Eddie McGrady to stand down

The BBC have just announced that Eddie McGrady has announced that he is not going to stand in South Down at the Westminster election. The speculation is that the new SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie will stand; Sinn Fein have already selected Catriona Ruane.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    That scenario strikes me as being a bit too cynical. If true (about Ritchie) then I suspect Alistair McDonnell and his supporters might feel “shafted”.
    1 Durkan appoints Ritchie as SDLPs only minister to increase her profile ahead of McGrady retiring.
    2 McGradys chosen heir is Ritchie
    3 Durkan considers that the SDLP leader should be based at Stormont asa MLA
    4 McGrady decides he will stay on
    5 Ritchie announces she will stand for election as Party leader.
    6 McDonnell who fears he will lose South Belfast anyway is not going to resign a safe Stormont seat.
    7 Ritchie wins leadership by approx 40 votes.
    8 A month later McGrady decides he will stand down after all.

    Good stroke politics but maybe just a wee bit too cute for delicate souls.

  • DeargDoom

    I can’t see this happening. Ritchie left her council seat under the SDLP policy to end “double jobbing”. Surely she couldn’t be both an MLA and MP, and to do so would be sheer hypocrisy.

  • Mark McGregor

    Ruane..lol..shit on a stick vs. anyone. Hard to call

  • LabourNIman

    Looks like Ritchie’s hardening stance on a UI (and setting her party back 15 years) has been to build up this announcement.

    I pitty the constituency as they are getting two lightweights to choose from.

  • brendan

    It will be an interesting battle alright. Ruane has alienated so many people I am surprised that they have selected her. She is that rarity in NI politics: a SF vote loser.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Eddie McGrady’s decision forced SF into a re think. They will regard South Down as more winnable now and maybe Ruane will suddenly decide to spend more time with her family.

    If Margaret runs and wins will she give up her Assembly seat? That would leave her leading the party from London, the very reason Mark decided to step down.

    Very interesting.

  • DeargDoom

    According to the Bel Tel,

    “The party declined to comment on speculation Ms Ritchie might seek SDLP permission to stand for the Westminster constituency.”

    Sounds like she’s considering a go at Westminster although I imagine she would simply have to stand down as an MLA, in which case, would would become Minister for Social Development?

  • DeargDoom

    *who would

  • slug

    I think it makes sense for her to stand down as minister in order to give a profile to someone else, perhaps Conall McDevitt or Declan O’Loan.

  • DeargDoom

    It does make sense to progress the younger members through the party, but I honestly think Alban Maguinness deserves to be “promoted”. After all he’s an extremely competent and aware politician, despite having the charisma of a coffin lid.

  • Driftwood

    A lot of unionists would have voted for McGrady, simply to keep Ruane (not SF) out.
    He was an old bluffer who made a Westminster career out of Sellafield. Still no actual evidence of those 2 headed fish Eddie!
    Mostly harmless.
    A unionist cannot win the seat and neither can the hated Ruane.
    Ritchie cannot lead an Irish nationalist party from Westminster.
    Alban or Alastair, please step forward.

  • granni trixie

    Enjoyed the 2 headed fish bit.

    But aside from that, I have to say (and it pains me) I sam 100% behind Catrina in wanting the 11+ to be demolished (as a teacher who saw what it did to many children’s sense of self esteem – immoral).

    But she went about the reform so badly! And is now the most hated one. Has no chance in wherever she stands. So why did SF select her?

  • Dunumian

    Interesting times ahead now for the SDLP especially South Down which is regarded as the Jewel in the Crown
    Ritchie as Party Leader will be nominated by “universal acclaim” of the party faithful to contest the Seat –
    I think Sinn Fein will rethink their candidate selection and with Ritchie’s views on the Orange Order a lot of the Unionists will revert to their DUP / UUP roots
    will be a close call

  • Dunumian

    If Ritchie gets the nod to run for Westminster she will face a uphill battle – her rapport with members of the public is so so -she puts her self over as cold remote and hectoring and doesnt have the charisma that the likes of Gerry Fitt John Hume Austin Currie Paddy Devlin had in the early days
    With several hundred votes difference between SDLP and Sinn Fein in the last Assembly Election in 2007 this all points to a dog fight in May

  • LabourNIman

    ‘Ritchie as Party Leader will be nominated by “universal acclaim” of the party faithful to contest the Seat’ – the parties second seriously bad decision in a month.

    ‘I think it makes sense for her to stand down as minister in order to give a profile to someone else, perhaps Conall McDevitt ‘ – lets see if he can actually win an election rather than being handed a seat. He needs to earn a spot at the table.

    ‘I honestly think Alban Maguinness deserves to be “promoted”.’ – completely agree, he’s probably the most stable politician we have in NB and more than capable of gathering cross community support.

  • Sad to see Eddie go, if only because it reminds me of my own age; but it was inevitable. He’s served his constituents and his cause well. At his age, he deserves a bit of peace, quiet and recogition.

    That said … Ah, c’mon!

    The nominations aren’t open yet, so why the poison? Join the Party: put up your chosen white knight.

    That said …

    She can do the job. She’s a bright cookie. Why look beyond that?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I still think that Alban Magennis is being lined up for Chief Justice.

  • nollaig a chara

    Eddie served himself and Downpatrick well…..the rest of the county was an necessary evil

  • Driftwood

    He’s served his constituents and his cause well.

