Liam Adams and the dark pyschosexual heart of the IRA…

Malachi O’Doherty makes an interesting argument on the Adams child abuse case in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph

The single greatest expenditure of small arms fire by the Provisionals was, therefore, in a generational war against young men, many of whom were motivated by violence in the home. Many sex-offenders were shot dead by the IRA. Gerry says blithely that, even in the 1980s, he would have gone to the RUC and reported abuse to them.

That is implausible and can only have traction among those who don’t know their history. Any other republican who had reported Liam Adams to the RUC, who had done what Aine did, would have been shunted down to the border for a quiet word with Freddie Scappaticci and then shot in the head.

And any other paedophile who had raped a child in west Belfast would have been killed by the IRA, not reported to the police. What we need now is not a political explanation of the IRA campaign, but a psychosexual one.

In fact, whilst that may have been the case in west Belfast, it was not always the way the IRA dealt with child abusers elsewhere… In the west of Northern Ireland there was some degree of collaboration with social services so that their protocols rather than those of the kangaroo court were able to help the courts discern guilt or otherwise… More disturbingly there have been accusations that some parts of the IRA were deeply ambivalent towards sex abusers within their own membership…

Pedophiles thrive on secrecy. The problem with Maurice Hayes’ (now pulled) OpEd in the Indo yesterday which argued we should put political stability ahead of other more civil considerations in this case is that in pulling out of proper scrutiny we may never know the full extent of the abuse in this case. Or whether or not it even happened at all.

There have even been unattributed mutterings in the Daily Mail suggesting further speculation on the matter causing a split inside the IRA (an IRA that by and large no longer exists)…

Mr Adams is a popular MP and commands huge personal loyalty from his followers. And not without due cause. He has overseen a huge surge in the popularity of his party north of the border. But there are wider interests at stake here. It is simply not good enough for Mr Adams to say there is no evidence that his brother Liam continued with the abuse outside the family. Nor to offer to meet with the parents of the children who passed through his brother’s care in Beechmount, Clonard and Dundalk.

That is precisely the route that brought Mr Adams to this hideous pass with his niece in the first place. She now feels she was strung into a process in which Liam Adams was increasingly being pitched as the victim, rather than having the thing dealt with even in soto voce terms.

As Gerry Moriarty noted yesterday in the Irish Times no one can tell where this story will end. But it is not going to be a happy place for any one concerned.

  • Chris Donnelly

    A rather twisted opinion piece by Malachi whose war with the Christian Brothers and republicans seems set to continue now he’s found a new way to repackage his old argument.

    Basically, Malachi would have us believe that because an IRA member was a paedophile then the entire republican struggle was about raped and abused catholics taking out their frustrations on the State. One wonders how he escaped the net….

    There are a number of other dubious claims in this piece. If all paedophiles in west Belfast were killed by the IRA then why don’t they appear in the lists of those killed during the conflict? Given the estimated figures of abuse in any society, there’d need to be a lot of dead bodies if that were the case.

    Secondly, it is a nonsense to suggest that a republican reporting Liam Adams as a child abuser in the 1980s would have been killed as a result- his daughter and wife, both from republican families, did meet the RUC (according to the Insight programme) coming away dismayed that the focus for the RUC was on using them as informants.

    Thirdly, taking Malachi’s argument to its logical conclusion, then one would have to conclude that all wars and conflicts- never mind the actions of most police forces- are motivated by displaced trauma as a result of sexual abuse. Given that most armies are composed of males from a working-class background (no doubt facing ‘violence in the home’ according to Malachi’s thinking) and given that working-class males predominate in prisons (indeed, in the US, the single greatest expenditure of small arm fire by the police would be in working class black and hispanic communities) then we could make just as plausibly a case that sex abuse motivates actions by soldiers in wars and the police in some communities- perhaps that disgruntled DC ‘snowball’ policeman was motivated by abuse at home???

    There have been- and continue to be- numerous cases of child abuse alleged against people from a unionist/ loyalist/ Orange Order background. Should we interpret the supremacist strain within unionism to a sexual desire to dominate as a consequence of these cases?

    Of course not. Paedophilia, and incest, transcends communities and certainly is not limited to peoples from specific political-religious backgrounds. And, crucially, the typical response of those suffering as a result of incest is far too often to not report it to authorities, whether in Ireland or elsewhere.

    It is to be expected that those who despise Irish republicans- and Gerry Adams in particular- would attempt to use this case in the cynical manner that Malachi/ Ruth et al have done to further their own narrative regarding the causes of conflict in Ireland.

    But most people will see through that.

    This is a tragic case of a family suffering what most right-thinking people would not wish on anyone else, even their own worst enemies. The fact that most political leaders have restrained from comment is indicative of a realisation that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’

    That does not mean there aren’t serious questions arising from this case, for the statutory agencies and members of the Adams family. But putting those questions in the proper context is something that most people will instinctively be able to do whilst politically motivated detractors attempt to spin.

  • Let’s face it, any organisation or movement with a paranoid and conspiratorial view of the outside world is probably a very good place to be a paedophile. In this regard the Republican movement is no different to many small extremist religious cults or political movements of the far-left or far-right.

    In the Republican movement all allegations of wrongdoing could be brushed off as part of a British plot to undermine the movement without any thought being given to whether or not they are true.

    Unfortunately I did not see the UTV documentary which kicked all of this off. I am curious to know who persuaded Gerry Adams’ niece to withdraw her allegations against her father back in the 1980s.

  • Paul

    For too long the republican movement have being able able to get away with brushing things under the carpet and getting away with it.not anymore they wont

  • Chris Donnelly

    a paranoid and conspiratorial view of the outside world

    Mainstream unionist political parties could have been described as thus until quite recently. Perhaps you’ve allowed for that…

  • iluvni

    “That does not mean there aren’t serious questions arising from this case, for the statutory agencies and members of the Adams family”

    Just to be you believe Gerry Adams himself has questions to answer?
    If, what are they?

