Pat Sheehan

McKittrick in the Independent profiles Pat Sheehan, who is following Gerry Adams as MLA for West Belfast. A reflective piece:

Then he came up with an unusual description of the Irish conflict: it was, he remarked, “probably quite civilised, if that’s a proper description to use”. Civilised? Was the IRA civilised, was it a civilised conflict?
“If you look at it in the round,” he contended, “the type of mass killings and genocide in other conflicts didn’t happen here. The IRA, for example, if it had wanted to kill Protestants, could have left a 1,000lb car bomb on the Shankill.
“Here there was never that sort of blood-letting. It probably doesn’t feel like that for victims, and when we were in the midst of it all it certainly didn’t feel like that, but it was certainly less intense than a lot of conflicts.
“People will talk about the Shankill bomb, or the Poppy Day killings in Enniskillen. I would in no way try to justify those IRA operations, but what I would say is that in most of those situations I don’t believe the IRA went out to kill civilians.”

Well worth a read.

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  • Rory Carr

    Is there, I wonder, a secret cabal of ultra-Catholic nutters within the SDLP who all reject the Old Testament completely (in total denial of Catholic theology incidentally) ?

    We have had John O’Connell and now The Word and some other equally unfortunate individual (whose name escapes me) who contine to rant on with the same tired, hoary old nonsense whatever topic is up for discussion.

    I think I’ll write to the Pope and have them all excommunicated.

  • andnowwhat

    Are you serious Word?

    Neitzsche would have had no time at all for the nazis. It was his sister who basterdised his philosophy for the nazis.

    Your comments are just pure ignorance.Sorry, I think you are a good man even though I mostly do not agree with you but you are well off here.

  • andnowwhat

    Hope you do not mind me asking you a question Rory.

    I think that the modern SDLP are a betrayal of the brave, original founders.

    I think SF are a bunch of jokers who, I will admit, do well in certain offices (local issues on the ground and certain politicians such as B De B and Michelle Gildernew as well as Martin when he was in charge of education and now as DFM).

    I am a massive admirer of Bernadette Devlin in her time.

    I am not massively pushing for a united Ireland but the behaviour of political unionism gives me no choice but to want it ASAP.

    Where the hell am I politically?

  • The Word


    While Social democracy is a child of the Catholic faith, and has weaknesses as you point out, the SDLP’s origins are in civil rights and non-violence.

    You might say that the SDLP take their calling directly from the message of Jesus Christ with particular reference to Matthew Ch 25, on the least of God’s children, a very relevant chapter these days.

    In that sense the Pope has no sovereignty over the SDLP in the way he might influence other social democratic parties of goverrnbment and the like who might engage in Old Testament pasttimes like war.

  • andnowwhat

    Jesus was crucified not because he was the son of God but because he was an anorchist.tually put up a

    He is well worth admiration for that and, being a carpenter, can actually put up a piece of flat pack finiture in the time the instructions say it will take

  • The Word


    “The Nazis were German nationalists guided by such philosophies as that of Neitzsche which bigged them up as “superior” beings (Ref Superman) and ran down Christianity as destroying the greatness of Germany. Theirs was just the latest manifestation of the “superior moral framework” of the Old Testament Israelites, who were also involved in genocides.”

    The above is what I wrote. No need to get shirty. Are you denying that the Nazis viewed themselves as superior? Or that Nietzsche wrote “The Antichrist” running down Christianity and its “negative” effects on the greatness of Germany? Are you denying that Hitler was a frequent visitor to the Nietzsche Museum and that Neo-Nazis often visit his grave? So what’s your argument?

    Or is this just another conspiracy to silence debate?

  • Damian O’Loan

    “While Social democracy is a child of the Catholic faith”

    The preferred Catholic political model for nations is Catholic monarchy. When social democracy was taking root in Europe, the Catholic Church greeted it with torture and murder. The inherent contradictions are why Irish republicanism needs to be fully secularised to prosper.

    All off-topic. Gerry Adams’s endorsed replacement in West Belfast does not think Irish unity achievable.

  • The Word


    “The preferred Catholic political model for nations is Catholic monarchy. ”

    No-one is saying that the Catholic Church is consistent. But Catholic monarchy implies a nation state which undermines the “Catholic” in the Catholic Church, and its consequent universalism. The social conscience is the essence of the social democratic model, which translates over all borders and has particular resonance for the treatment of the poor.

