What has happened to Strands 2 and 3?

It was sporting of the Guernsey chief minister to defend the cost of setting out eight delegations in a row for the latest meeting of the British-Irish Council in his lovely island. Especially as the main news to come out of it was that “ marine renewable technology isn’t quite there yet.” 125k is an awful lot of tomatoes. It wasn’t much consolation either when  Biffo gripped the assembled statespersons with the news that neither Irish jurisdiction has figured out a way of hitting motorists who hold the other’s driver’s licence with penalty points. Shouldn’t he have convened a special meeting of the north-south ministerial council to tell them that?

In a move perfectly in accord with the Council’s embarrassing irrelevance comes the news that they’re setting up a secretariat – in Scotland. Might they not have managed an hour or two’s discussion on cross border economic collaboration, the role of both sovereign governments in dealing with the past post-Saville, or even a word of two about the timing of a royal visit? Was it for so little that so much was negotiated by so many in 1998?

  • Cynic

    Why does that photo mind me so much of the old Soviet Era pictures of the USSR president announcing the new 5 year plan and the welcome increase in tractor production in the workers paradise

  • Brian Walker

    Good parallel!

  • Munsterview

    Oh for the good old days when Major told Reynols at the margin of a meeting, that he needed Martin McGuiness jailed for Unionist Optics and Albert as the practical no problem type of guy he was agreed and Martin was arrested, up for membership and in Portlaois within a week.

    Now there is a fine example of efficiency from the good old days and I doubt if it cost 125K, of 12.5K or even 1.25K to achieve. Anyway what do anyone expect from Cowen, a solicitor ?

    An explanation as to why something cannot be done and an exorbitant bill for his contribution seems par for the course where Legals are involved!

  • Mike

    “Oh for the good old days when Major told Reynols at the margin of a meeting, that he needed Martin McGuiness jailed for Unionist Optics and Albert as the practical no problem type of guy he was agreed and Martin was arrested, up for membership and in Portlaois within a week”

    What complete and utter nonsense. Why oh why do you feel the need to spout such sub-jackanory drivel?

    Did someone tell you this or did you just dream it up as you typed?

  • Munsterview


    Exactly and precisely what happened. The following is from wikipedia : I assume that if you are capable of drafting a reply to slugger you are capable of conducting a search of facts for yourself ? Then again when did a simple thing like facts ever get in the way of bashing Republicans in some quarters ?

    “……..In the court he declared his membership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army without equivocation: ‘We have fought against the killing of our people… I am a member of Óglaigh na hÉireann and very, very proud of it’.[8]

    After his release, and another conviction in the Republic for IRA membership, he became increasingly prominent in Sinn Féin, the political wing of the Republican Movement………”

    Between the period of Martin Ferris’s release and his election as a TD he apparently had enough alleged road traffic violation summons to wall paper a small room ! post election they all disappeared.

    Republicans who dared stand with Northern Nationalists were subjected to a dirty vicious campain here in the South where the Special Branch could do whatever they liked. Once when arrested under the Offences Against The State catch all I asked that I be cautioned and things done by the book if I was arrested.

    The reply from The Special Branch Inspector summed it all up……. “……. You are arrested under the F*****G Offences Against The State Act, you have no Fu****g rights what so ever…”

    This was the basis the Special Branch operated on and Albert Renyols putting Martin McGuiness in Portlaoise for Unionist Optics was pretty mild as against some of what was done to Republicans in Jail and out of it. When it came to political opponents of the State, the rules did not apply and as for the courts, Southern Judges did not want to know !

  • Mike

    The quote you’ve supplied refers to the arrest and conviction of Martin McGuinness for PIRA membership. (which, by the way, was fully admitted by McGuinness in court as you’ve just said, after he was caught in a car containing explosives and ammunition – so hardly an example of a poor republican being oppressed by Dublin and London!).

    This convition was in…wait for it…1973. Let’s just repeat that: 1973.

    His second conviction was also in the 1970s.

    John Major became Prime Minister in 1990. Albert Reynolds became Taoiseach in 1992.

    So when you claim “Major told Reynols at the margin of a meeting, that he needed Martin McGuiness jailed for Unionist Optics and Albert as the practical no problem type of guy he was agreed and Martin was arrested, up for membership and in Portlaois within a week” – did Major and Reynolds have access to a time machine?

    If they did, I think we should all be told, since this is clearly one of the most exciting scientific advances of the last century, nay, millennium.

    On the other hand, if they didn’t have a time machine (which I rather suspect to be the case) – how on earth did you think you’d get away with concocting a story so blatantly untrue?

  • Munsterview

    One…. I am not disputing the facts of McGuiness’s first arrest and conviction, I think Martin covered that in his own address to the court.

    Two……. his second arrest is also factual…… and this was done for the optics and at the request of the then British PM. to the Southern Taoiseach at the margins of a meeting.

