delete that comment.

    No one is attacking rusty as a person, only how they are going about contributing to an emotive debate.

  • give us a 99

    Mark McG,

    how do you know that several people are using changing pseudonyms? Is Dixie still using his unsurpassed IP address tracing skills?

  • Only Asking

    There is also the delicious irony of several people using changing pseudonyms to complain about an agenda from the blogger when their personal agenda is an awful lot clearer and in instances has little/nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    I doubt cannuck knows who rusty is, I CERTAINLY do not know, how is there a personal agenda if the person is unknown?

    Comments, blogs all of it can be done with a pseudonym, it’s when a blogger is actively upping the ante for one side against the other, thats when it becomes problematic, and certainly objectionable.

    Anyway there is nothing new in this debate, until there is it’s over.

  • Mark McGreg

    Some people give themselves away very easily and continually. It’s a bit sad but an entertaining aspect to a very depressing topic.

    Now I bid the comments zone good evening, I’m sure the hypocrites and odd obsessives will have left a few nuggets of mentalness for my entertainment when I skim through tomorrow – they sure as hell won’t have addressed any of the issues or contributed anything of value.

  • Only Asking

    they sure as hell won’t have addressed any of the issues or contributed anything of value.

    What contributions of value have you made? Other than your amusing two nuggets of mentalness?

  • joeCanuck

    Thank you, Dixie, for that honest and brave account of yourself.
    Given your pedigree and your vouching for him, I will no longer question Rusty’s bona fides.
    I still believe strongly that he should identify himself, however. I can understand that doing that a number of years ago would have put his wellbeing in danger, but we have been assured that those days are over.

  • dunreavynomore

    Joecanuck, That was an honourable reply to Dixie but personally I seriously doubt if “those days are over” in the sense you mean it. British soldiers and PSNI officers might be safe from the people in question but I’m not so sure about the rest of us. I was speaking to the mother of Paul Quinn today and she would have difficulty with such assurances. Apart from physical attack, in today’s Irish News Hodgins says, in relation to how such things are handled, ‘former comrades in the upper echelons are referring to you as a revisionist, a dissident,a drug dealer, an anti-republican; no slur is too great, no act too low.’ This is part and parcel of what ‘new’ republicanism does best in it’s race to the top of the greasy stormont pole.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Dun

    I don’t like the term “new” republicanism. The organization is full of scumbags as much as they were in the 80s, they just aren’t killing people anymore.

    They are an insult to the Republicans of the 20s.

  • Only Asking.

    Dunreavy, I listened to Tony Catney on Radio Free Eireann at the weekend describe how he was attacked handing out fliers in west Belfast, in the drive of a shinners house. Theres always going to be attacks with republicanism split so many ways and such an emotive debate as this also. Yet the shinners have no army behind them, they can’t use bully tatics of old, I think thats a given, I don’t think the ‘old days’ are back. Anyone who was involved, either in Republicanism, or the HS themselves has come out and laid their feelings on the table.

    I can well understand the Quinn family saying to you what they did, and there will always be exceptions to this, things are not perfect. But in general, i doubt the old days have returned. The control exercised on areas is much less than it used to be, and opinions on the HS controversy whether on the street or in the press are being expressed openly and honestly. Anyone contributing is doing so from their own position, despite smears and underhand dealings.

    I also listened to Mr McBrearty on RFE discuss the protests at PSNI board community meetings, people are open about it. The evidence is all over the media.
    I don’t think anyone fears now like they used to.

  • John O’Connell

    Only Asking

    Are you the diplomatic onslaught from Sinn Fein headquarters?

    How else would you know so much about everything it seems?

    It would be a nice departure if this diplomacy was the way ad infinitum for Sinn Fein but we all know that an organisation that reserves the right to kick people to death when they get the wrong side of them is really just posturing and playing with diplomacy. Soon you will have brought every aspect of politics and diplomacy into disrepute.

  • Dixie

    how do you know that several people are using changing pseudonyms? Is Dixie still using his unsurpassed IP address tracing skills?
    give us a 99

    Under how many different names have you asked that question now?