  • Ramzi Nohra

    Aldamir is right to a certain extent but I would have thought they would need access to children as a pre-requisite. I wouldnt have thought a paramilitary organisation wouldn’t be best for this, unless you are specifically talking about a youth wing.

    Paul – are you implying that the RM has had friends in all the media of these islands who specifically colluded in them “sweeping things under the carpet”? I would have thought that the opposite would be the case.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    Also – can anyone name some sex offenders shot dead by the IRA? two or three will suffice.

  • Only Asking

    I think you’re overlooking the exercise of free will in all of this. People will go to where they will get justice as they see it. To go to the police and courts in the hope of justice or go to a paramilitary where the justice is more swift I think many prefered the latter. That an inner circle exsisted is no secret. There were women married to prisoners and if they strayed with some one else they could end up tarred and feathered, but if the person they strayed with was high enough up in the organisation a blind eye was often turned.

    But to take one case of a high profile family (and the case by cussack no one in that family has come forward openlyto say there was abuse inside) and jump from that to saying the republican struggle was not against British imperialism but the acting out of psychosexual trauma and spout a lot of psycho-bbble as malachi is doing, without any professiional behind him is to take popular psychology beyond armchair diagnosis and make a fool of himself.

    Johnny Adair is well documented for sexual promiscusness(!)along with various other loyalists, (look at the Shankill butchers for instance) and no one has ever come forward and said that loyalism can be reduced to acting out psychosexual trauma or the product of dysfunctional childhoods instead of a war against Irish republicanism.

    To do so removes responsibility from individuals and say, you did these deeds of murder and criminality because God help you – you were traumatised as a kid and this is the resultant behaviour. That would be highly wrong and an insult to the victims like Jean McConville who received no justice. It’s making everybody a victim and that can’t be right.

    Malachi’s article is only use as toilet roll.

  • tacapall

    ” Many sex-offenders were shot dead by the IRA”. Can anyone name one person shot dead by the IRA for child abuse ?

    “Any other republican who had reported Liam Adams to the RUC, who had done what Aine did, would have been shunted down to the border for a quiet word with Freddie Scappaticci and then shot in the head.”

    “More disturbingly there have been accusations that some parts of the IRA were deeply ambivalent towards sex abusers within their own membership…”

    This is mere speculation not fact by the writer.

    whilst I agree that this is not the first time allegations of child abuse has been claimed against members of the republican movement, none of them were subjected to “kangaroo courts” nor found at the border, they were brought to the proper authorities.

    Why would there be a split in the non existant IRA

    “It is simply not good enough for Mr Adams to say there is no evidence that his brother Liam continued with the abuse outside the family.”

    Whilst this is true it is also of concern that the police and social services have not even commented nor been asked to explain why they cleared his brother to work with children when they knew of the allegations against him.

  • Chris Donnelly


    Gerry Adams has himself indicated that he feels he didn’t handle this as best as he could have, and I’m sure other family members similarly wish they’d have moved to bring things to a head more quickly.

    We all did get that, though I suspect we have differing reasons for believing why that was the case.

    Of course the case was a ‘tragedy’ but it was also a despicable act. Responsibility for the crime clearly lies with the offender for committing the offence.

  • Brian Walker

    We are all psychoanalysts now, and I have long marvelled at the huge gulf between Gerry Adams the hyper-sentimental author and the disciplined and ruthless paramilitary chief. They seem to me to be two sides of the same coin. Romaticisation and denial go hand in hand and make it possible to justify the ruthlessness. The wider Adams mindset reminds me of a description of the Creggan as ” the greatest wee place in the world.” Why so? Because idealising the closeness of the ghetto (and perhaps blotting out abuse) helps make living in it bearable. Adams is a developed example of this. But Chris is surely right to this extent, that deprivation, discrimination and class traps can’t be explained away in purely psychological terms and by modish attacks on victimhood. I’m sure Malachi doesn’t think so either.

  • iluvni

    Not sure that answers the question, Chris.

  • Only Asking

    This whole thing has blown out of proportion.

    Fr Troy said this (scan):

    “People have their views, but I would be more embarrassed if they were saying, ‘they went to his door and he said he didn’t want anything to do with it, it was too dangerous’.”

    And Clonard youth centre said it was happy to show the PSNI the form proving the alleged sex abuser passed a police check to work with children. (scan)

    malachi is gleeful, perhaps some counselling on his run in with Storey was it in the felons? Writing about it mustn’t have had a catharthic effect.

  • Only Asking

    One night in May 1995 in the Felons club, in west Belfast, an IRA man called Bobby Storey directed me into a corner for a quiet word. Bobby Storey is about six foot four and I am five foot two so I wasn’t about to argue. He was a human tower, and the hand he pressed against my chest was nearly as big as my chest itself. I have been asked many times if I am not afraid of being duffed up by the IRA for all the rude things I have said about them. I generally expect they won’t respond to me like that, but at that moment I was contemplating that this might be a breach with tradition.

    ‘I am not going to hit you, but I want to tell you that you are a slug,’ Storey said.

    I started to reply but he asked me to apply my energies instead to a consideration of the merits of his statement. ‘Shut your fucking mouth,’ he said.

    Get over it malachi.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The wider Adams mindset reminds me of a description of the Creggan as ” the greatest wee place in the world.” Why so? Because idealising the closeness of the ghetto (and perhaps blotting out abuse) helps make living in it bearable.

    How we all aspire to live in a state of nirvana in the North Down utopia, Brian….

    The elitism in that is hard to look past.

    Adams’ comment on the Creggan is an all too typical slightly condescending/ flattering remark oft-heard by politicans and other renowned people.

    Perhaps you haven’t attended too many concerts Brian?

