“The Cardinal said that he knew that the priest was a very bad man…”

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, Al Hutchison, has published the findings of his “investigation into how the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) dealt with their suspicions that a Catholic priest was allegedly involved in the bombing of Claudy in County Londonderry on 31 July 1972, in which nine people were killed and more than 30 others were injured.”  The full report is available here [pdf file].  BBC report here.  From the Police Ombudsman’s statement

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has confirmed that following the bombing police held extensive Intelligence and other material, which they received from a variety of sources, from which they concluded that the priest was the IRA’s Director of Operations in South Derry and was alleged to have been directly involved in the bombings and other terrorist incidents.

The Police Ombudsman has concluded that this Intelligence picture should have led police to pursue further investigative opportunities, which could either have implicated the priest in the bombings or eliminated him from their enquiry.

The Police Ombudsman investigators spoke to a former Special Branch detective, who said that he had wanted to arrest Father Chesney in the months after the bombing but that this had been refused by the Assistant Chief Constable Special Branch , who had advised that ‘matters are in hand’.

The Police Ombudsman’s investigators have examined correspondence, in which the ACC wrote to the NIO on 30 November 1972 saying that he had been considering “what action, if any, could be taken to render harmless a dangerous priest, Father Chesney..’ and suggesting that ‘our masters may find it possible to bring the subject into any conversations they may be having with the Cardinal or Bishops at some future date…..”

A NIO official wrote back to the RUC on 6 December 1972, saying that the Secretary of State had held a meeting with the Cardinal the previous day, noting “You will be relieved to hear the Secretary of State saw the Cardinal privately on 5 December and gave him a full account of his disgust at Chesney’s behaviour. The Cardinal said that he knew that the priest was a very bad man and would see what could be done. The Cardinal mentioned the possibility of transferring him to Donegal…..”

This correspondence was then circulated to a number of senior police officers, including the then Chief Constable, Sir Graham Shillington, who noted: “Seen. I would prefer a transfer to Tipperary” .

An entry in Cardinal Conway’s diary for 5 December 1972 confirms that the meeting with the Secretary of State took place. It records that he had a “rather disturbing tete-a-tete at the end about C”.

An additional entry in the Cardinal’s diary on 4 February 1973 refers to a private conversation between the two men, during which the matter had been discussed again. The Cardinal recorded that he had spoken to the priest’s ‘superior’ and that “The Superior however had given him orders to stay where he was on sick leave until further notice. “

Father Chesney was subsequently appointed to a parish in County Donegal in late 1973. He was never again appointed to a parish in Northern Ireland. Church records indicate that when questioned by his superiors he denied involvement in terrorist activity. As a result of the course of action police had taken, his denial was never tested. He died in 1980.

And from his ‘Conclusions’

Mr Hutchinson said that he accepted that the decisions made by those referred to in this Statement must be considered in the context of the time.

“I accept that 1972 was one of the worst years of the Troubles and that the arrest of a priest might well have aggravated the security situation. Equally, I consider that the police failure to investigate someone they suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism could, in itself, have had serious consequences.

In the absence of explanation the actions of the senior RUC officers, in seeking and accepting the Government’s assistance in dealing with the problem of Father Chesney’s alleged wrong doing , was by definition a collusive act.

However, collusion may or may not involve criminality. My role in this matter as Police Ombudsman is to investigate police criminality or misconduct. The key police decision makers referred to in this Statement are deceased. Had they been alive today their actions would have demanded explanation which would have been the subject of further investigation,” he said.

As regards the role of Church and State officials, Mr Hutchinson said that his investigation found no evidence of criminal intent on the part of any Government Minister or official or on the part of any official of the Catholic Church.

Mr Hutchinson went on to say , “The morality or ‘rightness’ of the decision taken by the Government and the Catholic Church in agreeing to the RUC request is another matter entirely and requires further public debate. Placing this information in the public domain in a transparent manner enables that debate to take place.”

