The response to Con. Kerr’s murder must be measured yet decisive

So we have another murder of a police officer here in Northern Ireland: Ronan Kerr’s name is added to the list of people killed, not taking part in military activities, for police officers are assuredly civilians, not soldiers; but in his case it seems getting into his own private car. In a time of supposed peace, a young man involved in a peaceful occupation, who was not even working was treated as that most appalling and indeed perverse of euphemisms “a legitimate target.”

We should, however, not be surprised at this murder: the dissident republicans have been trying to murder people, especially police officers for some years; Catholic police officers even more so. The fact that the supposed opponents of what they call the sectarian state of Northern Ireland make a speciality of targeting police officers of the Catholic faith is a particular inditement of their mentality and stands testament to their sectarian bigotry being every bit as bad as that of the loyalist terrorists.

Murdering someone is of course not especially difficult: planting a bomb under a car requires presumably some knowledge of how to make a bomb but putting it there and arming it is probably something which any of us could be taught to do in five minutes. It requires little skill and knowledge and much less bravery. It does, however, require a cowardly, hate filled intent. This was no mindless act: no it was an act of calculated wickedness. The “legitimate target” was chosen for his decision to join an honourable profession, he was singled out for his religious faith and a time and place were chosen whereby he could be targeted with the maximum chance of his murder and the minimum risk to his murderers and their assistants.

Most police officers I know now look under their cars again. When I go into their houses the automatic pistol sits nearby; an embarrassed apology muttered when it is seen that I have noticed it. However, they cannot be on their guard constantly; even the attempts to be on guard can highlight their status to the malevolent. There are only so many times you can pretend to drop your keys in Enniskillen’s car parks.

This murder has already stirred up considerable anger: much of that anger is entirely righteous; it will also reawaken anger and even bitterness from those whose loved one’s were murdered by the last generation of sectarian butchers; again that is not a wrong emotion. However, our main reactions need to be careful and considered.

Firstly all those of us with a religious faith must remember the deceased’s relatives in our prayers: on this Mother’s Day Mrs. Kerr has been given the most bitter of blows. For those who feel prayers for the dead are appropriate I have absolutely no criticism and indeed ask that they do that. Those without religious faith will also stand in moral, emotional and intellectual empathy with the family of Con. Kerr. All that seems so little, so pathetic and indeed inadequate to assuage our anger at this murder and most importantly the heart rending grief of Con. Kerr’s mother, family and friends. However, we must not allow anger to cloud our thinking: this is a time for a decisive yet considered response.

There must be political and policing repercussions from this event.

Last week the last of the police reserve were taken off active duties: that decision needs to be reversed. The simple fact is that the PSNI is below the recommended numbers of officers yet Matt Baggott is proposing to remove several hundred experienced officers from front line duties. Baggott has always been a most political of police chief constables and has stuck doggedly to the idea of “normalisation” of policing. Having armed gangs trying to murder police officers whilst off duty is not normal and it is high time that Baggott got of his intellectual high horse and announced that the PSNI reserve are going back onto the streets. This is no panacea, it is not a dramatic change but it is one which would have practical consequences – a significant number of experienced officers back on the streets. It would also send a political message: the PSNI and society are determined to stop these terrorists. This is also a decision which should be welcomed by all political parties: Sinn Fein and even the SDLP may find some difficulties in the redeployment of the reserve but they have repeatedly proclaimed a new era in policing and Sinn Fein have signed up to support the police. They now need to support all the police including the experienced men and women of the PSNI reserve in their attempts to protect all of us.

It would also be most helpful if senior members of Sinn Fein used this as an opportunity to send a message that they have absolutely no time for anything the dissidents stand for. Adams and McGuinness have condemned this attack and whatever some of us may think about their history that is to be welcomed in so far as it goes. However, a rapid response from local leading Sinn Fein members would be useful: Pat Doherty is the local MP and a response from him would be of benefit.
The neighbouring MP Michelle Gildernew appears to have been giving character references for convicted IRA members wh,o whilst they appear uninvolved in terrorism now, are opposed to the current political dispensation. Gildernew may deny (and may do so honestly) that there is a link between supporting Gerry McGeough and having any time at all for the violent dissidents. Some of the dissidents, may, however, not see it exactly that way. As such now would be a good time for her to come out and publicly, not only condemn this murder, but state that she personally has revised her position of four years ago, and that she would now go to the police about dissidents and their weapons and would encourage everyone else to do likewise. This cancer of terrorism has claimed another innocent life in our community: now is not the time for half measures.