  • Chris Donnelly

    RE incest as a means of validating an identity, shall we be expecting to hear dozens of cases due to the failure of the Orange Order to validate their identity by marching down Garvaghy Road? Sorry to be so flippant, but the contention is hardly a serious one.

    The portrayal of the nationalist community hardly fits the bill. As has been widely noted, the 70s/80s were a period in which the catholic community in the north effectively came of age with a burgeoning catholic middle class making its mark in industry and the professions in general.

    The comment regarding a lack of aspiration hardly rings true either, given that social mobility in Belfast particularly has been considerably more noticeable within the working class catholic community than the working class protestant community (check the figures for working class performance at catholic and non-catholic schools at both primary and second level.)

    Finally, with regard to McGuinness’ threat to pull down the Executive, I think you’d find that is a consequence of the DUP’s inability to live up to its end of the SAA bargain.

  • Paul


    Aldamir is right to a certain extent but I would have thought they would need access to children as a pre-requisite. I wouldnt have thought a paramilitary organisation wouldn’t be best for this, unless you are specifically talking about a youth wing.

    Paul – are you implying that the RM has had friends in all the media of these islands who specifically colluded in them “sweeping things under the carpet”? I would have thought that the opposite would be the case.
    Posted by Ramzi Nohra on Dec 23, 2009 @ 10:37 AM

    what I am saying is the man ADAMs who if you didnt know is a leading player in the republican movement the man who said he has or was never a member of the IRA.yEs and i am father xmas hes accounts of this appalling scandal simply dont add up Adams has questins to answer its no good sinners etc trying in vain spinning.If this would of being any other party figure sinn fein and yes adams and sinn fein would of being shouting from the roof tops and calling for heads to roll.Adams position is untenable he should do the resign his position.With immediate effect

  • Paul


    This whole thing has blown out of proportion.

    Posted by Only Asking on Dec 23, 2009 @ 11:07 AM

    what an appalling statement and post above thats the impression you have being making you and the sinners/trolls/spinners to try to deflect attention away from the whole scandal.There are serious questions for Gerry Adams to answer his accounts simply dont add up.and quite frankly your post of excuses in defending Adams by saying this has blown out of propertion is disgracful and beggers beleif shame on you and all like you you should all hang your heads in shame

  • Alias

    Hmmmm… I wonder if Malachi read this comment from myself a few days ago on another thread he also posted on:

    “I suppose we can look forward to media pundits using Gerry’s latest self-serving gambit to redefine militant ‘republicanism’ as a symptom of familial sexual abuse in a further attempt to isolate it from its original meaning of a claim to self-determination.”

    Whatever the merit of Malachi’s (my) argument (none, actually), Malachi usually has the subtext in his writing about NI that some explanation must be found to explain NI’s dysfunctional society other than the denial of that most fundamental of rights to Irish nation partitioned within it. Since the denial of this right cannot be presented as the root cause of that troubled society without presenting the granting of this right as the only resolution, it must simply be ignored and other explanations expediently invented.

    The Shinners themselves, however, now have to support this search for an alternative explanation to explain their own campaign since they have signed up to the constitutional legitimacy of British sovereignty and have formally and finally agreed that the Irish nation within that partitioned territory have no right whatsoever to national self-determination now or in the future. Their former narrative that their campaign was rooted in the assertion of this right is contradicted by the solution that they have accepted, so it probably helps Gerry out if he can present his own former role as the outcome of some troubled childhood.

  • KateMcC

    Gerry Adams should resign,it’s as simple as that!As Liam Clarke writes, ‘there is a stench of a cover up’ in all of this. There is much more than a ‘stench’. Áine’s account of her dealings with Adams is one experienced by many families from within paramilitary strongholds, (this not to say that child abuse is confined to any section of society,but organisational complicity encourages the abuse and injustice) . The ‘Provos’ have covered up all sorts of heinous crimes over the years and those who try to explain this away by placing them in the a political context are doing nothing more than putting a ‘spin’ on things.The bravery and courage displayed by Áine cannot be overstated, by waiving her anonymity she has done a great service to other victims of child abuse. This saga raises many questions which involves the state also, e.g. how did they use the information?It is well known and documented that the RUC used such knowledge to recruit informers, who really believes that they did nothing with this! The silence of other political leaders in NI is nothing but an illustration of the sickness of politics here.The SDLP’s silence will reflect badly on the party. We are talking about the alleged ‘rape’ of a four year child. Adams account doesn’t add up! Of course, with the help of the NIO, British and Irish administrations, and a largely complacent media he will most likely survive.

  • Only Asking

    Finally, with regard to McGuinness’ threat to pull down the Executive, I think you’d find that is a consequence of the DUP’s inability to live up to its end of the SAA bargain.

    Well no, I don’t think that is the case, but its another issue.

  • Alias

    “The ‘Provos’ have covered up all sorts of heinous crimes over the years and those who try to explain this away by placing them in the a political context are doing nothing more than putting a ‘spin’ on things.” – KateMcC

    I agree with that. I would see them as a bunch of thugs, organised criminals, and sociopaths who saw an opportunity to profit at the expense of others and who took that for all it was worth. However, there are quite a few of them who bought into the cloak of romanticism and republicanism that disguised the reality underneath it. Most of them would be out of the movement long ago since after Gerry and Martin appointed British agents to run the ISU and kept them in place for over 20 years, most of them left within the Provos who joined to assert a right to self-determination by force would have been either left an organisation that they knew was compromised or they would have been forced out of it. All that remained in the finish was whomever the British security establishment left in place. The advantage of the Provos to the security services is that the made the nationalists happy to renounce their former right to national self-determination in exchange for a cessation of the murder campaigns along with an improvement in the quality of British rule for them wherein the organisers of the murder gangs would oversee their interests within the consolidated British state. It remains the case, however, that it would not have been required to assert the right to self-determination if it was not denied – and in the example of the Provos, to use that denial as an excuse to enrich themselves.