  • Dixie

    joeCanuck I thank you also and would like to add to what dunreavynomore wrote in reference to Gerard Hodgkin’s piece in today’s Irish News.

    Gerard goes on to tell us that he went to the behind closed door meeting in Gulladuff with Jimmy Dempsey whose son John was killed by the British Army the morning Joe McDonnell died.

    “We both had questions we would like to ask, we were politely but firmly refused entry to the meeting and I personally was subjected to threats and menaces by a senior Provisional, all because I wanted to ask questions about events in 1981.”

    Now this was a meeting where Adams had closeted the Hunger Striker’s families in to give his version of events and had heavies on the door to stop anyone, including a former Hunger Striker, gaining entry to ask uncomfortable questions.

    Why not let him in and answer his questions before the families if he had nothing to fear?

    And as you see these are the types of threats that might deter the likes of Rusty from going public.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Only Asking…Of course I’m sure that you would have nothing to fear by using your own name to attack someone for remaining anonymous, then you might be a lot more credible Mo Chara.

  • Sean

    John Oconnell I hear you are ascending to heaven to meet your father, I hope customs doesn’t stop you. Do you have a pass port?

  • Brian MacAodh

    John

    While you’re up there could you ask your Father to tell us who “Only Asking” is?

  • Only Asking

    Brian,

    only asking is the name I took

    and at john you may look

    but you’d better not do more

    cos the devil’s at the door

    and he’ll snatch with fingering hands….

    LOOK!

    behind you there he stands……

    LOL

    send me an email and I’ll tell you my secrets

  • Sean

    I see my little expierement worked, the commenting policy remains the same as always

    Say what ever ignorant shit you want about irish and republicans but keep your uppity mouth shut around them nice unionists fellers

    lol Mick you are funny

  • Brian MacAodh

    Well Sean, as that slut Princess Margaret said, they’re all just “irish pigs”

  • Aodh Who

    Nice quote. Who’d have thought that the lady was so insightful?

  • Brian MacAodh

    She’s so insightful, that is what she said to the mayor of Chicago, who was of Irish American (last name Byrne). She didn’t even realize he was Irish-American, or she knew and said it on purpose. INtelligent and charming.

    Maybe her friend Lord Bittenberg aka Mountbatten shouldn’t have vacationed in a land full of “pigs”.

  • John O’Connell

    Sean

    John Oconnell I hear you are ascending to heaven to meet your father, I hope customs doesn’t stop you. Do you have a pass port?

    Thanks for telling me that there is a fatwa out on me.

    Do you republicans ever grow up or will you forever threaten us and call it politics. You know, you had your war and you failed. That’s why we’re in this mess. Had you have succeeded we’d be in a worse mess. Why don’t you give up and stop trying to intimidate people.

  • Sean

    LOL threaten you? How could I possibly threaten the second coming of Christ?

    I just assumed since you ascended the first time you will be at some point making a return journey?

    I am a little rusty on your silly old superstition but I thought that is why we got time off on easter as your (brother/father) went home for a visit?

    Just asking!

  • Ingram

    Ding Ding

    Mick , That little Red London bus is still on schedule.

    You know manny of my former colleagues were of the firm opinion Paddy was thick ? not me !

    But ! Now ?

    With exeption of Father Faul and Rusty !

    How wrong can one be.

    Ding Ding

    Smell the coffee boys

    Ingram

  • Sean

    der ding a ling is back, oh how I havent missed him

    Any who, John as a non practicing Pastaferianist I am curious how I could issue a fatwa as that is a purely Islamist thing to do

  • John O’Connell

    Sean

    that is a purely Islamist thing to do

    It’s sad that you have no Christian ambitions.

  • Sean

    John
    So if I had issued a fatwa it would have been christian of me? How interesting!!

  • John O’Connell

    I think you’re confused, Sean. You really shouldn’t be let out, perhaps you’re not, never mind be making threats.

  • Sean

    No John it seems you are confused.

    I said I didn’t issue a fatwa against you as that is an slamist thing to do” and you replied that its too bad I wasn’t more christian which would seem to indicate if I wanted to be more christian I should issue a fatwa! Make up your mind