Adds The Guardian has an updating blog on the report.

Update  Statement by NI Secretary of State, Owen Paterson.

The PSNI have expressed their regret that opportunities to arrest and interview all of the suspects were not taken in 1972.

For my part, on behalf of the Government, I am profoundly sorry that Father Chesney was not properly investigated for his suspected involvement in this hideous crime, and that the victims and their families have been denied justice.

In the course of their investigations both the PSNI and the Police Ombudsman have conducted enquiries with the Department. I can confirm that the Department’s files have been extensively searched and that all relevant documents were provided to the Ombudsman.

The only document referring to discussions about Father Chesney is the letter of 6th December 1972 quoted in the Ombudsman’s report.

And from Cardinal Sean Brady

We acknowledge the finding of the Police Ombudsman that: ‘With regard to the role of the Catholic Church, when informed of the level of concerns others had about one of their priests, they challenged Fr Chesney about his alleged activities, which he denied. In the course of this enquiry the Police Ombudsman’s investigation found no evidence of any criminal intent on the part of any Church official’.

The Catholic Church did not engage in a cover-up of this matter.

As the Ombudsman finds in his statement today the Church was approached by the secretary of state at the instigation of senior members of the RUC.

Furthermore, the Church subsequently reported back to the secretary of state the outcome of its questioning of Fr Chesney into his alleged activities.

The actions of Cardinal Conway or any other Church authority did not prevent the possibility of future arrest and questioning of Fr Chesney.

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  • Alan Maskey

    Those who live by the sword, etc. It was 38 years ago. They’re all dead now

    Paddy: Is Ian Milne dead? I am just going to read an interview with with this top PSF rep now.
    Benny McElwee, brother of martyr Thomas, is still alive and Sinn Feining.
    So is MI5 agent Michael Oakley’s Derry City contact.
    So everyone is not dead.
    I think you have scored a good hit with the SDIRU. But that leads to a lot more questions. Paddy Public Enemey no 1 and his mates had logistical back up. Who were they?

  • PaddyReilly

    Unfortunately I merged two replies into one post. The rest is a reply to the Alan Maskey post just above mine.

  • Alan Maskey
  • Alan Maskey

    Here is Paddy Public Enemy No 1’s mate with the local MP.

    Ian Milne was banged up in the Bog at the time of Claudy so he is in the clear.

  • PaddyReilly

    The Dungiven shop owners to whom the bombers gave the warning described them as 13-17 years old and mentioned a certain make and colour of car, which has not been released.

    The RUC then stopped a man (termed ‘man A’, so probably capable of suing and therefore still alive and of good character) who owned a car of this sort and asked him where he was on the morning of July 31st. He said he was in the Parochial house in Bellaghy with Fr Chesney. It is unlikely that the owner of an unusual car would be only 17 years old, and Father Chesney was about 40.

    Note the absurdity of believing the witnesses’ description of the car, but disbelieving their description of the bombers.

    The history of SDIRU can be found in the Wikipedia articles on Francis Hughes, Thomas McElwee and D McGlinchey.

  • PaddyReilly

    Yes, it is generally best when drawing living persons into conspiracy theories to check out their alibis first.

    Most alibis are doubtful: “I was with me granny all evening” does not carry much persuasion, but I was in the Kesh for 18 months is pretty decisive.

    Mick Fealty has a series of cards for bad behaviour: accusing a living person with a checkable alibi of mass murder I think qualifies for the black “Die now! Die! Die! Die!” card.

  • joeCanuck

    I haven’t quite got it but if there is a potentially libellous comment here you should e-mail mick or admin and they will remove it. They don’t have the resources to monitor everything themselves and rely on us to alert them.