  • Seamus

    He may not this time Kate.
    All of his past shortfalls have occurred within the context of the PRM well within his comfort zone surrounded as with Mc Guiness with many fall guys positioned for purpose.
    This issue pretrudes well outside the PRM with few within it prepared to venture out in an effort to help their wounded comrade.

  • Alan

    I think there’s a lot in what Malachy has to say, but it cuts across loyalist violence as well.

    I don’t think the analysis helps in a time like the 70’s when there was rapid recruitment due to the escalating violence, when a lot of new individuals would have been sucked into organisations.

    I think that there is a likely link between learned abusive behaviour and political extremism ( the espousal of violence in creating change, for instance ). Small, potentially violent groupings go through fallow times, such as the IRA and UVF did in the 50’s and 60’s when their views are not in vogue.

    The individuals who maintain the flame during such times do need to be exceptional, but that exceptionality may well relate to a prediliction for violence and a search for dominance in small closed societies. The problem for the rest of us is that such people lead the charge when times change – and the charge is likely to be heavily skewed towards extreme violence. We also see the same families maintaining their influence over organisations down the generations ( no democracy there !).

    I see no difference between republican and loyalist militarists in those fallow times. Their tactics are likely twisted by the twisted personalities they attract.

  • Mick Fealty

    Posted on behalf of J Kelly:

    On the M O’Doherty article can you name one person the IRA killed for child abuse or what evidence has he to state that many republicans were drawn into the conflict as a result of violence at home.

    No surprise at O’Doherty or Belfast Tele but I am surprised at Slugger. Jk

  • seamus friel

    Can I just say that The Malachi O ‘Doherty piece is such a load of crap that it doesn’t even merit serious discussion . Malachi’s long held and ferocious hatred of Sinn Fein and the IRA has spawned this psycho babble amateur analysis.
    Give us a break.. The Republican Movement was made up of thousands of individuals Malachi. Your analysis is like analysing the role of the British Army here on the basis that one of its generals was in a family where abuse occurred.
    This analysis and postulation is so weak that it is actually funny. Shades of Eoghan Harris at his paranoid anti republican best!! Thanks Malachi for a laugh. This is Sub Sun or Daily Star standard.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    It hardly seems a stretch to suggest that a background of childhood abuse may offer some explanation as to why someone grows up to be a serial killer.

  • Paul

    The spinning and smokecreens rountines from the sinners/trolls/spinners to try to deflect attention away from Gerry Adams on this scandal and his accounts which simply to add up is quite frankly both sickening and laughable

  • Paddy

    Are we to believe that the Provos screened their cannon fodder to ensure all were upright Mass going citizens? Or, did they look for outsiders, abusers, criminals, they could harness for their own ends? Did PIRA’s recruiting sergeants spend too much time watching reruns of Liam O’Flaherty’s The Informer and The Quiet Man that they brainwashed themselves into beliving their hard drinkers, their dole collectors and their motley crew of killers would not sink to molesting children?

    In earlier IRA campaigns, and in the early 1970s, messing with a prisoner’s wife meant a bullet. But then came the dregs.

    And if we are to believe the South Armagh IRA were all pristine, we should be hanging up our socks for Santa. If burying people in unmarked graves was the standing order, is it stretching credulity to believe the brave figthing men might need some distraction by touching up children?

  • Wife beaters and child abusers were often kneecapped and some murdered, and some people mistaken for such were also shot. Anyone who was around those areas knows this. The challenge to name one is a challenge to identify people whose deaths or kneecappings were not ascribed to these offences in the public domain. The Provo punishment system had no legal standing so it is not possible to describe these victims as properly convicted. So no names.
    But there was one alleged paedophile kneecapped in Derry who bled to death and there was another kneecapped in a chair in the New Lodge flats.
    I have the interviews with several joyriders who were children of active republicans and who describe the beatings they got at home. I have used this material in other books and programmes. There is no secret in it. Does it mean that all IRA men were brutes at home? No, but it establishes that a generational war was part of the republican story, and that a massive amount of provo fire power was directed at teenage boys. I call that abuse.

    And frankly I never believed that the partition of Ireland was an authentic motive for the eruption of violence in 1969. I do not believe that teenagers go to war driven by political concerns; they go driven by anger, and their anger can be fired by what they have suffered in the home, even if it is not directed back at the home.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    you said “many sex offenders were shot dead by the IRA” – now you’re backing out of providing any evidence.
    Can you at least cite instances when the IRA itself said they had killed sex offenders? That should be fairly easy.
    So far, even with your no names policy all you can say is that one person bled to death. This doesnt match your earlier description.

    Basically your article falls apart at the second sentence quoted above.

    Alternatively, can you give any examples of people being “nutted” in south armagh because of going to the police over something like child abuse?

  • And it feels a little strange to be accused of having a perverse obsession with the Christian Brothers when the whole country now acknowledges that they were abusers. Are we to imagine that all those lovely wholesome men in An Dunan and Airfield House were just gas lads and no bother to anyone? No, they included sadists and gropers to. It is a fair question: if many of these young men who formed the provos were treated like shit at school and at home, why would we imagine that their hot tempers were cultivated by British imperialism?

  • Ramzi, what’s your theory, that the IRA which shot car thieves and drug dealers and burglars and other categories of people, complained of to them at Connolly House, made a special exception for child rapists? I don’t think so, but it would help my side of the argument even more if they did.
    And even when they were shooting informants on the border, do you think they were making special exemptions for people who had reported senior republicans for child abuse.
    Try that one on the families of Joe Fenton, Paddy Flood, Charlie McIlmurray, he McMahons et al.
    Good on Aine for going to the peelers, but most people in that area would have assumed they were taking a very grave risk by doing that.