    Well Malcolm, as a famous mathematician wanted on his tombstone.
    At least he did no harm.

    Still waiting on those Sellafield induced multi-headed fish. 30 odd years in the Mother of Parliaments. What a legacy! They can display the specimen (when found) in our new (£13 million) Ulster museum.

    Brian Faulkner told me Eddie was a decent bloke and so he was. But Margaret Ritchie needs a cause, and she hasn’t got one. If SF replace Ruane she’s in trouble.

  • nollaig a chara

    I think Ritchie is in trouble even if it is Ruane she is up against within the county she’s not exactly flavour of the month take Downpatrick out of the equasion and its hard to see where her other strong hold are….

    She’l not get it in Ardglass or Kilough
    She can as good as rule Newcastle, Castlewellan out
    The mournes are not a strong position either
    Kilcoo, Hilltown Mayobridge lol no chance… she’s her work cut out for her

  • The Original Sam Maguire

    SF are stuck with Ruane. They’re not really in a position to parachute someone in against Ritchie and it doesn’t appear that they’ve been grooming anyone with South Down to take from from Ruane – Willie Clarke has a low profile outside the constituency given previous form it would be unusual for SF to switch to a lower profile candidate no matter how toxic Ruane is perceived to be. The only viable parachutees that would have a punchers chance would be Maskey and O’Dowd and as SF are aiming for a 2nd seat in UB in the next Assembly elections you could probably rule him out.

  • nollaig a chara

    But its inside the county that counts Clarke has a pretty rep all round within the county

  • nollaig a chara

    sorry i meant a prety good rep

  • nollaig a chara

    sorry i meant a prety good rep

  • Dunumian

    I think the Rowallane factor will come back to haunt Maggie Ritchie – people in the Crossgar /Rowallane area were furious and disappointed that Terry Andrews a hard SDLP party worker at Constituency / Local Level was sidelined in a recent selection convention for Ritchie’s council seat in favour of her personal assistant Maria Mc Carthy –
    People I think have long memories and Ritchie was never liked and especially more, now and from what i gather it was the people of Crossgar and its locality who put Margaret on the path to where she is today ,back in 1985.
    Nothing has changed there ,one double jobber for another –
    It seems that South Down pardon my pun will be a Battle Royal – it will be interesting to see how Ritchie will perform with SDLP workers thin on the ground and a voting public sick to the teeth with double jobbers and snouts in the troughs etc
    people aren’t stupid and I think May 2010 is going to be a real eyeopener.

  • brendan

    Double jobbing is not the issue that either you Dunumian or indeed the political classes think it is. It is not a big ‘on the ground issue’ at all.

  • Drumlins Rock

    2007 Assembly Results

    SDLP 14,462 (31.4, -3.7%) 2 seats
    SF 14,134 (30.7%, +4.2%) 2 seats
    DUP 8,153 (17.7%, +2.7%) 1 seat
    UUP 4,447 (9.6%, -8.6%) 1 seat
    Green 1,622 (3.5%, +1.8%)
    UKIP 1,229 (2.7%)
    Alliance 691 (1.5%, +0.4%)
    Cunningham 434 (0.9%)
    UKUP 424 (0.9%, +0.4%)
    Conservative 391 (0.8%)
    Labour 123 (0.3%)

    Last Westminister results

    *Eddie McGrady (SDLP) 21,557 (44.7% -1.6%)
    @Caitriona Ruane (Sinn Fein) 12,417 (25.8% +6.1%)
    @Jim Wells (DUP) 8,815 (18.3% +3.3%)
    @Dermot Nesbitt (UUP) 4,775 (9.9% -7.7%)
    Julian Crozier (Alliance) 613 (1.3% +/- 0.0.%)

    first thing is there dosnt seem to be many unionist voting for the SDLP going by these results, and SF arent as big a bogey man as they used to be. Boundary changes make the ward more nationalist and SF leaning, the revised assembly vote has less than 0.5% between the SDLP & SF. The revised boundaries also virtually rules out the “west tyrone fluke” of a unionist sneaking up the middle, appart from the personalities involved the deciding factor could be any SF internal problems that seem to be popping up all over the place, and of course voter apathy.

  • Wabbits

    The thing about the double jobbing argument regarding Margaret Ritchie is that it would be somewhat of an irrelevance as come May most candidates in Sinnn Fein ( Ritchies direct competition)in the General Election will still be doubble jobbers.

    McGuinness, Adams etc and Ruane would only be different because she’s not the local MP.

    I don’t proport to know much about South Down but I would be very surprised if Ritchie didn’t retain the seat for her party. She’s hardly put a foot wrong and is pretty high profile for all the right reasons.

  • Framer

    A party that avoids its leader getting a Westminster seat is ensuring increasing irrelevance and would make the Assembly look increasingly like the old Stormont where reality and modernism were largely absent.

    Double jobbing wasn’t the problem as those who are only Westminster MPs are rarely there anyway. The issue was double salaries and expenses.

    The MLA salaries but not the double expenses are being withdrawn under new legislation.

  • Driftwood

    Double jobbing will not be a factor in the South Down seat for Westminster. Abstentionism and Education will. McGrady was sensible enough not to open his gob about the grammar schools, because he knew the electorate.
    Ritchie will probably limp over the line because Ruane is so despised and incompetent. And there is a high regard for the local grammar schools.
    The SDLP would easily win with Alban or Alastair.
    Just keep schtum about academic selection.

