The Shadow Peace Process

Malachi O’Doherty had a very powerful piece on Sunday Sequence this morning; the story of Terry Herdman, a young man shot by the Provisional IRA, whose loved ones are seeking answers.

Malachi O’Doherty speaks with Libby Abrams and her daughter, Lisa, Professor Richard English and former IRA Volunteer Tommy Gorman. (Right click, save as for mp3 file)

  • White Horse

    A tragic story. It is galling how Tommy Gorman admits to his own willingness to carry out such cold callous and cowardly killings if ordered. What does he want? A medal.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I didn’t hear any sense of self-congratulation on Gorman’s part in this clip nor have I anywhere else, to be fair to him. On the contrary, he pretty much acknowledges that the whole ghastly enterprise was a terrific waste of time, energy and human life, his own included. He doesn’t quite bring himself to admit here that the analysis on which the project was based was also wrong – an unachievable solution to a problem other than the one that required a solution at the time – but deep down he must know that it was.

  • pippakin

    Each case is tragic and horrible. I wonder if Mr Gorman realises that it is irrelevant which ‘side’ you are on: murder is murder it cannot be justified and an ‘apology’ afterward is, to say the least, too late?

    Rusty Nail appears to be supporting the dissidents but unless the dissidents accept that murder is unacceptable I cannot see the point because they have been accused of doing the same dreadful thing.

    Is the argument that murder by the IRA is somehow worse than murder committed by dissidents? because I’m not sure but if it is it is so obviously wrong it is almost beyond thinking.

  • White Horse


    “an unachievable solution to a problem”

    I disagree. It was an impossible methodology that simple could not succeed. The solution may be achievable through peace.

  • Alan Maskey

    Tommy Gorman is to be applauded for talking. More should follow his example and that of the Price sister.

  • “murder is murder it cannot be justified”

    “A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning and violence breaks the chains – let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!”


    I think your wrong, what you seem to be saying is there can never be any justification for a violent act, which is something I cannot agree with.

  • Nunoftheabove

    I don’t see that as being any more likely now than it was then, for what it’s worth, but my point was that it as unachievable at the time in question. The fact that it wasn’t likely at the time by any means makes the choice of method all the more inappropriate.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Correct Alan, there’s more reality and honesty in these few minutes from Gorman than one could reasonably expect from several hours of HardTalk-type exchange with anyone attached to the SF project that I can think of.

  • pippakin


    No that is not what I’m saying.

    If you kill during a conflict, a policeman, a soldier or even a British MP, that can be called justified. Personally I would rather It had never happened but I understand why it did.

    Picking one of your neighbours or a total stranger for whatever other reason is wrong. In these historical cases the people murdered were colleagues, neighbours or as in the case of Terry Herdman just a young lad someone with a gun, but no guts and no brain, thought could not be trusted.

    I have no patience with the endless comparisons with the British or any other army. No soldier has the right to murder. It makes no difference if they often get away with it. It is still criminal. As for the rag tag bunch of thugs parading around the north they were never an army. I don’t care how badly they ‘marched’,

  • “As for the rag tag bunch of thugs parading around the north they were never an army. I don’t care how badly they ‘marched’,”


    Let me ask you this, during the second Iraq war, do you see a difference between those USAAF crews who launched cruise missiles from the indian ocean, which went on to kill ordinary Iraq’s as they traveled to work, and the suicide bombers who killed British workers as they were travelling on London transport? (Before you ask I would consider both as examples of mass murder)

    I am unsure with your quote above, whether you mean todays armed republican groups, the PIRA, or both?

    What worries me about your take on the PIRA is you seem to ignore the fact victors in the main write the history. Thus what we read about the PIRA’s war, is mainly through the prism of the British State and unionist eyes. It does not mean all we read about the PIRA is untrue, but it does mean we have to poke it with a very cautious stick.

    For example if the Nazis and their Vichy allies had won the second world war, or even agreed a permanent ceasefire with the allies. The French resistance would today be portrayed by much of todays EU MSM as murdering terrorist, which is basically how the German and French media portrayed them throughout WW2.

    Best regards

  • pippakin


    It was much more than a campaign against the British, when PIRA took hold of their own communitites and refused to allow crimes to be reported to the police then meted their own punishment and even invented their own crimes they went too far.

    This is not about what PIRA did to the British, or what the Americans and the Brits are doing to the Afghans etc. It is about what PIRA did to the very people they said they were protecting.

    I’m not interested in false comparisons. PIRA murdered people in the communities they were supposed to be protecting because they could, and the allegations are that it did not stop at murder.

  • “PIRA murdered people in the communities they were supposed to be protecting.”

    And the British forces in Iraq have not done that? Far from being a false comparison it is exact. The debacle in Iraq and now Afghanistan highlights a simply fact, disaster awaits if the past is not dealt with honestly.

  • pippakin


    Are you telling me there is any resemblance between the Brits, or any other army, killing foreigners and strangers and PIRA murdering their neighbours? A seventeen year old was murdered, not because he was a British ‘tout’ or ‘unreliable’ but because a nut with a gun wanted to murder someone and they didn’t care the victim was someone they knew or that he was Irish!

  • Pippakin

    Yes, I am saying there is absolute resemblance, especially for those who gave the orders to those who pulled the trigger. There is little between a British Prime minister’s public reasoning for having his armed men on these streets of Basra, and a senior members of the PIRA army council like Gerry Adam’s for having his armed men on the streets of West Belfast, both claimed they were there to protect the local population.

    Whether it be Baha Mousa the hotel worker who was murdered by the British army in Iraq, or young Terry Herdman who was murdered by the Irish Republican army in the North, what the aforementioned leaders of the armies which murdered these men have in common is they’re attempt to cover up these foul acts with lies and self justification.