  • Alan Maskey

    Paddy: I am not accusing anybody living or dead. Paddy Public Enemy No 1 could not have driven all three cars and nor could all the persons living or dead who have been mentioned. For the truth of Claudy to be established, some people will have to talk. Those people include the still surviving top guns in Derry City and County PIRAs. The OIRA/SDICU link would also need airing.
    Can of worms. Maybe better to blame an innocent priest.
    You have established that the cars were nicked much earlier than Motorman so Claudy was not on orders from Derry City. But, as you surmise, it could have been Bellaghy youths trying to stick it up the Brits over Motorman.

    But it is extremely unlikey those youths got the gear to make the bombs, had the know how to do it and the places to stash the cars and gear. Learning curves.
    Even if the SDICU was totally independent from PIRA and OIRA and, logistically and tactically, that would not make sense, PIRA would have made it their business to find out who did it. And that leads us back to to the top of the food chain.

  • PaddyReilly

    Even if the SDIRU was totally independent from PIRA and OIRA

    Never asserted. SDIRU inherited the OIRA men who didn’t want a ceasefire.

    PIRA would have made it their business to find out who did it.

    Neither the Catholic Church nor the PIRA are/were organisations for investigating crime, something they lack the appropriate resources for. Why should we be interested in their barking up what may have been the wrong trees? Is this not to muddy the waters even further?

  • Munsterview

    PaddyR.

    There is certain slang used by ex political prisoners and another prison argot that belongs to what Patrick Mahew ( I think) referred to as…….. ‘ordinary decent criminals’, ……..their jails and the circles these ODC’s normally move in post imprisonment.

    Am I the only one ticking off a few boxes here ? May go some way to explaining certain folk who have ‘issues’ ?

  • Munsterview

    PaddyR

    I cannot presume to speak for the PIRA then or now in regard to this issue but I would imagine, given the horrific consequences of the event, the last thing they would want to do, if it was not their operation, is conduct any kind of investigation. If they had that information then there would have been pressure to act on it!

    Had they been known to conduct any kind of enquiry that made them party to the knowledge of who was responsible, it would also have left them open to community pressure, sanction, etc. and could have only presented the organization with a negative propaganda opportunity for its enemies to use then and later against them. They would have been very foolish indeed to have done so!

  • Alan Maskey

    “Then there is the problem that these young mavericks presented to the IRA regulars, both Sticks and Provos in the area……. in a bombing operation there are so many variables to be taken into account and to have freelancers or a micro group drawing unwanted attention of security forces, I imagine, would not be tolerated for too long.”

    Another flip flop, to say nothing of speculation, which he attacked Turgon, a Co Dewrry local for doing. Either PIRA would look into these things or they would not. They would certainly pay attention to major events like Claudy and those higher up the food chain – this is before PIRA’s cell structure – would have a very good idea of who did it.

    So, not all the South Derry PIRA/SDIRU are dead. Some of them are now elected officials, to use a loaded word. Another ex Derry man rose high in the ranks of PIRA and also in the ranks of Stormont.

    These ex Republcans can “help police with their enquiries”. This is what they want people to do about current events. No chapter like Claudy wil be closed until they do.

    Or, perhaps like the troll here, when it suits them, they are like Manuel in Fawlty Towers. They know nothing.

  • Munsterview

    A lot of this ‘thinking in circles’ and obsession with ‘cutting the feet to fit the shoes’ as far as facts are concerned, is very farmilar, Sean O’C, previously from my neck of the woods was rather good at it.

    Same Seanie could never resist the opportunity to give himself a ‘mention in dispatches either’ and a little pat on the back in passing, just to show all how clever he was in putting one over so to speak ! He was also in the habit of taking things a little personal. Theology was never his strong point. Pity he could not contribute here, now there is a man would have known that West of the Bann area fairly well.

    Fairly good at calling up the newspapers too and knew his way around them…….. in fact it was the only he could stay in touch with ‘ the old sod ‘,……… poor sod !