In spite of all the anger and calls for something to be done, it is necessary to deal with this threat severely but also it is important not to overreact. This is a democracy and the rule of law must be upheld by all. As such all must support the arrest of the perpetrators of this crime: arresting them would be infinitely preferable to the production of further “martyrs” for the cause of violent murder.

It is also important to demand very clearly that no so called loyalist terrorists commit any form of retaliation whatsoever. The only people in this society as loathsome as those who committed this act of murder are the loyalist terrorists who have also committed so many murders: they must be pursued with the same alacrity as the perpetrators of this latest crime.

This latest murder does not represent a new threat to security in Northern Ireland: it simply highlights in stark and ghastly relief the reality of the threat the dissidents have been posing for years. It also highlights the dissident terrorists’ supposed dream of a united 32 county Ireland: in reality that dream is one of squalid sectarian murder. We will not stop these people by persuasion: that much seems clear. We also will not stop these people by hysterical reactions nor by stepping outside the rule of law. It is vital for all of us of whatever persuasion to support unequivocally that rule of law and support and actively encourage the whole community to go to the police in order that these murderers are arrested and imprisoned, quickly but in accordance with proper judicial process.

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  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Driftwood,

    “Does the media ever refer to the (usually lack of..) religion of the RAF or RN pilots?”

    I think you are having a bit of difficulty following the conversation what with all the excitement of the RAF entering the discussion.

    We are talking about the religion of the victims not the perpetrators of the illegal killings – whether in Ulster or Iraq.

  • Driftwood

    Interesting pigeonholeing by Sammy there

    Sammy -Is Ballynahinch a Free P town?

    Is Bangor a horrible atheist town that has rejected the Lord and therefore due a Tsunami?

    What sort of town do you live in Sammy? No fish on Fridays?

  • changeisneeded

    “scum who enjoy the political support of the majority of the nationalist population of Northern Ireland

    To their eternal shame.”

    thats a big ould brush there Alf. dirty fenians huh?

    from your earlier comment with
    ArdEoin
    “Politically speaking, the Stormont Assembley, a reformed and rebranded RUC and a continuation of Partition and British occupation is not what the Republican community desired for the future.”

    Alf
    “Why on earth should anyone give a shit what those murdering bastards desired for the future?”)

    same goes for all republicans huh Alf?
    thats me as well you know and i live here..

  • Alf

    “Alf,

    As I understand it Newry and Strabane were the most bombed towns.

    “I’m fairly confident though that the RAF did not engage in Provo style area bombing.”

    Quite right – they didnt bother giving any warnings.”

    Sammy,

    I’m not aware of those statistics, though they would certainly help to explain the removal of Protestants from both towns. I think it is fair to assume that the Provos did not target shops which belonged to people who would have supported them.

    Why would the RAF the Iraqi army about the precision bombs that were about to be dropped on their facilities?

  • lamhdearg

    sammy
    As where back on the Ronan Kerr killing.
    This killing serves no purpose if will not move the cause of uniting ireland on a dot, it will move likely move it back, so why do it, “killing political opponents” i will stick my neck out here, this young man was probaly an irish nationalist at heart, in what way will killing irish nats help unite ireland. so the killing was driven by something else, i will drop blood lust, and use, want/need to kill, remembering if will serve no purpose.

  • Alf

    “thats a big ould brush there Alf. dirty fenians huh?”

    changeisneeded,

    If the cap fits wear it.

    “same goes for all republicans huh Alf?
    thats me as well you know and i live here..”

    Have you ever supported murder?

  • Tweedybird

    Very good articile Turgon, its a pity that some comments by seasoned posters have denigrated into a political debate. It is very sad that we have learnt nothing from our past, RIP Ronan Kerr, his only “crime” was trying to make a better future for us all. The problem I have; it had to be local knowledge to target this young man and as you have stated if the local politicians like Gildernew & Doherty had sent out a quick response of revulsion over this act of barbarity it might,maybe-might, persuade the local nationalists that had provided the security details of this policeman, there is no future in these senseless acts.Furthermore, I believe the expertise in making up and planting this bomb had to come from ex members of the IRA .SF should and could,instead of just condemn this bombing, actively help our police force in removing these dangerous men from our society. ‘ The days of running with the fox and hunting with the hounds’ should be over, Gildernew & Doherty please note.!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    lamhdearg,

    Political destabilisation is the name of the game. They need to make haste as political stability settles in – luckily they dont appear to have the resources to mount anything like a sustained campaign.