    Three……. I was obviously wrong in regard to naming Reynolds and Majors as the two principle parties involved in that exchange, that was from another incident and I got the two mixed up. My responsibility entirely for having got that wrong, one of the few things that I have since I began posting.

    Given that I am responding to these things in a general way from memory, I would suggest that my record to date in relation to recall of these historical events has been fairly accurate and factual. However in this instance it was carelessness and a mix up of facts rather than a concocted story as you allege : there is no need to concoct anything, the stark record of repression speaks for itself !

  • Mike

    Oh well that’s handy, you’ve simply got the prime ministers concerned completely wrong, but still claim your little jackanory story is “factual”. Got a source for that?

    In actual fact, McGuinness was arrested by the Garda in 1974 having retaken a leading position in the Provos on his release from prison in 1973, and having failed to account for his movements as the Irish authorities had required following that release. He pulled a gun on Gardi when the car in which he was travelling was stopped. And was still only sentenced to 12 months when convicted.

    Having dealt with your ludicrous made-up tale, let’s turn to your laughable “the stark record of repression speaks for itself” (!!).

    McGuinness was a terrorist leader in the PIRA for close to 24 years throughout a campaign of mass murder, rising to head its so-called “Army Council”. During this time PIRA’s terrorist thugs murdered 1700 people. And all McGuinness got was two short prison terms for membership of the PIRA.

    “Stark record of repression”? Both sick and laughable.

  • anne warren

    Mike your last remarks are overkill. What do they achieve beyond antagonising another poster and who knows how many readers?

    Munsterview’s original post was lighthearted and ironical. You pulled him up on mistaken information and s/he admitted the mistake.

    The IRA may have murdered 1,700 people (did not check figures) but I just want to remind you the Shankhill Butchers, the UDA, UVF, UFF etc also murdered and maimed hundreds and the British Government has just apologized for the unjustifiable killing of 14 innocent citizens in Derry (as Mr Cameron called the city).

    Without abandoning your point of view, can you not make an attempt to accept that other people have a different point of view and live and let live?

  • Mike

    Anne, that is quite a bizarre response.

    Munsterview didn’t make a “mistake”, it was a lie, and he only back down to the extent that he got the names wrong – he continued to insist that the Taoiseach had had McGuinness arrested (untrue) at the insistence of the Prime Minister (untrue). And he laughably called the arrest of republican terrorists a “stark record of repression”.

    I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring in killings by loyalist terrorists and the security forces. I was pointing out to Munsterview that a leading figure in a decades-long campaign of mass murder that took 1700 lives serving 18 months in total in prison is not a “repression”. So the question for you, Anne, is why you couldn’t let this mention pass without having to talk about ‘loyalists’ and the security forces?

    As for me, I need no reminding that loyalist terrorists murdered many, many people, mainly due solely to their community background, and that the security forces were involved in all-too-many unjustified killings (including Bloody Sunday which having seen Saville’s conclusion seems to be nothing short of murder). Why on earth did you think I needed to be “reminded”?

    And as for your silly little I’d-like-to-teach-the-world-to-sing conclusion (“Without abandoning your point of view, can you not make an attempt to accept that other people have a different point of view and live and let live?”) – this isn’t about a “point of view”, it’s about historical fact. Munsterview is claiming that something happened when it didn’t – that is not a “different point of view”.

    Finally, I’ll remind you that this is a discussion forum – so maybe it’s a little too much for you, if you’re going to try to stifle any discussion with vacuous statements like “can you not make an attempt to accept that other people have a different point of view and live and let live”. *Rolls eyes*

  • Munsterview

    thanks for having accepted my response at face value, that is all that can be expected from any reasonable person and it is in that spirit also that I take most postings here.

    However, like certain parties seizing on my use of the word ‘ fall ‘ and building a whole North American incorrect hypothesis around this, it has not escaped my notice that there are also a few that pride themselves in their nit picking ability.

    My fault, I did give a hostage to fortune, well two actually, first it was a throw away remark to begin with, as you correctly pointed out, with and my second was to just check a reference for the second arrest while watching something else on tv and not paying too much attention to the actual dates of the events.

    Thirty years in politics with an average ten significant facts a day worth taking note of, is over 100,000 things to remember, I can honestly say that other than other than an occasional date check on the wpedia, what I have posted so far has been done from memory!

    I have an invite for some weeks now to contribute articles to this site, I have not done this so far for this same reason, I cannot spare a day in the library to nail down dates and facts etc 100% for the intended subject matter. I know that even on a general article 99% right, the correct content will be ignored and the 1 % concentrated on by the few of the ‘gotcha brigade’ who delight in that sort of thing !

    Even in my spin PR days I would not have been that petty or mean spirited with a political opponent. However, different strokes for different folks as the saying goes!