    Made his information second hand and his thinking a bit one dimensional. Bit obsessive these daysfrom what I hear about certain gunmen having the good life while he is sidelined to some dreary backwater estate in middle England where his kind live out the dregs of their grey existence. Funds a bit scarce too I believe as his usefulness has dried up and his knowledge, such as it was is long redundant to his paymasters.

    Thank goodness for the internet, about the only contact the poor chap has with ‘operations’ these days. Never particularly liked me for some reason but then the feeling was mutual!

    Anyone know how he is keeping these days ?

  • Granni Trixie

    Pleeeese…end it now…its no longer about analysing Clauyy. This sniping is pathetic (though preferable to past ‘sniping).

  • Alan Maskey

    Granni: The consensus is mass murder was committed in Claudy on 31 July 1972; Provo apologists find this difficult to accept. If Francis Hughes and Thomas McElewee were involved in this, it would dull their halo and the halos of others would similarly be dented if the truth came out. It is important that problems be deflected Fr Chesney to Paddy Public Enemy Number One, to anyone but from where they should be shone and from whence the truth can come.

    Listening again to Shane MacGowan and just watched documentaries on him. Now there is a genius. He sure has the Irish ballad off pat.

  • Granni Trixie

    Agree about Shane McGowan. Also agree with your analysis. BUT WHAT MORE IS TO BE SAID?

  • Alan Maskey

    Glad you like Shane McGowan. His osng about Mad Dog is good. Speaking of mad dogs:
    Time to write a letter to the paper?.

    Interesting anti smoking letter in the Belfast Telegraph that cuts th “forensic evidenc agianst Chesney and fair play to Prof Rooney. Please also note the comments:the Fr Liam letter has already been discredited.

    Rambling piece on Shillington.

  • tacapall

    Alan have you any information on the Claudy bombing that could be used to convict those responsible and is fact not speculation or take it from me side of the mouth stuff. This whole thread is all based on speculation no hard facts about who done it so why continiously point the finger at certain republicans when really yourself included know nothing but use past experience or past deeds as a yardstick to speculate.

  • Alan Maskey

    Tacapall: Have you any information on Birmingham? I am not the DPP. The last link I gave is a Prof Rooney throwing out the forensic evidence of the dog sniffer?
    We can only go on what we have. Paddy Reilly certainly added a lot with the SDIRU. We are not hindering progress. It is those who believe in omerta. I am sure the Catholic Church will throw open whatever relevant records they have on this case. Will PIRA and the RUP?
    I am not doing any side of the mouth stuff. I am using what is in the public domain. I do not have the facilities of the RUP to robustly question suspects.
    Nobody will serve time for this now because of the GFA. So those perpetrators who are still alive stand to lose something if the truth outs.
    We may wel while a few moments away speculating as we are not paid for this. But the RUC based their case on speculation – on the opinion of a no discredited four legged mad dog.

  • JJ malloy

    How were they both ex OIRA? Adams went with the Provies from the very beginning?

    Do you think McGuinness knows who took planted these bombs? He probably had his hands full in Derry without planting bombs in places like Claudy?

    You ever wonder if the PIRA should have dared and held their ground when the Brits took back the No Go areas? Obviously the end result would be carnage and destruction but it could have been better than 25 more years of low intensity warfare complete with sectarian massacres and bungled bombings. After a pitched battles in the streets the UN might have been pressured to come in and broker things. At the very least it would have created a whole new set of matyrs who stood their ground and fought the good fight, not slunk away to kill a half dozen off duy UDR men a year. Who knows

  • Munsterview

    Just one or two observations

    I responded to Turgon by suggesting that as it was implicit in his article that he knew who these bombers were he should make this information available to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, RUC Mark 2 or whatever they like to be referred to these days !

    Gerry McGeough’s case and the response Pete Baker got to a perfect reasonable request illustrates in regard to the first just how few spots are removed from the fur of this particular leopard and the second that despite the much fanfare openness, transparency, etc they are still willing to act in a partisan way from ground to top and conceal information with a negative impact for Loyalists.