    The Irish Times, yesterday, recalled a 1995 speech from Gerry Adams calling on people not to report abuse to the RUC.

  • Only Asking

    And frankly I never believed that the partition of Ireland was an authentic motive for the eruption of violence in 1969

    Because it wasn’t. Was the whole civil rights movement, including the civil rights struggle in the united states all the result of violence in the home?

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Because it wasn’t.”

    Of course not. It was a response to catholics not being allowed to vote, perpetrated by kindly well adjusted men who were diverted by British imperialism from what would otherwise have been carers in social work.

  • Mark McGregor


    imo yourself and RDE do a great disservice to this long overdue examination of a very probably culture of ignoring sexual abuse by some IRA volunteers. How likely is it that those victims, silent for years, now possibly feeling the potential for redress with Aine’s brave stand against Republican aristocracy, when it looks like any such stand will be merely used to advance long held grudges against armed republicanism and attack the provos – not result in any true examination of the abuse they suffered and the system that allowed it to continue and/or not be properly redressed/addressed.

    There is an issue desperate to come out from the shadows, with victims worthy of support and encouragement. That won’t happen with pop psychology, fantasy abuse cycles and turning their circumstance into a weapon.

  • The difference between the civil rights campaign and the provo campaign is that the provo campaign was characterised by counterproductive violence and had no viable vision. What I say about psychosexual origins of the provo campaign does not apply to the civil rights movement.

    And plainly the energies behind the loyalist psychopathic campaign were as sick or worse.

    That IRA violence was symptomatic of an impassioned rage in the Catholic community rather than of political calculation.
    The violence made no practical sense in terms of the cause it was meant to advance, and the best evidence of that is that it was ended without the cause being resolved, when those kids who started it grew up.
    Something pathological and unreasoning drove the violence and allowed it to overwhelm the political advantage of the people it purported to represent.
    Part of the problem was that the leadership was insane, lunatics like Seamus Twomey, Gerry Adams snr and Sean MacStiofain. Idiots and thugs.
    Then the energy was provided by an army of teenagers, mobilised to confront authority and the protestants. It took fifteen years for that madness to be brought under the control of thoughtful and strategic politically minded people.

    So, is there a legitimate question to be asked about the pathological character of the Provo eruption in 1970? I think there is. I have thought it since the start. I saw that eruption and I knew the people. I had known them at school, and the claim that they had political motivation or that they needed a united ireland to be at peace was plain daft.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Bobby Sands starved himself to death as part of a generational protest against child abuse.

  • Well, you tell me what drove Bobby Sands;an illogical and unattainable goal of a united Ireland; the need to have his own clothes;or a reaction to deadlock in the prison?

    The disaster for the provos was that they got dug into a war that could never be won on their terms. The solution in the end was the IRA under Adams conceding that only constitutional nationalism made sense. So if there was no sense to the campaign and if it was self destructive, then you have to ask what unreasoning forces were at work in the minds of those who initiated it.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    What you are basically saying is that the abuse of power in the Catholic home (or school or church) in the past was later reflected in the abuse of power by some within militant republicanism. I suppose the question is, to what extent, since this will apply to some and not others and we simply don’t know how people might have ended up in another environment.

  • That’s right gonzo, it’s a question, not an answer.

  • Mark McGregor


    Malachi is going a lot further than that. He is not suggesting but stating that abuse was child abuse was the engine of militant republicanism.

    While I completely disagree with him, I am more concerned that others wishing to put their head above the parapet and get redress for the abuse they suffered from republicans or was hidden by republicans will maybe feel less inclined to step forward if their suffering becomes part of a political ‘pop psychology’ battle.

    People need the encouragement and space to come forward before people like Malachi cast them as victims of republicanism – not what they are first and foremost, people abused by sexual deviants who deserve support, recognition, justice and understanding.

    Malachi and Ruth’s intervention certainly won’t help the difficult journeys others may want to take when the first brave victim becomes a tool in yet another power struggle.

  • Paddy

    Ex Sticks don’t change.

    That said, the skeletons in the Provos’ cupboards must see the light. No excuses. Let the Provos be probed.

  • Ex Stick?
    Who’s the ex stick?

  • Belfast Gonzo


  • Scaramoosh

    Ireland is a a country that for the last 90 years has been ruled by cronyism, paedophile priests and a tame and complicit police force and judiciary. It is laughable that people are still not prepared to face up to the facts. The IRA were a symptom of a country that was prepared to turn a blind eye to almost everything, as long as the myths were being sustained and played out.

    Half of the Irish population remain weighed down with chips on their shoulders. The other half display a “fuck you” attitude, which sees making money as the perfect defensive foil.

    There is no need for a psychosexual analysis of anything. The Provos and the loyalist typically came from deprived areas. On the Republican side this equated with large families; large doses of Catholicism; drink; gambling, lack of money etc, etc. The IRA, the fanatical purists that they were, with their warped vision of a promised land, offered people a way out; albeit that it was a path that usually led to the graveyard or prison.
    Those that led the IRA (and the Real IRA) often prayed on the dysfunctional and the disadvantaged; in much the same way that the British Army does.

    What the Provos were guilty of, was of perpetrating the notion that their war, underpinned with its notions of Mother Ireland and the Virgin Mary was pure; above reproach. The Adams Family saga has pulled back the veil; ensuring that the self-serving credo of the “Republican Family” will no longer be reverted to
    when wishing to portray their “high and mighty cause.”

    The Republican Family is as dysfunctional as all other families; it has its skeletons and its dark secrets. The mask (or should I say balaclava) is off, and it will not be going back on anytime soon. The troubles kept the lid on dysfunctional
    behaviour on both sides; those that suffered, did so in silence. Not anymore….

  • The Spectator


    You stated in your article that the act of kneecapping had “strong sexual resonances”.