  • Wabbits

    Drumlin Rock

    Your election figures are indeed very interesting but one thing jumps out at me which you maybe haven’t factored. where are the roughly 5500 odd votes that seem to be missing on the nationalist side of things between 2005 and 2007. That’s the people who didn’t bother to vote at all in the Assembly election.

    That is the big question. In all reality the assembly results are not a fair measure when predicting Westminster results.

    Going on the evidence you presented I would agree that it will be a close run thing but it will be knowhere near as close as the few hundred votes here or there that looking at Assembly result last time round might suggest.

    I would say that the missing votes are ,in all likelyhood, mostly SDLP votes. I say this because SF only upped their actual votes by roughly 1500 from Westminster to Assembly.

    The SDLP vote dropped by roughly 7000.

    The deciding factor is turnout. Traditionally Westminster turnouts are a lot higher than for any other election. Primarily because thats all people see and hear about for months leading up to polling day.

    I wouldn’t get carried away with Sinn Feins prospects. No matter who their candidate is. I predict an SDLP hold.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Anyone get the feel for what way SF support is on the ground? you hear of rumblings here and there across the country, but are there many in South down? and are they enough to effect votes, plus will apathy creep in to the Sf vote? like the only real reason a Shinner would vote is to stop the SDLP winnig and boost Catriona’s ego. neither of which seems a good enough reason to drag your ass out of bed for many I guess.

  • Driftwood

    Wouldn’t take anything for granted. Eddie was part of the furniture here. Like an old sofa that wasn’t much use but no-one had the heart to throw out.
    I suppose Margaret Ritchie is the least worst option.
    Maybe Terry Andrews will stand for FF, just for the hell of it.

  • Drumlins Rock

    And we cant forget that John McAllister is going to gain all those “Conservative Catholic” votes 🙂
    Actually it is a big unknown going into this election whether the “National issues” will factor on the door steps, in other words when the old UUP put on thier new Conservative coat will it fit and will it win voters or put them off, chances are being NI it wont make a big pile of difference, but no body really knows untill the big day comes.

  • slug

    We have the good people of South Down to thank for giving us Ruane.

  • RobertNoonan


    Now after a long service .Does anyone know what he stood for.

  • Dec1

    Double jobbing will not be a factor in the South Down seat for Westminster. Abstentionism and Education will.

    Yeah right, nothing bugs nationalists more than abstentionism.

    The only real issue for debate here is how many votes the SDLP win by.

  • Eddie

    Now after a long service .Does anyone know what he stood for.

    Not being Enoch Powell I suppose

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Its odd that Caitriona Ruane is a liability. She has no……er baggage. And was seen as a departure from the usual SF type. Playing for Ireland at Tennis, kinda artsy image (dont mention Colombia).
    The academic selection thing is a bit of red herring …there is no nationalist republican party in favour of selection and no Catholic in their right mind would vote UUP anyway……

    But I am disappointed in McGrady and by extension Ritchie for the choreography of his retiring/not retiring/retiring all designed to facilitate Ritchie who is his protege.
    Its stroke politics of the worst kind.
    Typical of Fianna Fáil but somehow better is expected of SDLP. “Cute hoorism” that deserves to backfire.

    As I mentioned in other threads SDLP has never taken up a seat in the Lords. As a retiring MP of 23 years he would on English terms be an obvious appointment….and perhaps because of my personal antipathy to McGrady (my reasons are unimportant)I have always though he would be at ease in the Lords.
    If I was Sinn Féin in South Down, Id try to make SDLP uncomfortable about any post election thoughts of McGrady taking a Lords seat.
    Of course Ritchies position would be “personal decision” or “we need more not less representaion and Eddie is experienced at Westminster”.

    So Sinn Féin……please feel free to copy.

  • RobertNoonan


    Yes good one.Make them very unhappy. I would say Eddie would love to sit in that horrible chamber
    of unelected has beens.Catriona in humber view has done herself justice in tackling the Education brief, She could have been a bit more savy in presentation.

  • brendan

    “She could have been a bit more savy in presentation.”

    Uh, you think??

  • Rory Carr

    McGrady was a reminder, if ever it was needed, that the SDLP were never really more than the old tame Castle Catholic Nationalist Party which, blindsided by the Civil Rights Movement, was obliged to give itself a makeover. That some on here actually believe that they were the party of civil rights is a sour joke to those involved in that struggle who only ever saw the SDLP’s attempts to alternatively restrict its action or else take credibility for the very actions they decried once they proved popular. Opportunist fucking chancers to a man (and they were all men then, back in the day).

    McGrady inherited control of East Down Nationalist Party (and with it control of Downpatrick U.D.C.) from his legendary Uncle Ned (also E.K. McGrady) who had stood against Faulkner when he first won East Down in 1949, which victory sparked off serious rioting in Downpatrick (my very first riot! Isn’t that sweet?) where the greater length of the hurley over the police baton proved decisive for a while and the volunteer Fire Brigade called out to help quell the rioters somehow found their hoses turned in the wrong direction drenching the cops.

    E.K.’s older brother, Malachy (M.B. McGrady) apart from being senior partner in their accountancy practice (and associated insurance and building society agencies) also acted as chairman of Downshire Hospital Management Committee, the largest single employer in the area.