    This is playing politics and is indicative of partisanship ! To suggest that the Police, especially the Special Branch, were impartial back then in relation to Nationalists or Catholics simply flies in the face of all known facts and simply beggars belief.

    The fact that Fr. Chesney was a) the son of a protestant convert to Catholicism, b) a Roman Catholic priest, c) a republican sympathizer, d) an advocate for political prisoners who often appeared at republican fund raising functions for prisoners and e) who had no great regard for the force made him ‘very much ‘persona non gratia’ to them.

    Just he was justifiably partisan in attitude to these forces and not amenable to their usual intimidations, so also we cannot accept their focus on Fr James, or their handling of issues they had with him as detached or impartial.

    The other important initial point I made was that we are supposed to have a new legal dispensation in The Six Counties. If so certain nomenclature are legally required in references to suspects of crimes……. remember the lines from ………’Armored Cars and Tanks and Guns etc on the Internment round up that go………” being Irish means they are guilty, so we are guilty one and all ”

    ” Round the world truth will echo…..” well it has. Some of it has even echoed around the British house of Commons!

    However even that particular truth has fallen on certain deaf ears in the wee North……. Winston Churchill’s observations about ‘Dreary spires’ and ‘ integrity of ancient quarrels intact’ etc’ still have currency even if it is a bit one sided these days.

    I would urge anyone sincerely interested in the presentation of historical narrative to read Murder at Wildgoose Lodge as referenced here in one of my earlier posts. Many issues of historical narrative we are dealing with were live back then in the 1700’s and some of the posts here on the Fr. James issue slot in to the reactions to what became the Wildgoose Narrative as deconstructed on that book.

    It is a sobering read and illustrative of how little things have changed in popular perspectives of historical events! I also recently spend a night working through a 20,000 word section of a proposed Doctrinal thesis for a friend, checking for historical accuracy and it was ironic to see some of the arguments and attitudes of the Planter of the 1700.s also coming to light here in relation to the Fr Chesney and other threads.

    Are the dissidents correct in their claims that the ethos of the ‘other side’ cannot be changed, it can only be replaced……. Discuss ? It would make a good subject for a thread!

  • Munsterview

    JJ

    You should bear in mind that several times in both direct face to face encounters and through third party channels, British politicians gave every indication that they were not ruling out a ‘pull out’ and negotiated with that card on the table, even if face down for much of the seventies!

    At operation motorman time, the IRA had neither the weaponry or the trained personnel that could have allowed the Volunteers to stage a ‘man for man and gun for gun’ confrontation. They would have been out gunned in terms of numbers and if mortars etc were used by the Brits, as they probably would have been, the results do not bear thinking about.

    In political terms the South had also shown it’s hand and the Southern IRA leaders, old and new, had the measure of the ‘support’ likely…… which was zero!

    In fact by then Southern political leaders were getting alarmed at the rise of the Provos and the penny had dropped that while the organization provided a welcome opposition to the Sticks, it was also anti FF and had the potential to become another Sticks politicalized force, but one with greater outreach into communities.

    There would indeed have been a massacre……… the proponents of Low Intensity War would have ensured maximum civilian casualties…… and far from the IRA raising from the rubble, the IRA and republicanism would have been buried in the rubble for all time.

    I personally and all senior republicans that I know North and South believe either the Southern State security forces or the Northern forces could have prevented Omagh both had the information …… it was allowed go ahead to achieve for the Low Intensity War proponents and directors exactly the results that it did.

    It is only in this current year that Militant Republicanism manifesting through what had been dormant IRA members opposed to the decommissioning and GFA have again become active in any significant way. Such was the ‘turn off’ for ordinary Nationalist communities towards bombing that the event removed the tolerance factor. It took years of obstruction antics by some Assembly loyalists to restore that situation and a passive attidute sufficent to facilitate a resumption of operations.