    “Monarchy” – that just popes being diplomatic. John Paul II was at one point concerned to lead a movement for social justice that replaced the Soviet Bloc that had collapsed after he was elected Pope. And you’ll still get many from other faiths who will argue that socialism and even communism was the child of Catholicism.

  • andnowwhat

    No The Word.The man’s philosophy was basterdised by them.

    Like many in his time (and before) he saw that the churches were excusing the inexcusable and preaching crap such as the meek will inherit the earth, to supress the natural ire.

    You really did pick me up wrong. Just as you rightly get angry when Christ is manipulated, so do I when this crap comes up about Neitsche.

    Back on topic. I was amazed when Sheehan was picked . I knew his family well and a nicer bunch of people you could not imagine. I remember when hewas on hunger strike and there was aprehension in the air.It would have gone, understandably, mad in my neighbourhood.

    Having said that, shortly after, one of the unionist parties (could not care less which one) picked a convicted lyalist for a council election and the replacement for Iris Robinson is a UDA moll, so there’s NI for you.

    NI politics amuses me. Its a very slow motion bannana skin slip with no clue as to when the victim finally crashes on the pavement. IMHO, taking NI politics seriously is not worth the time.

  • The Word


    I agree that Nietzsche would have rolled in his grave at the Nazis but they loved him, even if they twisted the truth.

    ” the churches were excusing the inexcusable and preaching crap such as the meek will inherit the earth, to supress the natural ire.”

    “pity” or compassion was Nietzsche’s favourite angst against the Christian faith.

    And, of course, the meek will inherit the earth. Didn’t Jesus say so?

  • The Word

    “Gerry Adams’s endorsed replacement in West Belfast does not think Irish unity achievable.”

    This is the danger with someone who comes out with the neo-Aristotelian nonsense that he has come out with. This may be seen as a yearning for civilised empire with more in common with the unionists than traditional Irishness. He’s probably thinking of some kind of independent north away from the peasant Irish.

  • andnowwhat

    It;s hardly Neitzche’s problem if the nazis loved him.

    I have the same problem with Angelina Jolie (see Derek and Clive sketches).

    I am far from an athiest but they rightly lay the blame for most of the worlds worst crimes at the feet of religion(s).

    Most anything can be manipulated. Marx, Christ, Confucious/Lao Tzu. There are war crimes today being perpetrated in the name of Christ amd Mohammed. These are corruptions.

    Think we need another thread BTW. I like discussing this sort of thing but not spamming a thread

  • pippakin

    The question is what does Sheehan mean by a UI is not achievable?

  • The Word


    “Corruptions”, “manipulations”, yes, but not as a valid interpretation of the truth.


    What he is most likely saying is that he thinks that it will not be achieved by Sinn Fein in its present guise. All those honest people who said that the IRA would only postpone Irish unity are possibly getting to him. The realisation that unity was never the IRA goal is another front on which this should be examined. But philosophical intellectualism makes its own friends. The British are closer to him than the Irish.

  • Rory Carr

    Pat Sheehan does not mean anything by it, Pippakin. In fact he never said any such thing.

    That is a fabricated construction put upon Sheehan’s simple reply to David McKittrick by Damian O’Loan in one of his less inspired moments of twisting the words of those who politically threaten his own failing enterprise.

    Read for yourself what was asked by McKittrick and Sheehan’s reply and see how O’Loan has distorted it:

    McKittrick: So back in 1981, as he [Sheehan] sat in prison readying himself for his death, did he assume that a united Ireland would have arrived by now?

    He [Sheehan] replied: “Well, I’ve never had a date in my head for Irish unity.

    There are none, not even on the Unionist side, who would argue that a united Ireland is not achievable just as there are none with any sense who would care to speculate as to when that might happen. There are those of course who would wish that such an outcome might not be achieved although there are those among the unionist community who would not look askance on an All-Ireland political arrangement that they felt they could live with.

    What is not known, and must be seriously in doubt given his comments on this thread, is Damian O’Loan’s commitment to Irish unity.

  • pippakin

    Rory Carr

    I had read the article and the only reference I found was completely misrepresented by Mr O’Loan, which is why I asked the question. I thought Mr O’Loan must be referring to another article.

    Thank you for posting the complete section, unless Mr O’Loan has another reference point, he has made a regrettable mistake.