    So all-in-all nationalist East Down at least and Downpatrick in particular were pretty much a McGrady fiefdom for pretty much all of the 20th century with Uncle Ned pretty much the leader of Nationalist politics since after WWI. It will be difficult for Ritchie to retain that level of support and I expect the bitterness over the Rowallene factor already ably covered by Nollaig a Chara, who also has a good fix on probable district loyalties, will prove to be her undoing and South Down can come into the Republican camp as it ought.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well Mr Carr, I wont labour the point that I disagree with much of your analysis.
    Any resididual hostility about the “Rowallane Factor” would I think be offset by the fact that she is now local girl made good.

    The Rowallane factor, about which I knew only a little has indeed been covered above and an eye opener for me in some respects that adds to my own analysis that McGrady has pulled a “cute hoor” type stroke for Ritchie.

    Of course I am undoubtedly influenced by my own negative feelings towards McGrady.
    Whether SDLP supporters and voters look on this as clever tactics or a rather unpleasant “stroke” is the question.

    What we have in South Down is a safe Nationalist/Republican seat.
    We see SF-IRA closing the gap on the SDLP…and a demographic that is moving in direction of SF
    We see the “resignation stroke”
    We see local girl made good….which will be a mitigating factor in stemming the SF tide.

    On balance Id still think that SDLP are favourites to hold the seat. But for me personally there is an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
    McDonnell must be a very angry man….but he prolly knew it would happen anyway.

    The problem with “stroke politics” like this is that you can only get away with it for so long.
    Eventually the voters dont like it.
    But there is certainly mileage in SF-IRA playing up the “House of Lords” factor or non-existent factor.

  • Rory Carr

    BBC reported that Ritchie has confirmed that she will be the candidate for Westminster. Speculation on her chances about to be aired in a few moments with Séamus McKee. She claims that if elected she will decline to take her salary as MLA and will hand over her Stormont ministerial role to a SDLP colleague.

    I, of course, am hopeful that she will not have the opportunity to exercise these options as South Down comes to its senses and rejects the SDLP once and for all.

  • Garza

    So Rory, she is in fact double jobbing after all the crap she gave about double jobbing. Fantastic start.

  • Rory Carr

    Don’t worry, Garza, she won’t be doing any double-jobbing if my predictions of a SF win turn out to be correct.

    So I suppose in that sense you could say that the voters of South Down can help her retain her integrity – by refusing to vote for her!

  • Driftwood

    I suspect she may get more Unionist votes than nationalist ones. Without them Ruane will win even though she is despised by the Catholic middle class.

    Rory-did you ever get to meet Brian Faulkner?
    He had no time for sectarianism and was an outstanding representative for the Downpatrick area.

  • LabourNIman

    If Ritchie does not win this seat it will be the end of her as leader.

    We must remember that a large section of the SDLP don’t like her and to lose a safe seat (at least Durkan held foyle) will show how out of depth she is.

  • Dec

    He had no time for sectarianism and was an outstanding representative for the Downpatrick area.

    Yeah, internment was great and by no means aimed exclusively at Nationalism.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Nobody ever got to be unionist leader by playing the non sectarian card.
    Faulkner was a dyed in the wool Orange bigot….just like Faulkner….who was forced by circumstances (and Britain) to re-ivent himself as a moderate.
    While Trimble made his name at Drumcree
    Faulkner had done the same on the Longstone Road forty years previously.

  • Rory Carr

    I never met Faulkner, Driftwood and the idea that “he had no time for sectarianism” would have come as a great surprise to the nationalists of east Down of my generation. He was after all the favourite of the right-wing of the Unionist party to replace O’Neill which he eventually did after O’Neill’s cousin, the dithering dodderer, Chichester-Clark was shunted off and was of course the architect of internment without trial over which he believed (with some justification) he had presided over with great success during the 1956-62 IRA campaign. This misjudgement led to the greater misjudgement that gunning down Civil rights marchers in Derry would put an end to street marches and protests against internment and led to the proroguing of Stormont when that proved counter-productive, resulting instead in mass support and a huge swell in recruitment to IRA ranks. Things have never been quite the same since somehow.

    The most popular member of the Faulkner entourage in nationalist circles in East Down was his hunter, Canonball from which he was thrown and died while riding to hounds in 1977. For a time this horse’s popularity was eclipsed only by Arkle and the memory of Never Say Die, Lester Piggot’s first Derby winner on which the whole of Downpatrick betting fraternity (which was then closely equivalent to the male adult population, including the clergy) had wagered heavily following a confident ‘phone call from ” a cousin in England”.

  • Driftwood

    We’ll have to agree to differ on Faulkner, Rory.

    The Arkle Bar in Downpatrick used to be owned by the family of my partner. Her father ( Patrick Crolly) was from Ballykilbeg and not a big fan of a certain orangeman William Johnston.

    As a ‘Green’ High boy we obviously move in different circles, but its a small world.
    You may even remember a Sergeant Mooney.

  • Rory Carr @ 08:17 PM:

    Since this thread has diverted a considerable distance from Turgon‘s original post, I feel entitled to one further off-topic remark.

    Cannonball created a small, but notable record in braining his noble owner-rider. Baron Faulkner of Downpatrick’s life peerage is the shortest of any: less than four weeks. Not many people know that.