    Alf,

    “I’m not aware of those statistics, though they would certainly help to explain the removal of Protestants from both towns. ”

    They inteneded to make Ulster ungovernable – which they largley did – by bombing commercial targets et al – the religion of the shopkeepers was largely irrelevant – I suspect the Provos has a list of ‘convenience stores’ that were easy hits.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Tweedybird,

    “Very good articile Turgon, its a pity that some comments by seasoned posters have denigrated into a political debate. It is very sad that we have learnt nothing from our past,”

    Bit of a contradcition there Tweedy old bird.

  • Alf

    “They inteneded to make Ulster ungovernable – which they largley did – by bombing commercial targets et al – the religion of the shopkeepers was largely irrelevant – I suspect the Provos has a list of ‘convenience stores’ that were easy hits.”

    Sammy,

    How many ‘convenience stores’ did they bomb in Crossmaglen?

    Ulster was never ungovernable btw. All their hatred and violence created a mere pinprick on everyday life.

  • lamhdearg

    sammy
    they can make haste all they like they are carrying a busted flush, they cant all be thick most of them know the game is up, so why keep killing.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “Ulster was never ungovernable btw. All their hatred and violence created a mere pinprick on everyday life.”

    Thats why we had 3 governments and the parties camped out at Stormo for years lol.

    “How many ‘convenience stores’ did they bomb in Crossmaglen?”

    Jeezus Christ Alfie have a heart, the insurgents had to get their stuff from somewhere.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    lamhdearg

    “they can make haste all they like they are carrying a busted flush, they cant all be thick most of them know the game is up, so why keep killing.”

    Ulster society is but one step from where it has come from, North Belfast is like a mini-Balkans, we have no agreement on parades and MI5 are hiding in the bushes – its not as if the raw, or indeed the slightly cooked materials are not there – and we are heading into a recession.

    I wouldnt be so comlacent.

  • Alf

    “Alf,

    “Ulster was never ungovernable btw. All their hatred and violence created a mere pinprick on everyday life.”

    Thats why we had 3 governments and the parties camped out at Stormo for years lol.

    “How many ‘convenience stores’ did they bomb in Crossmaglen?”

    Jeezus Christ Alfie have a heart, the insurgents had to get their stuff from somewhere.”

    Sammy,

    We had direct rule and it governed Northern Ireland quite well. The notion that ‘Ulster was rendered ungovernable’ by the sectarian violence of PIRA is laughable. Life went on interspersed with occasional tragedy. Thankfully today the muppet scum who are trying to carry the torch of republican stupidity forward do not, any longer, enjoy the support of the greater nationalist community. Therefore their successes are occasional and shocking, but even less effective at rendering our country ungovernable.

    The insurgents got off on bombing Protestants. Because they hated them. They hate Catholic policemen because they see them as traitors.

  • changeisneeded

    ok i get it Alf
    All republicans bad, must wear sack cloth and ashes..
    All unionists good and decent , must remind republicans of their place..

    simples

  • Alf

    changeisneeded,

    Perhaps you think that murderers are not bad?

  • lamhdearg

    sammy
    the stomachs of people have allready rejected the slightly cooked.
    complacent is not me.
    i just ask why kill this man, it is not for irish unity.

  • lamhdearg

    Goodnight all.

  • andnowwhat

    Alf, if you think that day to day life in NI was anything approaching normal you need to travel.

    Soldiers on the street and frequent bomb scares were/are not normal unless one lives in a non western civilisation.

  • changeisneeded

    Alf

    “Perhaps you think that murderers are not bad?”

    no i dont.
    but are soldiers murderers?

    Am i still a bastard/scum for being a republican?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Those asking what this achieves are begging the question. Violence in the physical force tradition has always been sacramental rather than pragmatic. It exists for its own sake. It is an end in itself. You may as well ask someone the purpose of organised sports.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    lamhdearg,

    “i just ask why kill this man, it is not for irish unity.”

    Of course it is for Irish unity – feck all chance of success though success.

    Alf ,

    “The insurgents got off on bombing Protestants. Because they hated them.”

    Marty and Gerry are elected political leaders and are feted internationally and in Britian not because they ‘hated protestants’ but because they are seen to have run an insurgency,relatively sucessfully, and for valid political reasons.

    That is why the British government made their peace with the Provos – Unionists like yourself are in denial about this – understandably – because you dont like to admit your own government accepted the insurgents analysis over the views of their ‘loyal’ subjects.

    The current bunch of insurgents are operating against the wishes of the Irish people who have made an historic compromise with the British to retain their presence in Ireland.

    That does not mean they are thugs or blood lusters but are nevertheless extremely dangerous in this volatile neck of the woods.