    I suppose the first question is what is your qualification or experience to make such a comment? What’s your background in sexual psychology. Are you Freudian? Jungist?

    Secondly, could you explain the resonance to me, because for the life of me I can’t see the va-va-voom in shooting a knee? Maybe I live too quiet a life.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Malachi’s generational war theory conveniently ignores the fact that republicans ended up filling such a policing void due to demands within many nationalist communities for a form of policing due to anti-social activities.

    It might have been brutal, and hardly an ideal substitute for a properly constituted police service operating within a liberal democratic criminal justice system, but it crudely filled a void which resulted from the fact that the police were a part of the State’s forces at war with the republican community.

    It is interesting to read how Malachi views the motivations of people driven to participate in conflict. Whilst I find it less than credible to dismiss the ability of individuals to come to a conscious decision to join up and take an active role in a military conflict, I am intrigued to know whether or not Malachi believes that soldiers in any conflict are primarily motivated by child abuse at home, or school or other displaced sources for their anger? That would appear to be the only logical conclusion for what he is saying, given that I’ve already pointed out in an earlier post that the circumstances he ascribes to Irish republicans can just as easily be identified as reasons for males joining the US/ British Army, or indeed police forces across the globe.

    Finally, having been educated by some of the Christian Brothers who lived at Airfield House, I think it is important to point out that very many of the Brothers were decent men, committed to fulfilling their role as educators. The Brothers provided an invaluable education for very many people from the poorest parts of Belfast and beyond.

    Having attended Christian Brothers schools at primary and post-primary level, I can confirm I was never abused- sexually or physically- by Christian Brothers or lay members of staff. Whilst one of the Brothers was clearly past his sell-by-date as a teacher, several others- including the ‘Whizz’, Bro. Walsh- were excellent educators.

    The reputation of the Brothers has taken a battering due to the disgraceful behaviour of some, but let’s not attempt to tarnish the lot in the manner Malachi seeks to do. Incidentally, if republicans were motivated by being ‘poorly treated’ at school, then why weren’t there more outbreaks of violence in Belfast and across Ireland- and elsewhere- prior to the late 1960s when corporal punishment in schools (and, yes Malachi, that included non-CB schools) was an accepted practice?

  • Chris I’m not impressed by a rehashing of standard provo self justification for the punishment shootings. It should be clear enough by now that I regard it as mere propaganda.

    And what is sexual about shooting a boy in the thighs? Oh let me think about that one for a while.

  • The Spectator


    I would that you did think about it, because I can’t see it. Do you find it sexually stimulating? I doubt it. I’ve never read about such shootings as sexual in any academic sphere.

    Because at the moment it comes across as you doing a Vic Reeves impression.

  • Mark McGregor

    Sorry before I finally sign off for the holidays…

    Malachi as troll is just a troll. Catch a grip man.

  • Alias

    “I would that you did think about it, because I can’t see it.” – The Spectator

    Err… young man lying face down with the gun as the potent phallus. Guns, torpedoes, daggers, bullets are classic phallic symbols of masculinity and power. If you need images, try Google or watch old movies.

  • seamusmor

    This nonsense of Liam Adams going to a Garda Station in Sligo is another diversion.If he wants to really give himself up why not slip acrtossd the border to Enniskillen or Omagh and cut out the codology of EU arrest warrant,and extradition courts. Maybe he intends to use the “Political Offence” weapon which many IRA used in the past, that it was a political offence or connected to a political offence. Maybe he might say it off active servicde time recreation!

  • Fabianus

    Brian Walker,

    “We are all psychoanalysts now”

    And why not? Psychoanalysis is not an exact science; in fact it doesn’t even approach science, so inexact is it. Can anyone name a practitioner who got it right?

    Good man, Malachi. I touched on the link between violence in the adult and an abused childhood a couple of days ago. I suspect that common sense rather than an over-reliance on faulty shrinkobabble will stand one in better stead.

    Scratch any paedophile (preferably with a rusty nail) and you’ll find a dreadful childhood. Same goes for men of violence. (And yes, I’m including soldiers. For fuck’s sake, what man is his right mind joins an army, knowing he’ll be trained to kill strangers as efficiently as possible?)

    Take a look into the childhoods of despots, if you dare. Abused as children, all of them.

  • Only Asking

    And what is sexual about shooting a boy in the thighs? Oh let me think about that one for a while.

    Maybe nothing sexual about it, maybe its so there is no harm to bones or major arteries? Less likely hood of a punishment shooting going wrong and becoming fatal?

  • Alias

    Only Asking, there is nothing sexual about it unless you’ve read too much Freud and start projecting. Although, Freud’s example of trains and tunnels is true!

    A lot of those folks who were ‘kneecapped’ had their leg amputated as a result.

  • It’s actually very dangerous to shoot a man in the back of the leg because arteries get mangled. It would be much easier to simply break an arm.

    Is it weird to think some sexual kick is enjoyed by the shooter, akin to say, that enjoyed by the teacher who made a boy bend over for a caning?

    But not a lot rides on the theory that there is some sexual resonance in kneecapping. There are more disturbing things to say about it, such as that a small number of men carried out hundreds of these shootings.

    I don’t know those men personally, though I know some of their names. Maybe if they weren’t fucked up when they started shooting kids they were fairly bereft of humanity after years of doing it.

  • Paul

    Oh gawd lol the sinners/trolls/spinners still at it trying in vain with there spinning acts trying to get gerry adams off the hook.Well boys you have failed miserably Adams accounts simply dosnt add up theres questions to be answered and wether you. like it or not.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I think it’s legitimate to ask why people turned out that way. It’s certainly more plausible than saying they were just really really upset about housing allocation.