    Oh, well …

  • Rory Carr

    Oh yes, Driftwood, I knew Séan Mooney. There was another Catholic RUC sergeant, Fitzpatrick, very tough but he earned respect for being very fair and he took no nonsense from drunken squaddies. He left the area before the Troubles kicked off. There was also a Catholic Head Constable for a time at the beginning of the sixties, McQuaid was his name. His son went to Red High during my time – funny he looked and dressed exactly like a well-off Protestant farmer’s son, all bluff and hale and hearty with big red cheeks and a sly buck-tooth grin, but not a bad fellow really, not meaning any slight on well-off protestant farmers’s sons (or daughters) I hasten to add.

    In 1972 an IRA volunteer who later lost his life while setting a bomb at a target close to Downpatrick lay in wait in the grounds of Faulkner’s house in Seaforde for three days and nights with a sniper’s rifle hoping for a opportunity of target. Faulkner didn’t return home during his wait and the volunteer withdrew. The attempt was not sanctioned by the Army Council who were not apprised of the request for the go-ahead by the two individual AC members to whom the request was initially made but one of them gave the nod to go ahead of his own volition. That AC member is now deceased but the other is yet alive and was until recently prominent in the leadership of the Continuity rump.

    Now, not many people (still living) know that.

  • Driftwood

    You’ll be glad to hear Sean is still living in Downpatrick and his family. The drunken squaddies were presumably from Ballykinlar (I assume you know the place)and now behave similarly, though not in Downpatrick.
    As a child I was a regular visitor to the house in Seaforde. there was usually an Army presence so i’m surprised any murder attempt would have been attempted there.
    You’ll be happy to hear that the Green High has a 20% plus ‘Catholic’ intake and a few Dawkinsian ‘Prods’ go to the Red High and Assumption.
    Any reason no attempt was ever made to assasinate Paisley?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    As perhaps my bizarre screen name indicates, I move in “horsey” (but NOT hunting) circles. …and while I never even spoke to Faulkner, I have heard from enough people that Brian Faulkner (horsey person) was a much more affable person than Brian Faulkner (unionist politician and orangeman).
    Probably true.
    And I can vouch for the fact that Jim Wells (bird watcher) is actually a nice guy.

  • Sean Og

    He had no time for sectarianism and was an outstanding representative for the Downpatrick area.

    Ask the people of Longstone Road!

  • Rory Carr


    I believe there was a preservation order out on Paisley since he represented to the world that voice of unreasoned bigotry that made rebellion itself seem reasonable. Actually the attempt on Faulkner should never have been allowed to proceed as there was a policy against political assassination in the Provisional camp – it was the Official IRA that made the attempt on John Taylor about that time which he was very fortunate indeed to survive.

    I have always been opposed to pollitical assassination and strongly believe that it is a dangerously counter-productive tactic – one doen’t murder the representative of a government, albeit the government of the enemy, with whom one eventually hopes to treat when hostilities end or are suspended.

    Yes, I am aware and pleased at the cross-fertilisation in the previously segregated grammar schools although in my youth there was no animosity between Red and Green and we mixed and socialised and built close friendships freely together and dated girls from across the religious divide – somehow the Green High gels looked hotter to us and the Ballynahinch gels looked hot to the Green High lads.

    But stop…it’s a wee bit undignified to start drooling at my age….

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Carr,
    I think the Official IRA (who of course dont exist according to Trot journos) also murdered two Irish senators (Barnfield????) and Fox (possibly Fox was the Provisionals (far too late to look things up).
    And of course Rev Robert Bradford and Edgar Graham were also killed.

  • Rory Carr

    I believe that you are correct in that Billy Fox was murdered by Provisionals. I knew Billy Fox and his killing not only sickened but actually astonished me as he had been the only Fine Gael representative that had treated with the Provisional leadership examining their proposals for Dáil Uladh and the other proposed provincial assemblies and indeed Daithí Ó’Conaill, then Adjutant-General and driving force behind the 4-province assemblies, had once cited Fox’s open-minded earnestness as an example of how the provincial assemblies could be of appeal to Ulster Protestants in particular.

    But those were early days and a lot of idealism was yet in the ascendancy and I have long believed Fox’s murder to be against the grain of that spirit and rather a consequence of that border sectarianism and deep burning resentments over old land issues that later infected (and to my mind, sullied) that idealism. That consideration however may only be a product of my own naivety.

  • Dunumian

    Near choked on the fish supper yesterday when the “First Minister” Margaret Ritchie told a UTV interviewer that if and when she won the South Down seat that she would give the DSD Portfolio to one of her ministerial colleagues
    -Peter Robinson and Martin Mc Guinness will be saying in the words of that old Dermot Morgan record
    Thank you thank you very much Miss Ritchie …..
    I personally think all this has gone to her head and she has a unsatiable appetite for position power and off course she has happily orphaned her promises on giving up DSD when elected leader and is hell bent on election to do the double – It won’t wash with Joe Public and it clearly didnt work when you were a Councillor /MLA .
    The ink was barely dry on Eddie Mc Grady’s political obituary when Maggie announced she was going to run ….. people are thinking that all this was stage managed over the past few months …and as one contributor put cute hoorism doesn’t work and has left a bad taste … PEOPLE AREN’T STUPID ANYMORE and what the SDLP in South Down don’t reailise their day for taking people for granted are over….cometh the man cometh the hour.