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    The minds of the murderers that perpetrated this horrendous and senseless car bomb killing must be swamped now with guilt … an insurmountable guilt, else they have no conscious at all, being beyond the virtues and traits that qualify most folk as human and altruistic in nature. The shame that they must feel now for this crime, but that’s if they have any feelings or emotions at all. The disgrace, the indignity …..the shame of this crime is an overwhelming weight on their conscious, a scar, an unforgivable crime, forever on their souls. If only they can understand the sorrow of the aggrieved family of their victim…… but maybe they never, ever paused to think. The shame. They ain’t no Republicans.

  • changeisneeded

    its a sad state of affairs..
    good night all

  • Zig70

    I find the political gaming in the posts a bit sick on this occasion. Time and place. I’m also cautious of the use of the police as a political football, which to me is what the call for the return of the reserve is. Harks back to when the police was seen as unionist. A vote winner, as most joining will be from one side especially as 50/50 is gone.

    A lot of the republican posts left me a bit depressed, old rhetoric, british policemen and all that. Catholic policemen, IMO, are doing more for a UI than these republicans will ever achieve.

    Normalisation of NI society to integrate Irish culture will achieve far more. Work your game plan out to the end where you achieve your freedom without support from both tribes and say to your fellow countrymen ‘let’s reunite’. If you have any political nouse you’ll see it ends with rejection.

    Would that matter to dreamers? Do something useful, get a job or volunteer (not in that way) and make this place somewhere to be proud off. These losers should get a heart and see the suffering caused to this family.

  • son of sam

    Without wishing to point out the obvious,the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein in condemning the brutal murder of Ronan Kerr is breathtaking.We did not hear a cheep when their associates were blowing up policemen in the past decades but now they are all born again.Surely killing policemen is always wrong.Martin Mc Guiness in his radio interviews this morning kept repeating the mantra “peace process”. I

  • Niall

    As usual, political opportunism from Unionists at every occasion, even following a brutal murder like this. Comments demanding that Sinn Fein route out the perpetrators are completely nonsensical.

    These people have no support whatsoever within the Catholic community. Unlike the PIRA, they do not move freely amongst the community, they are not harboured, tolerated or even known. They do not drink in pubs regaling the locals of their exploits. They are pariahs, existing on the periphery of an extreme that no one cares about, never mind supports.

    And starved of any support they will, like the Official IRA in the 1950’s, eventually fade away into obscurity.

    We do not need the return of reservists, nor should we by words or actions, force the Republican community into a corner, whereby they feel persecuted, shunned and under attack for something they neither want nor support. Because if that happens, credence will be giving to the dissidents and attitudes will soften to dissident objectives, and eventually to their methods as well. At present these views are anathema to those of Sinn Fein and its supporters.

    The police response should be measured and targeted, 50/50 recruitment should be brought back to reinforce the notion that the PSNI is a police force that is derived from the entire community for the benefit of the entire community.

    Some of the language used by Matt Baggot and other senior police figures and Unionist politicians is very unhelpful. Using words like ‘hero’, however appropriate, are so intertwined with Unionist entomology around soldiers that it depicts Catholic policemen as being part of a Unionist establishment; these words do not resonate with the Catholic community, they jar. And this tragedy should be felt most strongly by the Catholic community, one of our own, and we should feel rightly under attack from a deluded and sickening sect from within.

  • vanhelsing

    Niall,

    “Some of the language used by Matt Baggot and other senior police figures and Unionist politicians is very unhelpful. Using words like ‘hero’, however appropriate, are so intertwined with Unionist entomology around soldiers that it depicts Catholic policemen as being part of a Unionist establishment; these words do not resonate with the Catholic community, they jar.”

    I don’t believe this Niall. To my mind the useage of said word would be in the context of someone who has given their life to protecting and serving the whole community – which is what Ronan did.

    You start off your thread with a ‘political opportunism’ rant and then end criticising Unionists/MB for calling him a hero! What! Please tell me you spot the irony…

    VH

  • Reader

    ItwasSammy: They inteneded to make Ulster ungovernable – which they largley did – by bombing commercial targets et al – the religion of the shopkeepers was largely irrelevant – I suspect the Provos has a list of ‘convenience stores’ that were easy hits.
    Then wouldn’t it have been easier to burn down all the shops on the Falls Road and then work their way outward? And yet the IRA blew up Bangor town centre in 1972 while there were still numerous targets much nearer home.
    Maybe you have failed to list all of the criteria you think the IRA would have used?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Reader,

    It does start getting a bit surreal when we talk about Protestant shops and Catholoic shops – as I understand it and as I said above I think Newry and Strabane were the most bombed towns – which suggest the Provo commercial targets were not selected on the basis of their owners religion.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    son of sam,

    “Without wishing to point out the obvious,the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein in condemning the brutal murder of Ronan Kerr is breathtaking”

    I’m sure if some hero took a plane from their RAF base and went solo over Iraq for old times sake the British government – including Blair and Cameron(who still supports the war) would give it a bit of condemnation dont you think?