  • Alias

    Malachi, I would think that a suitable psychiatric explanation for the origins of the behaviour that you are referring to is already present: APD. Violent psychopaths (not a technically correct term but I’ll use it anyway) in NI would likely be drawn to organisations and causes that facilitate their abnormal behaviour in much the same way that paedophiles are drawn to so-called ‘rings’ that facilitate their abnormal behaviour. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry estimated that 3.6% of the population are afflicted with APD (not all of them being violent). That’s a close convergence with the percentage of the population in NI who were involved in the psycho-fest (to coin a non-clinical term) in NI, both violent actors (securocrats and the murder gangs) and non-violent actors (rabble-rousers and general supporters). It would be interesting to know if the incidence of ‘normal’ crime was lower in NI during the period when the psycho-fest was in full swing as that would suggest that these psychopaths were indeed diverted into ‘The Troubles’ and away from the ordinary criminal activity that they would have otherwise been involved in.

    If you look at the Diagnostic criteria for DSM-IV-TR, you’ll see how closely some of our friends in NI match it:

    [i]The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

    A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and the rights of others occurring since the age of 15, as indicated by three (or more) of the following:

    1.failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
    2.deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
    3.impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
    4.irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
    5.reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
    6.consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
    7.lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

    B) The individual is at least 18 years of age.

    C) There is evidence of Conduct disorder with onset before age 15.

    D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

    Deceit and manipulation are considered essential features of the disorder. Therefore, it is essential in making the diagnosis to collect material from sources other than the individual being diagnosed.[7]

    It is a requirement of DSM-IV that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.[/i]

  • Ramzi Nohra

    I dont have a theory – I;’m commenting on known facts.

    You are claiming facts in one case – that “many sex offenders were shot dead”. Then immediately back down when asked for evidence.

    As to the shooting dead of people who went to the police on issues like child abuse – you couldnt come up with a single example.

    The names you came up with were all alleged
    security forces agents, not the same thing.

    You could have advanced your argument without the above examples of hyperbole, IMHO.

    I find your grasp of the pre-69 period astounding. It was all about housing allocation eh? No mention of b-specials. gerrymandering, civil rights marches being beaten off the streets etc. Basically, no reasons which would lead to a conflict situation, in your opinion?

    Malachi may have a point as regards some individuals of course, but I find it implausible it would be behind a movement.

  • Only Asking

    I don’t know those men personally,


    I had known them at school,

    Isn’t your whole theory based on those whom you knew, isn’t it that fact that gave you “authority” to write this crap?

    Stop projecting your own experiences in India, (which may have turned you on and no one else)on to a working class movement, because you were the kid in the play ground who wasn’t liked.

  • Rory Carr

    If, as O’Doherty argues, it is the outworking of a community riven with psychosexual trauma that lies behind Republican violence then, God help us, what must the family life of the British ruling classes be like with their need for nuclear weaponry?

    As for the USA… I don’t think we really want to speculate.

  • I wonder how Pearce would fit into a psychosexual history of Irish republicanism, given some of his poetry (see below)?


    by Padraig Pearse.

    Little lad of the tricks,
    Full well I know
    That you have been in mischief:
    Confess your fault truly.

    I forgive you, child
    Of the soft red mouth:
    I will not condemn anyone
    For a sin not understood.

    Raise your comely head
    Till I kiss your mouth:
    If either of us is the better of that
    I am the better of it.

    There is a fragrance in your kiss
    That I have not found yet
    In the kisses of women
    Or in the honey of their bodies.

    Lad of the grey eyes,
    That flush in thy cheek
    Would be white with dread of me
    Could you read my secrets.

    He who has my secrets
    Is not fit to touch you:
    Is not that a pitiful thing,
    Little lad of the tricks ?

  • Fabianus


    I find your grasp of the pre-69 period astounding. It was all about housing allocation eh?”

    I suspect you’re a stranger to Jimmy’s sparkling wit, which tends to lighten up many otherwise depressing threads.

  • Paddy

    Serving soldiers (British, Irish) armies have awful records regarding domestic violence. One would expect the same with the flotsam who joined PIRA.

    As regards the eupheistically called kneecapping: disfiguring the body is totally against Catholic teachings, morals etc. It is a very alien concept so there is much to chew on there. (And, yes, I know about the castrati etc but this business of mutilating bodies has little resonance in Irish history).

  • Paddy

    The BBC is trying to get into the dark, murky world that is the personal domain of Geerry Adams. It is very much a closed door. IN The Secret History, Moloney speaks of Gerry and Colette snuggling up at IRA meetings, like a pair of love sick teenagers.

    Adolf Hitler chose Eva Braun because she was not the brightest spark, and was a good time girl, up for a laugh. Why did Gerry choose Collette? And where does she stand on all this?

  • Jimmy_Sands


    I see no reasons there for murdering (post 69)1800 people. Some people have shorter tempers than others of course.


    You are too kind.

  • Fabianus


    “You are too kind.”

    It’s Christmas. The rest of the year I’m a frightful wee shite 😉

  • RepublicanStones

    And it feels a little strange to be accused of having a perverse obsession with the Christian Brothers when the whole country now acknowledges that they were abusers.

    I went through a Christian Brothers education, not so much as a pat on the bum. Was I an ugly kid Malachai? Or perhaps Santa has brought you too broad a brush?

    And do the amateur Freud’s on this thread think every man joins a paramilitary group or an army for the chance to blow his spuds as he pulls a trigger? Does this ‘horny trigger finger’ theory start and end with the RA, or is there lots of Brits running about Afghanistan with a root on?

    Please do tell, and Malachai, keep trucking, no need for the Morcambe and Wise dvd’s this yuletide season with your witterings 😉

  • Fabianus

    “Malachai, keep trucking”

    Hmm, so Malachi has converted to Judaism at last.