  • Rory Carr @ 09:50 AM:

    a lot of idealism was yet in the ascendancy and I have long believed Fox’s murder to be against the grain of that spirit

    Rarely does one encounter such a casual, dubious, self-serving, gut-churning and crudely-expressed defence of “collateral damage”.

    With that, Goodnight Vienna, My Lai and so many multitudes more. At least the men and women of 1916 accepted the hideous notion of “blood sacrifice” for themselves: their would-be imitators, like Sean Kinsella and his mates, impose it on anyone else.

    Earlier in this thread RobertNoonan @ 12.57 PM asked what Eddie McGrady (remember him? He’s the topic here) stood for. Now, by default, Rory Carr @ 09:50 AM reminds us of certain decencies and humanities.

    Well, Rory Carr @ 09:50 AM,

    No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

  • Rory Carr

    I suggest you read the whole of my post again, Malcolm Redfellow as you seem to have completely misjudged (with extreme prejudice) what I actually wrote. I made no defence for Fox’s murder rather declaring that I was sickened by it and attributing its undertaking to “that border sectarianism and deep burning resentments over old land issues” that infected the Provisional movement in the border areas in particular and which I have long and publicly deplored.

    A little humility and a lot more attention to detail might serve to disabuse you of any notion that you alone have the monopoly on compassion or have inherited the mantle of John Donne.

  • Rory Carr @ 11:15 AM:

    You were “sickened” in your first paragraph.

    Your second paragraph then provided a pretext for the hounding and grisly murder of Billy Fox. You further lower the tone by repeating your specious extenuation in this latest post.

    If the expression sectarianism and deep burning resentments over old land issues is meant to justify Protestants being fair game in Monaghan (at least in those dismal days), spit it out. Then we’ll know where you are coming from. I still reckon that Billy Fox’s “capital crime” was to be too good a republican for the Provos to stomach.

    For the record, the Billy Fox assassination was fully aired here on Slugger back in mid-2007, largely through the mental aberrations of Trowbridge H. Ford.

  • Rory Carr

    “Your second paragraph then provided a pretext for the hounding and grisly murder of Billy Fox.”

    How bloody dare you! I did nothing of the sort. My whole post was written in order to deplore the “sectarianism and burning resentments over old land issues” which I have always felt were spiteful, and demeaning of the best of the Republican ideal but which so blighted much if not most of Republican action in the area, including, I believe the murder of Billy Fox, a man from a different political perspective than mine with whom I had spoken on a number of occasions and found to be courteous, reasonable and very personable.

    That you can turn my outright condemnation of his murder volte face into some weird sense of justification for it, particularly in light of my earlier forthright statement in opposition to political assassination of any poltical figure (including, on previous posts on this site, those of Mountbatten and Airey Neave) speaks volumes more for your mindset, I fear, than it does for mine.

    I have been physically threatened in no mean order by armed pseudo-republican thugs in London for speaking out against the murders of Mountbatten and Neave at the time of their occurrence and I refuse to be traduced by you any more than I would then be intimidated into silence by them.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Dunumian….indeed stage managed resignation……as the very first comment on this thread suggests…..and a tacky piece of “cute hoorism” by Mr McGrady.
    The feedback that I get from some SDLP friends (incrdibly I still have some) is that they are a little embarrassed by the cynical nature of his resignations/non resignations.

    In South Down the sheer tackiness of McGrady/Ritchie would certainly be a factor I would bear in mind . Too tacky for my taste. But I suspect that any reservation that SDLP voters will have in South Down will be offset by the honeymoon period of the local girl made good.

    She will I suspect win South Down.
    You may be right of course…and she could lose.
    Ultimately we will all know the answer in early May.

  • Coll Ciotach

    fitzjames – here is me thinking you were a jacobite

  • FitzjamesHorse

    LOL..Coll Ciotach…I am not THAT old. 🙂
    But congratulations on being the first person to comment on the name….accurately.
    The history of Jacobitism is my alleged field of expertise and there are numerous Jacobite sites on the Internet.
    “they havent gone away you know”
    But I actually use the name for another…even much more silly….reason

  • Rory Carr @ 02:23 PM:

    You do, indeed, deserve a small apology. My dilatoriness in responding was the consequence of attending to the heroic doings in TW2 7BA of thirty men (with substitutes) and a referee.

    That apart, what is your beef?

    In this thread I have suggested that:

    1. Eddy McGrady has proven himself to be a decent guy, and has served his community well enough to be elected, and re-elected to various positions for half a century. That is a tradition of democratic service I respect.
    2. I do not have to agree with every jot, tittle and circumflex of McGrady’s utterances to do so.
    3. You were neatly diverted from the thread to put up a sequence of defences of extremism, including intimations of in-group knowledge of which we, ordinary mortals, had no grasp. All that I found loathsomely repellant.
    4. Specifically, you suggested there was a case for a political assassination of another decent man.
    5. You used weasel words which were obscurantist and objectionable: sectarianism and deep burning resentments over old land issues. In the sentence previous to that phrase being employed, the word ascendancy has a peculiar usage: Freudian, perhaps? Do you mean hostility to Protestants per se? If so, why does the P-word stick in your craw?
    6. Now, I notice your little frothing ignores my other point. Since (I assume) we agree there wasn’t a pogrom in Monaghan, that leaves just one motive for offing Billy Fox: he was just too good, exemplary and decent a democrat to be allowed to live. After all, the shock of the 1969 Election, with FG taking two of the three seats was too, too much for “republicans” (i.e. one strand of republicanism) to accept.