  • tacapall

    What do you expect Pippakin he’s SDLP and its engage on sight mode for them, they must actually believe they have a chance in West Belfast. The recent letters to the Irish News by the SDLP demonising Conor Murphy is attention seeking considering Alex Attwoods departments role in the loss of water to thousands of households.

  • andnowwhat

    What’s with the use of “intellectual” as an insult regarding Sheehan all about?

    I expect that on the Republican line on C-Span but not on here.

    Regarding the SDLP. They have been playiong a very silly game for some time now. Their constant attacks on SF are clearly more liely to consolidate SF support. That sort of behaviour is not appreciated by many, many nationalists. I think the past elections support that point (I give the example of Joe Hendron’s demise).

  • Damian O’Loan

    That’s nice editing Rory, but you’ve cut out the rest of his answer, which proves you wrong:

    “Well, I’ve never had a date in my head for Irish unity. When you become involved in struggle it’s a sort of lifelong vocation. That’s the way struggle is – there’s no end to it, it doesn’t stop, unfortunately. It’s like Sisyphus pushing the stone up the mountain.”

    Because the point is that Sisyphus never reaches his goal, we know that Pat Sheehan is saying Irish unity is something never to be reached.

  • joeCanuck

    I despair when people continue to engage with an obvious troll.

  • pippakin

    Damian O’Loan

    The paragraph you quoted was in the original article (link given above). It is open to a different interpretation than the one you gave, and in a way Mr Sheehan is right. It is not possible to put a date on a UI. It is something to be worked for. If Mr Sheehan has decided, at last, that violence does not work and only delays a UI, that has possibly hastened the day.

    It is as most people understand an achievable aspiration.

  • Rory Carr

    I see that Damian O’Loan, having been rumbled, now resorts back to his earlier deliberate misreading of the second part of what Sheehan said where he is clearly referring, not to the possibility of Irish reunification, but rather to the Sisyphean nature of political struggle itself.

    I’m sorry but it just won’t wash, best he now retreats to misunderstanding Camus and the tension between existentialism and the fanciful chimera of British ethical pretensions.

  • The Word


    “the Sisyphean nature of political struggle itself.”

    Perhaps you need to look at the methodology of your party with its dreadful attachment to the political work ethic in some disastrous desire to out work every other party. Your party has in reality become a workhorse rather than any bringer of new ideas. Of course, how does Pat Sheehan know without a day of political experience behind him? Probably a good guess and a profoundly disturbing signal to the rest of us that the man with the philosophical position of the (Greek republican) empire has no real ideas.

  • Rory Carr

    The Word,

    You clearly know nothing of me, since I don’t belong to any party and your knowledge of Ancient Greece and Greek philosophy is likewise abysmal, otherwise you would not speak of “the philosophical position of the Greek republican empire”.

    Why don’t you go and join the Freemasons ? Apparently they encourage speaking in gobbledygook to complete strangers (at least according to my pal, Moochin):

    You shall be cautious in your Words and Carriage, that the most penetrating Stranger shall not be able to discover or find out what is not proper to be intimated…

  • The Word


    I could make a good case for you being a Sinner. But my apologies if you haven’t joined the party of the “superior moral framework”. As to the Greek position, I’m just winding you up a bit – as your freemasonry quote just goes to prove. .

  • Brian

    Somewhere along the line this thread derailed.

    Entertaining, though

  • Rory Carr

    The dominant political constituency in Tottenham is Afro-Caribbean, which power-base provided two black men, David Lammy and Bernie Grant before him with electoral walkovers when they ran. And much as I am revered within that community for my sagacity, charm, kindness, good taste, impeccable dress sense, dancing ability and modesty, even I would have difficulty attempting to interest them in the plight of water-deprived ducks in Magheralin. So it is that I see little point in me being a member of Sinn Féin.

    But, I must admit that were I to live once more in Co. Down I could be wooed.

  • Damian O’Loan

    Rory Carr,

    If you think Mr Sheeha

  • Damian O’Loan


    If you think Mr Sheehan answered a question on the democratic process, that’s fine. But the quote is there for anyone who can read.

    He said the quest for Irish unity is like Sisyphus’s quest for relief, that is, a quest with no victory and no end.

    I’d be delighted if I thought he’d embraced the means of Camus – but the end whilst accepting the means is beyond absurd.