    The poor bombed Iraqis listening to the boul Tony or Davey probably would also think it hpyocritical – in both cases there would arguably be an element of truth in that.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Don’t forget the spiral of violence – The IRA bombing of the Shankill Road fish shop also had fatal consequences for people living elsewhere. That atrocity resulted in the UVF tit-for-tat massacres in Greysteel and Loughinisland.

  • andnowwhat

    The murder of Ronan Kerr is all over the national/British airwaves and I’m kind of divided about that.

    Obviously, it is very worthy as a story but then again there is the issue of the “oxygen of publicity”. I’m very very conflicted about whether that is the right thing to do or not.

    I’d be interested in what others think about this

  • Niall

    Vanhelsing,

    I do agree; it is hard to disagree with the use of words, like ‘hero’ which under normal circumstances are entirely appropriate, while on the other hand criticise other’s political posturing over a very tragic murder.

    When I heard of this, I identified with the fact that I am the same age (25), from the same Catholic background, and work in the same area; law and order, although from different positions. When I read the comments from the Chief Constable and others it jarred. It sounded like the same spiel that is offered in the event of the death of a soldier.

    What I’m trying to say, rather clumsily, is that this was an attack by dissidents not against the police but against the Catholic community. That helps reinforce the separation between the community and these morons. But to describe it in traditional unionist phraseology, it depicts the attack as being against the police, the forces of the crown, the British/Unionist establishment. That being a Catholic policeman is to be a Unionist or British.

    I would accept that its my fault for interpreting these sentiments in this way, but I would feel uncomfortable using such phrases, I think others might feel the same, I would just worry that they alienate the community rather than the perpetrators. I think that should be the only good that comes out of this; to further alienate and ostracise these people from all spheres of society, even anti-Sinn Fein republicans.

  • Lionel Hutz

    What I’m trying to say, rather clumsily, is that this was an attack by dissidents not against the police but against the Catholic community.

    ————————————–

    How so? Surely this was an attack on a young man because he was both catholic and a policeman. It has been felt by all of the community.

    You are being very precious about the use of certain language. If certain people are uncomfortable with calling a police officer, a hero, then perhaps these communities just need to suck it up.

  • nightrider

    the same spiel that is offered in the event of the death of a soldier.

    So.. if it had been a (Catholic) Irish Guardsman murdered, that would have been ticketyboo?

    Nice.

  • Lionel Hutz

    “Marty and Gerry are elected political leaders and are feted internationally and in Britian not because they ‘hated protestants’ but because they are seen to have run an insurgency,relatively sucessfully, and for valid political reasons.”

    ————————————–

    What absolute nonsense. If Martin and Gerry are in any way lauded, it is because they were seen to stopped the insurgency and accepted the ballot box as a means of furthering their goals. Who tells you this stuff?

    ——————————————————
    “That is why the British government made their peace with the Provos – Unionists like yourself are in denial about this – understandably – because you dont like to admit your own government accepted the insurgents analysis over the views of their ‘loyal’ subjects.”
    ——————————————–

    The British Government did not accept the insurgent’s analysis. If they had done, then they would have packed up their things and left. That is after all the PIRA “Brits Out” Analysis. The British Government made peace with the Provo’s because it was very difficult to stop them killing people and because it was in the British national Interest to bring them in from the cold.

    ——————————————–

    “The current bunch of insurgents are operating against the wishes of the Irish people who have made an historic compromise with the British to retain their presence in Ireland.”

    ————————————————

    You see this is sentence is entirely true but where you get it wrong is in implying that this differentiates them from the past bunch. Can you really honestly say that you believe that the PIRA were acting on the wishes of the Irish People. Did PIRA ever get popular support for their actions whislt they were doing them. MMcG oftens cites elections when putting down the dissidents. So, if we were to look at SF’s case, they didn’t get popular support of the irish men and women at the coalface in the north until 9 years after they stopped killing people.

    This is, at the end of the day, the inherent danger of the Sinn Fein stance on violence past and present. Sinn Fein support violence when they did not have the support of the people, certainly a long way off the majority. Even if their was sympathy for them, msot Irish men and women did not agree with their actions. Suddenly we have a ceasefire and the GFA and we are expected to believe that Murder has suddenly become bad.