    The IRA in the early seventies was an organization in transition; the organization leadership still had a ‘flying column’ rural fight taking to the hills’ mentality, it took time and young commanders like McGuines, McVirely, McGlinchy to evolve the force into the modern and effective urban guerrilla warfare capability it became.

    The northern leaders instinctively returned to the old tactics of O’Neill…… while you may win an occasional battle like Yellow Ford or in modern terms, a Warren Point, in reality a well resourced Imperial army cannot be defeated. The treasury that supports it however can be bled dry and the political will that supports can be wearied down to the point of negotiation.

    This is not just hindsight thinking, in the late seventies I stepped back to start a family and business as it was obvious at that stage that nothing much would happen for the foreseeable future and many others of my vintage did likewise.

    We were giving it about ten years for politics to become significant, the Hunger strikes completely changed the dynamic for politicalization but that was shaping up anyway and the fault lines for the 86 split were already starting to show as the movement moved towards full politicalization. The strikes but accelerated the process!

    A man for man….defend to the last barricade….. was never on among Republican leaders North and South, back then or with hindsight.

  • Alan Maskey

    Claudy’s injured to sue Poehheads but not the perpetrators. Oh well. It’s a job, and a cheap story line

  • PaddyReilly

    I am sure the Catholic Church will throw open whatever relevant records they have on this case. Will PIRA and the RUP?

    1) PIRA, having disbanded according to the terms of the GFA, does not exist;
    2) It was never a record keeping body.

  • Alan Maskey

    Fr Chesney remembered Lord Tebbitt, having a justifiable laugh at Sinn Fein’s Claudy outrage, states that Chesney was Bishop of Claudy and again misses the mark. One way forward would be to fly certain household names BACK to London and ask them what they know. If this was the work of the SDIRU, led by Francis Hughes and the McIlwees,that would not be good for PSF. But they have weathered much worse so that would be no big deal. PSF will only fall when their MI5 handlers want them to fall. (ok he says Chesney was PP of Claudy, not Bishop. Sloppy by the Telegraph, ok buy the Daily Mail)

    PS: John East Belfast: Don’t make me laugh. The RUC was a totally discredited bunch of hired killers and torturers. No better than the UDR or B Speicals,. Hired thugs.

  • Granni Trixie

    No disrespect to Claudy intended, but I can’t quite believe that this topic is still going. Worth analysing?

  • Alan Maskey

    Granni: Maybe you are right and we should speak about Wayne Rooney’s latest infedility, or |reland’s great victory over mighty Andorra (is it still a cigarette smuggling haven?).
    But some people think these things are important for longer than an eye blink, which is something Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness do a lot of when asked some simple questions.
    Martin McGuinness has given a press conference flanked by the head of the revamped RUC, the PSNI. Martin cannot expect peole to rat on the RIRA etc if he will not answer simple questions about Claudy and other events blamed on the innocents of PIRA.
    Irish politics is fascintating in this regard. British and other politicians might have the odd skeleton or two in their cupboards. Don’t even begin to think what secrets Irish hypocrites hide.

  • Granni Trixie

    Let me clarify. Far from being one of the “why cant they all put it behind them” brigade, I infact advocate resources being put into examining the past and paying attention to victims and survivors. Plus I too do not buy into certain narratives of the troubles either.

    However, of over 500 responses here how many are actually about what happened in Claudy and more about personal workings out of their own issues?

    Anyway, keep on going – whatever helps.

  • Alan Maskey

    The main things about Claudy revolve around who did it , who got blamed for it and why.
    The post, which probably had its own issue, attributes hearsay comments to Conway about someone he did not really know blaming him for a major atrocity.
    Many people do not want the truth of Claudy or similar events coming out.Regarding those similar events, it would help if we knew who was O/C Belfast PIRA on Bloody Friday. Regarding Claudy, it would be of interest to know who actually did it and are any of those who did it or those they reported to still alive. In the course of the posts, forensic and hearsay evidence againast Chesney has been rubbished. A thread like this might not get the truth but it sure raises questions those who can get at thetruth can answer.