    By the way, your pompous stand on being threatened in London hardly makes an impact. Many, many of us have been there in different ways.

  • Coll Ciotach

    yes – I have been wrestling with your nom de plume – if I recall you negatively referred to Jacobites in an earlier thread which threw me off for a while.

    here is to the House of Wittlesbach

  • Coll Ciotach @ 09:55 PM:

    [Totally off-topic, but I’m bored.]

    You’re right. It’s a good pseudonym. I was helped by finding his Twitter page. By the same token, you, sir, should be a MacDonald.

    The family-tree of the Wittelsbach dynasty on wikipedia is delightful. I wonder which benighted soul gave time and effort to that.

    My recent discovery was Count Roehenstart, a.k.a. [Austrian] General Charles Edward Stuart. He was the illegitimate son of the Archbishop of Bordeaux and Charlotte Stuart. She was the Young Pretender’s child by Clementina Walkinshaw.

    Anyway, the Count Roehenstart thought he had a claim to the Scottish throne, at least, and twice went to visit his homeland. On his second visit, in 1854, he was run over by a horse and cart, and is buried in Dunkeld churchyard.

    Only Anthony Hope would get away with that as the basis for a novel. Yet, I am assured by sources it is true(-ish).

    My interest therein? A distant collateral from Dublin took himself to the Boyne to fight for King and Country. Although a Prod, he loyally stood (or more likely rode) for James Stuart. Not a good career move.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Coll Ciotach,
    There are some who see Jacobitism as a political movement. …right up to including a Divine Right of Kings….no dont laugh….well I cant help laughing myself to be honest.
    My interest is purely historic….and the nom de plume (nom de guerre surely!) has an additional significance to me but we need not go there.

    While toasting “Francis II” and his money laundering cousinage in Bavaria, I hope you observed the tradition of toasting “over the watter (sic)”

    Mr Redfellow, the wikipedia page (and several others of Jacobite and “legitimist” (sic) interest) is edited by a person of my aquaintance.
    My own “edit” that Charles Stuart was a drunken, spousal and woman abuser is not received well.

    Actually Id forgotten I was on Twitter…think I only have two entries.

  • Coll Ciotach

    we are not allowed a glass of water at toasts any longer

  • lamhdearg

    taking of wiki,it shows the pro british union vote in south down has droped from near 25 thousand to under 14 thousand in 20 years,where did they all go and why?.

  • Rory Carr

    Malcolm Redfellow,

    The “small apology” which you acknowledged that you owed to me was, apart from being rather niggardly, then followed by further quite untrue accusations and a pathetic justification for your earlier wrongheadedness.

    On the points you make:

    1 & 2.Your opinion of Eddie McGrady’s record is your own, is unremarkable and requires no comment.

    3. “You were neatly diverted from the thread to put up a sequence of defences of extremism…” – Well no I didn’t. I simply replied to some topics relating to the Downpatrick area that Driftwood and I were sharing and I noticed that you were happy to join in with your little anecdote on the shortness of Faulkner’s term as a noble.

    4. Specifically, you suggested there was a case for a political assassination of another decent man. – That is the biggest lie of all. I made no such accusation but rather attributed to it a motive which I clearly found to be base. That you have quite deliberately twisted your understanding to impute that my words meant the exact reverse of what I actually said is quite unforgiveable and compounded by your last words on the matter.

    5. This point, apart from being practically unintelligible, entirely misunderstands the use of my phrasing which suggested that within the Republican movement in the earlier days of the struggle “a lot of idealism was yet in the ascendancy” which you have for some strange failure of understanding assumed to be a comment on the Protestant Ascendancy which I had not mentioned nor had in mind. The fault clearly lies in that simple failure of yours which along with you being miffed because your little aside on Faulkner was not greeted with the fawning adulation you obviously crave every time you cut and paste from some archive or the other seems to lie at the root cause of your particular offensiveness on this occasion.

    6. Well, bully for you.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: I made no such accusation but rather attributed to it a motive which I clearly found to be base.
    I’m with you on most of your argument – but for you to fall into this trap was very careless. When talking about the troubles *any* attempt to explain an event is treated as an attempt to excuse it.

  • Reader @ 10:08 AM:

    Fair enough. Specious, but fair enough.

    Rory Carr on Feb 27, 2010 @ 09:50 AM gave an “explanation’ of a particular callous and pointless political murder. It was:

    those were early days and a lot of idealism was yet in the ascendancy and I have long believed Fox’s murder to be against the grain of that spirit and rather a consequence of that border sectarianism and deep burning resentments over old land issues.

    I decode that to mean the killing of Billy Fox was some revenge against Protestants.

    Rory Carr‘s “explanation” falls down on a number of points:

    1. March 1974 is not exactly “early days”. The start of the Troubles is usually accounted from somewhere between the UVF attempt at a Belfast Kristallnacht (June 1966) or the murder of Frank McClusky as a direct mood-setter for the Battle of the Bogside (June-July 1969).
    2. There is precious little evidence to support Rory Carr‘s suggested “explanation”. Monaghan has a tradition of electing Protestants, going all the way back to Ernest Blythe in the First Dáil. Neither in Monaghan, nor anywhere else in the Twenty-Six Counties, did the Troubles escalate into Protestant baiting and assassination.
    3. Billy Fox was hardly the archetypal Protestant landlord.
    4. There is a far better rationalising of the Billy Fox murder, which I, too, attempted to give. It stems from the Election of June 1969, when Fox and John Conlan took two seats, leaving Erskine Childers with the single FF seat. Fox’s death cleared the way for Jimmy Leonard (father of the bright and beautiful Anne) to take the vacancy for FF in the by-election. Fox’s fault, in the eyes of the Provos, was to represent an appealing, alternative, democratic and pacific route.
    5. There is no mystery about the Fox killing, no doubt that it was done by a Provo gang: a signed confession was read to the Court.