    The SF condemnation of the acts of dissident republicans cannot be said to be based on any morality or principle. They cannot say that it is wrong to plant a bomb underneath a young catholic policement. All they can say is that it is wrong to do it now. In other circumstances, they would support it – as they did in the past. The objection SF have ot it is simply a practical one.

    This is all very dangeous because this is the legacy of the troubles that is being passed down to the next generation. Sinn Fein’s view on that is being retrospectively endorsed by the Nationalist people and leaving young irishmen and women who did not live in the troubles with a romanticised view of the “the volunteers.” In that context, it is not a massive leap of morality for a vulnerable young irishman to start to back dissident republicans.

  • andnowwhat

    Apparently Ruth Dudley Edwards has called for internment to be introduced in both sides of the border in an interview on Sky.

  • andnowwhat
  • Niall

    Lionel Hutz, Nightrider,

    To be completely cold about this – it should be portrayed as an an attack on the Catholic Community. He was only killed because he was a Catholic, if he had been a Protestant that would have been ‘tickety boo’ in the eyes of the Real IRA or whoever they claim to be.

    If it is seen as such then this will serve to further alienate them from within the fringes of Republicanism, where Republican’s unsupportive of Sinn Fein and the GFA see this as an attack on them, on one of their own. That’s the way I see it.

    I think that’s a useful way to see it and I hope that people who may flirt with romanticised notions of Republican armed struggle, particularly young people, will see it this way too.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    andnowwhat

    “Apparently Ruth Dudley Edwards has called for internment to be introduced in both sides of the border in an interview on Sky.”

    I would be in favour of it if it was limited to certain, extremely annoying West Britons.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Lionel,

    “You see this is sentence is entirely true but where you get it wrong is in implying that this differentiates them from the past bunch. Can you really honestly say that you believe that the PIRA were acting on the wishes of the Irish People”

    I wasnt implying that – I was implying that until the people of Ireland voted (GFA) then the Provos could rightly claim that the British were acting undemocratically and against the wishes of the Irish people.

    Regarding Geryy and Martin being feted – I see you are not contesting that but rather the reason why they are being feted – the whiff of cordite, which hasnt gone way you know -has powerful appeal.

    I put it to you that the removal of the UDR, RUC, Stormo Mark 1, a say for the Irish government in Ulster affairs et al were all products of political violence not on offer before the troubles and coupled with the Provos getting into a gerrymandered government and getting their prisoners out it is reasonable to suggest that the British bought into the republican view.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Unequivocal condemnation of this heinous crime,is sadly lacking,on this Message Board.
    A young man,Twenty-Five years old,brutally murdered,and the *usual suspects*,try and justify it ?

    The dirty,little,sectarian skirmish is over !! Some *slow learners*,can’t accept the result. Shinners were slow learners,once upon a time…………….I have no doubt,these latest,nat/rep neanderthals will catch up…………eventually !!

  • vanhelsing

    Niall,

    Don’t think we’d agree on much but I do see where you are coming from on this one. Prob attack against the RC community and Police.

    Cowards, senseless cowards.

    Nuff said.

  • Lionel Hutz

    “Lionel Hutz, Nightrider,

    To be completely cold about this – it should be portrayed as an an attack on the Catholic Community. He was only killed because he was a Catholic, if he had been a Protestant that would have been ‘tickety boo’ in the eyes of the Real IRA or whoever they claim to be.”
    ——————————–

    Niall,

    so we should use it as propogandan then? Why not just tell the truth! For God’s Sake, it is self-evidently tragic enough without having to twist it.

    It was an attack on a young-man, his family, his friends, his colleagues, his community.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    It is also time they changed the language used in reporting.

    ‘Catholic’ Policemen are shot not becuase they are Catholics but becuase they come from a Nationlaist background.

    The term “Nationalist background” should be used not its religious proxy.

  • Niall

    Lionel,

    I think you are being a little naive.

    “It was an attack on a young-man, his family, his friends, his colleagues, his community.”

    That would be a murder. This was far worse than that. Terrorism is a higher level of crime, as Alex Peter Schmid puts it, it is a “super crime”. This was terrorism. It didn’t matter what his name was, were he lived, who his friends were. The only thing that singled him out was his religion and his profession.

    This was not meant to achieve the death of an innocent young man but to generate fear among others like him. To terrify the Catholic Community so that they don’t look to careers in the police. So, it is very much a crime against the Catholic Community from people claiming to be Republicans.