    Funny that: I get the same inclination every Christmas. I wonder why.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Does this ‘horny trigger finger’ theory start and end with the RA, or is there lots of Brits running about Afghanistan with a root on?”

    In some case perhaps, but there are of course more prosaic economic reasons for enlisting in the conventional military. For those who kill while maintaining their amateur status, some other motivation must be at work. Malachi’s explanation is as good as any I’ve heard so far.

  • RepublicanStones

    Malachi’s explanation is as good as any I’ve heard so far.

    Perhaps thats more of an indictment of yourself Jimmy as opposed to any particular group Malachai has an axe to grind with.

    Btw, you’re still missed on the Daily Hitler blog.

    merry crimbo an all that.

  • Fabianus

    “Malachai has an axe to grind with.”

    Funny, I’d have thought his molars were doing the job as well as ever.

    They’re probably helping Malachi deal with his Christmas nosh even as we “speak”. It’s only saddoes like us who are allowing our lonely voices to be heard on blogs like this, while real people are enjoying the festivities.

  • Alias

    Awww, Fab… did nobody offer you as much as turkey wing? It would be worse if Santa left a sticky substance in your xmas stocking.

    I don’t think that APD explains the origins of the sectarian squabble in NI but it does help explain how those origins served as a pretext that allowed those afflicted with APD to indulge the characteristics of their particular dysfunction.

    Since the incidence of APD among the population is fairly constant in advanced societies, you’d expect all societies to have the same squabbles if all things were equal. But NI is unique among advanced societies in that it has a pronounced sectarian division, so it is the conflict between those two nations combined with APD. That conflict over civil and political rights did not merit a violent psychopathic response, and that irrational response could not resolve the underlying dysfunctional dynamics.

    The only people who gained from that psychopathic response were the psychopaths who organised it. The convergence between the percentage of the population who are afflicted with APD (3.6%) and the percentage of the population who were involved in the violence is hardly coincidental.

    The violence provided cover for APD sufferers to engage their disposition, and the existence of murder gangs provided those APD sufferers with the organised means. The same is often said about the Catholic Church in relation to paedophilia, but I don’t see a paedophile making the calculation that 7 years of training is worth the access to kids when the same access can be achieved via other careers or routes that require shorter preparation.

    However, if there was a paedophile organisation in NI that facilitated that dysfunction in the same way that there were murder gangs in NI that facilitated an APD dysfunction and there was also a culture that excused that criminality then you would have paedophiles creating a higher number of victims than they would otherwise have done in the same way that NI’s murderers created a higher number of victims than they would otherwise have done.

  • Jimmy_Sands


    I doubt the proprietor of the DHB shares your view,

    Merry xmas to you too.

  • Slartibuckfast

    [b]How the sins of the father came back to haunt us all[/b]

    [i]By Gerry Adams[/i]

    So it seems that Malachi O’Doherty’s father was neither a thug nor a paedophile. It is an extraordinary revelation that will now feature in every history written of Malachi O’Doherty.

    Malachi wants us to hear him as an individual speaking though his hole, and, fair enough, we’ll give him that. But it is inevitable that the character of O’Doherty Senior and his effect on his son will be examined for their psychological influence.

    The question is: what formative influence, if any, did the lack of a good beating, given regularly, play in the creation of Malachi O’Doherty’s ridiculous writings on the real cause of The Troubles?

    Not much it might be argued, because even if the father had been an exceptionally evil and twisted man and had beat Macachi like he should have, Malachi, however damaged he might have been, might still have grown up to become Malachi. Still, we can always dream.

    So possibly though the father cannot be blamed wholly for Malachi, because the disclosure that Malachi wasn’t beat hard enough by his father prompts us to look at the revelations about abuse by priests and members of religious orders and ask: so, why the hell didn’t they beat him then like he should have been beaten?

    Malachi O’Doherty lived with a father who wasn’t a brute, but he went to school at the Christian Brothers – many of whom were definitely brutes. Yet he gives the impression of having survived them. How? Couldn’t they have beat him hard enough? Isn’t this a new scandal waiting in the shadows to emerge?

    Isn’t this all a clue as to why he speaks such shite? Because, what if the anger that drove Malachi O’Doherty to write his recent article in The Belfast Telegraph should properly have been directed at his father? Afterall, aren’t children like Malachi really just crying out for a good kick in the hole?

    O’Doherty Senior was just one of a generation of men in Belfast who should have beat Malachi when he was younger, but being his father, he’ll have to take much of the blame for not doing so.

    Malachi’s inevitable denial to himself that this has nothing to do with his article is probably a vain hope and a naive one if he really believes it.

    This also raises questions about what effect Malachi O’Doherty’s writings have had on children. I mean, Christ, won’t somebody please think of the children? What if some of them should stumble upon them and read them?

    Thousands of articles such as that have been written by Malachi. He takes in his hand his long, hard pen, and then covers the soft white page in front of him with sticky goo in a form of abuse that has strong sexual resonances.

    What we need now is not a political explanation for Malachi O’Doherty, but a psychosexual one.

    Because if his father not beating him hard enough can explain why he is just as he is, the appalling prospect is that Malachi may just be being a wanker in the metaphorical sense in order to stop himself being so literally.

    Could he not just define himself with many strokes instead?

    With that thought is mind, just standing in a room with him will feel different now for many who thought they knew him.

  • Slartibuckfast

    “In some case perhaps, but there are of course more prosaic economic reasons for enlisting in the conventional military. For those who kill while maintaining their amateur status, some other motivation must be at work. Malachi’s explanation is as good as any I’ve heard so far.”

    Unless of course they invade Iraq and kill countless thousands, in which case they’re really doing it to find invisible weapons of mass destruction. Isn’t that right?

  • Blair

    Yeah. Never mind all this child abuse stuff. Whatabout Iraq!

  • Alias

    Slartibuckfast, that post is hilarious (No 8). Well done.