    Rory Carr‘s ad hominem comments pass me by as the idle wind, which I respect not. If he, or anyone else finds sticking to the facts of the matter as trivial as cut and paste from some archive or the other, that merely is the measure of the man.

  • Rory Carr

    I see that Malcolm Redfelow has again deliberately misappilied my reference to “early days”, which was a clear reference to a period before Fox’s murder when Provisionals like Daithi Ó’Conaill thought Fox to be a valuable voice of influence upon Protestants in the border area worth cultivating, as referring to a later period when he was in fact murdered.

    His speculation as to the reasons for that murder are, I suppose, as worthy of consideration as those that I put forward, but no more than that and as easily dismissed as idle speculation as I had already admitted, when I first aired my views, mine might well be, by finishing my speculation by saying, “That consideration however may only be a product of my own naivety.”

    When I give an opinion, however based upon personal experience, I do find it best to be aware of the possibility of my own fallibility.

    On statements of record however it is best to be accurate and in that spirit I would offer to Redfellow the correction that it was the death of Samuel Devenney, following a savage beating by the RUC in his own home, that sparked off the Battle of the Bogside and not that of Frank McCloskey as he mistakenly asserted.

  • Comrade Stalin


    As perhaps my bizarre screen name indicates, I move in “horsey” (but NOT hunting) circles. …and while I never even spoke to Faulkner, I have heard from enough people that Brian Faulkner (horsey person) was a much more affable person than Brian Faulkner (unionist politician and orangeman).

    [lightbulb appears] I know who you are. I can’t believe it took me so long to work it out.

    When I said you were an Antrim Road Stoop, I was half right. You’re an Antrim Road ex-Stoop.

    Anybody else want to guess who Fitz is ? I’ll not take the pleasure of outing him myself. Think about it – ex politician, pathological hatred of Alliance Party and unionists, doesn’t say much critical about Sinn Fein (but is clearly not a member), has a weird love/hate thing going with the SDLP. Come on folks, it’s obvious.

  • Rory Carr @ 01:17 PM:

    I note the correction in the same open-hearted way it was offered.

    Now, as I recollect that time, Sammy Devenny was done over in the April. He lingered on in hospital until he died on 17th July.

    My memory has Frank McCloskey being batoned near Dungiven Orange Hall, in mid-July. Yes, I’ve checked the dates: Frank died the day after the assault, on 14th July.

    I leave it to others to put those dates in order.

    Whatever. The “coincidence” of those two deaths, the RUC predilection to invade the Bogside (in the previous January and the April episode which involved the assault on Sammy Devenny), and the looming Apprentice Boys March inspired the formation of the Derry Citizens Defence Association that July.

    So, despite your correction, I’ll stand by my statement, if you don’t mind.

  • Comrade Stalin @ 01:54 PM:

    You enjoyed that, didn’t you?

    As I say, I cheated and went to his Facebook page.

    I hope that “being outed” does not inhibit his worthy and pithy contributions here, which I, for one, welcome and appreciate. I don’t have always to concur with them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I haven’t gone to the Facebook page. And looking through this thread again, it doesn’t look like he was going to special efforts not to get named, so I can’t say it’s a big deal. Nonetheless, it was a momentary frission of excitement in the otherwise boring, sterile, election-losing life of an Alliance stooge.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I was hoping though, Mr Fitz, that you could give us your side of the story about how you came to part ways with the SDLP. It’d make for great copy. The version of the story I’d been told was that they threw you out for being a raging bigoted maniac far to the right of Sinn Fein – and that was before the ceasefires. But surely that can’t be the full truth ?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Comrade Stalin,
    “lightbulb”…….I invite you to take the pleasure of outing me.
    But consider that perhaps I would take the Gerry Adams option of denying anything anyway. But I admit to be curious. The only reason you are not taking the responsibility of outing me is that you would prefer if someone else took that responsibility….well its an Alliance kinda thing I suppose.
    I really disapprove of this “Stoop” business…..or “Blueshirt” kinda insult. Although hypocritically I rather approve of using the word “Stickies” to describe people.

    On a general point about internet message boards…..I find that those who use screen names which indicate a particular political preference (say EasterLily or OrangeSash1690 etc) do themselves no favours as we tend to discount even reasonable views put forward.

    But I wonder about the wisdom of Comrade Stalins version of Thru the Keyhole…..like Loyd Grossman he sees “clues” and wonders aloud “who lives in a house like this….over to you David”.
    But I wonder if ComradeStalin has misinterpreted some “clues”….I have always chosen my words rather deliberately but surprisingly truthfully. It is of course not my responsibility to correct any assumptions made by ComradeStalin.

  • Coll Ciotach

    She has declared for Westminster

  • lamhdearg

    Is she pro grammer schools?, If so she’s a shoe in, Even non irish nationlists will vote for her.