  • Lionel Hutz

    “I wasnt implying that – I was implying that until the people of Ireland voted (GFA) then the Provos could rightly claim that the British were acting undemocratically and against the wishes of the Irish people.”

    Sammy, but they could not claim their violence was justified. And they could not claim that their actions were endorsed by the people. The Provos were still acting against the wishes of the Irish people. Why can that not accept that? They have to, otherwise its hypocrisy.

    “Regarding Geryy and Martin being feted – I see you are not contesting that but rather the reason why they are being feted – the whiff of cordite, which hasnt gone way you know -has powerful appeal.

    I put it to you that the removal of the UDR, RUC, Stormo Mark 1, a say for the Irish government in Ulster affairs et al were all products of political violence not on offer before the troubles and coupled with the Provos getting into a gerrymandered government and getting their prisoners out it is reasonable to suggest that the British bought into the republican view.”

    Well, I would point out to you that Stormo Mark 1 was prorogued after a dispute between Unionists and Westminster of Law and Order powers. That doesn’t really have anything to do with Sinn Fein now does it?

    The principle of a say for the Irish Government had been agreed since the Council of Ireland as part of Sunningdale. Again, Sinn Fein’s analysis?

    The RUC and UDR were going to have to go. Criticism of both was ahrdly unique to the analysis of Adams and Marty was it?

    You see we could end up in an argument over whether it was the provos wot done it or was it the civil rights marchers – both started in the late sixties, but we are both not going to go there. What is clear is that the settlement reflects what was called for by one group more than the other?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Niall,

    I know what you mean but what I am doing is separating the intent of the murderers with its actual effect. I’m a catholic and I spent all day in Omagh today and I can tell you that I was not afraid. Spoke to couple of cops too in court. Wasn’t afraid.

    People in Omagh are undoubtadly shocked. I went into a newsagents and was buying the Irish News and i said something to the shopkeeper about the story along the lines of “Isn’t it awful?”. He replied, “yeah, its been horrible weekend, with that car crash as well, and that young fella is going to go to prison for death by dangerous driving. His life’s over too?”

    You think I’m naive, I believe the terrorists are naive. This will not strike terror into the community. This will cause grief and devastation to the famil, friends, colleague and the community of Omagh and Beragh. That is the truth. Let it be told.

  • Rather than pretending that the PIRA had the entire Nationalist/Republican community behind their armed campaign and supported them in killing RUC members. Sinn Fein should tell the truth, a section of the above community certainly supported armed actions.

    As a former Combatant I know the truth behind what I say, there was as many against as for the campaign…

    All this talk about condemnation, internment etc is worthless because deep down those who carried-out Saturday’s killing were following the same type of actions conducted by Republicans in the past, whether that be 1919, 1923, 1944 or 1997….

    What is so different between the killing of two RUC men in Lurgan in 1997 or Saturday’s…How can PSF congratulate and support those from Lurgan and condemn those from Tyrone?? It all points to hypocrasy by them…

    Whether Mr. Kerr’s death brings the Republican goal nearer or not isn’t the issue. What is that his family should be given the time and respect to grieve without crocodile tears from career politicans who couldn’t careless about the outsatnding issues which created the conditions in which those people who killed him follow…

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Lionel,

    “Sammy, but they could not claim their violence was justified. And they could not claim that their actions were endorsed by the people. The Provoe were still acting against the wishes of the Irish people. Why can that not accept that? They have to, otherwise its hypocrisy.”

    I wouldnt claim the Provo campaign was justified but nor would I claim the British actions in imposing partition were justified and violently repressing Nationalist resistance in league with the sectarian Orange State. We can clearly see that the majoity of voters in Nationalist Ulster accept the motivation of the Provos going to war as reasonable(though not agreeing with it) or they would not have elected the same insurgents.

    Political change in Ulster since 1969 has been brought about by violence – pretending otherwise is silly, Stormo was collapsed becuase Unionists couldnt be trusted not to start a civil war against a background of violence, even Garret Fitzgerald and Thatch agreed they needed the Anglo Irish agreement to beat the Provos.

    Where we are now may have happened anyway but we can put down our little war to the stupidity of Unionisists and the stubborness of the insurgents and the British.

  • Lionel Hutz

    ArdEoin,

    Having disagreed with you previously, I am in total agreement with you now.

    It is hypocrisy from Sinn Fein. The condemnation from politicians is probably neccessary but the reality is that it has been the comments from the constable’s mother which will truly resonate.

    I’d ask you though, as a former combatant, how do you square that circle. Can you condemn the bombing on saturday and condemn the murders during the troubles?