  • Granni Trixie

    Stop Press: just heard on the radio that Martin McGuinness has just owned up to having spoken to Fr Chesney a few weeks before he died “as a Rep sympathiser”.

    (must be just back from his hols – probably expecting it would have “blown over”).

  • Alan Maskey

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11229268

    Well done GT. Mr McGuinness has stated that he only met the conveneiently dead Fr Chesney shortly before he died. The truth will out.

  • Did McGuinness go to the death bed of every priest who believed in a united Ireland?

  • Alan Maskey

    Good point Wolf. Post it on the new thread. Let’s hear PIRA’a asupporters brush it away.

  • Munsterview

    wolf,

    No, I would think that he did not !

    However what he would have done, especially if the man was seriously ill was gone to the bedside of a person that he would have known personally from his support for Republican Prisoners fundraising benefits in general area that Mcguiness would also probably have attended.

    The likelihood of what happened in the Claudy terrible event has been well teased out here. There are also strong indications as to who is responsible, at least indications that any fair minded person would accept. However for a minority there is a ‘Let us nail the priest for this one and to hell with the evidence’ attitude’!

    Last night I spoke with a person from that general area who had come back from a recent visit up there and I asked him about the Fr.Chesney flap or if he knew what was behind it.

    According to him, money apparently and the prospects for lots of it…….. certain parties ( and I will give a hint here, they are not from a Catholic or Nationalist side save for the odd disgruntled pesky fellow traveller ) have let it be known that if it can be ‘ pinned on the priest ‘ even in a circumstantial way then the Catholic Church can be embarrassed to pay up for a financial ‘shake down’.

    There is a sectarian Unionist agenda operating here to both offside the Roman Catholic Church establishment and give the money tree a good shake in the process. It is evident from some of the foregoing postings that some people are so spiteful against the republican movement that they cannot see the wood for the trees and are a willing part of the agenda for their own embittered ends.

    As the old saying goes ‘money talks’ and if this is the agenda, it sure had a lot to say here. If my West Tyrone friend is right, the ‘ lets pin it on the priest ‘ bandwagon has just started rolling and it will not stop any time soon!

    Yes indeed probably a new tread coming up……. if so this time can we have direct links to the Orange Order who seem to be the ones stirring the pot in this issue. Why talk to a pesky monkey when we can get the Organ Grinders own views ?

  • For what it is worth, O/C Belfast Brigade in mid-1972 has been named as Seamus Twomey – check out Maria McGuire’s book from 1973 “To Take Arms” (I’m opting for this source since she had recently left the IRA and had no reason to give the wrong name and was writing as a witness). Twomey died in the late 1980s, but I’m sure if you rummage around on the web you’ll get various other sources naming him, too.

  • Mike

    Munsterview

    There is an international border. The lack of visibility to which you refer in reality is a function of:

    1 – The fact that the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man form tthe Common Travel Area – so British and Irish citizens can travel within and between the British Islands and the Republic of Ireland without needing to show a passport.

    2 – The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are part of a customs union, the European Union.

    Ever driven between France and Italy, for example?

    3 – The large-scale terrorist campaign of yesteryear has been defeated.

    By the way, the border is actually more tangible now than it was around a decade ago in some ways. Most of us now have an electronic device that beeps to tell us we’ve entered the UK or the Roi; and there are now two very different currencies in place where previously there were two that were close and could often be used interchangeably.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Yes but we can depend on the OO to stir that pot – so challenge the bigots and their lumpen fellow travellers. The notion that it is only the OO, or unionist, or protestants, which are – or could or should be – questioning the catholic church on this – or any other issue – is in itself sectarian, sinister and untrue, as well as being boring and self-pitying.