  • Lionel Hutz

    Sammy,

    This is difficulty of arguing what would have happened. No-one can say what would have happened had there not been violence, because no-one knows. I would agree that the political change happened against the backdrop of violence. Was political change already beginning from O’Neill’s government – and where would that road have eventually taken us? History suggests its very hard to stop that change when it starts.

    The violence changed the course of history, of that there is no doubt. I would argue that it certainly was not worth the violence.

    The important point is your first paragraph (leaving aside the whataboutery). Most nationalists believe the actions of the insurgents were atleast understandable, in the context of the times. But it must be made clear to future generations that, however understable, however “reasonabl[y]” motivated, it was wrong. My difficulty is that Sinn Fein do not say it was wrong. They do not condemn the actions of the PIRA (they dont have to condemn the people). And i believe that this is a dangerous message to send to the next generation.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Lionel Hutz,

    SF have condemned the latest killing and believe they were justified themselves in the conditions that prevailed at the time but are not justified now – most Nationalists accept, as you agree, the rationale behind the Provo campaign.

    The Provos are as likley to say they were wrong as David Cameron is to say that he is ashamed of the role the British army had in fighting the insurgents. The war is over.

    The dissers want to start another war and will be judged against their own rationale for doing so – most Nationlaists will continue to completely reject their violence in the changed cirumstances where Britian has made an honest effort to put right the mess of partition – got rid of the RUC, UDR, given the Iirsh government a say in Ulster’s affairs etc,etc.

  • Lionel Hutz

    SF have condemned the latest killing and believe they were justified themselves in the conditions that prevailed at the time but are not justified now – most Nationalists accept, as you agree, the rationale behind the Provo campaign.
    ————————-

    Well as long as the nationalist community accept this duplicity, then we will always have this problem

  • Mr Crumlin

    I see Peter Robinson is attending Ronan Kerr’s funeral – another positive step out of this sorry affair.

    Are we witnessing the first genuine leader of unionism? The comparison between Robinson and Elliott is vast.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Lionel,

    “Well as long as the nationalist community accept this duplicity, then we will always have this problem”

    That is a (self serving) nonsense. Nationalists can make the distinction between 2 seperate orgnaisations operating in different circumstances – perhaps you didnt notice that we had a peace process.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Sammy,

    “Nationalists can make the distinction between 2 seperate orgnaisations operating in different circumstances – perhaps you didnt notice that we had a peace process.”

    Its not nonsnese, not If it becomes conventional wisdom passed down to the next generation that there is an acceptable time to bomb policemen and like. Most people will continue to disagree with this, as they always have done. Of the minority of Irishmen who will agree with that stance, the majority will be able to draw a distinction but there is minority – people who have not experienced the same peace dividend – who are vulnerable to being indoctrinated into this violent dissident group. As I’ve said before, there is no real leap in terms of morality. Its just practicalities

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Lionel,

    “that there is an acceptable time to bomb policemen and like”

    So was it acceptable to shoot the RIC?

  • tacapall

    The reality is that those republicans who dont believe that politics will bring a United Ireland closer at this time will continue to frustrate the political efforts of Sinn Fein, Unionism and the British government in bringing the illusion of normality to this part of Ireland. that is what they believe and regardless of what people say they obviously have some level of support. What has changed in regards to Britains position as sole authority in the six counties, what has changed in the Unionist mindset in regards to their role, the RUC’s role, the UDR’s role and the role of loyalist paramilitaries in the past conflict – nothing, they regard their actions as reactionary, neccessary and somehow defendable because of republican violence. Are those police officers who controlled and protected murder gangs, terrorists, are those British soldiers who murdered innocent civilians in Derry and elsewhere terrorists, will they be actively pursued by the HET and brought before the courts. Sinn Fein, the DUP, SDLP, UUP etc can talk all they like up at Stormont and pretend they have power but they cannot introduce laws or enact anything that the British feel is not in their (Britains) interests.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    The “reality” is that Irish Republicans wouldn’t recognise ‘reality’ if it exploded prematurely in their face. They will, regretfully, bang on about the British as something other and delude themselves that the British do not inhabit Northern Ireland alongside them. Like the poor I fear they will always be with us.

    In my more benign moments I tend to give them a by-ball. After all being on the losing side for eight hundred odd years with no end in sight has gotta sting.

  • vanhelsing

    I see that some of our republican ‘usual suspect’s’ here on Slugger seemingly have not been able to get to a PC for the last few days as they haven’t posted on any of the threads on Ronans death.

    Noted. VH

  • Brian

    What a tragedy. I felt physically ill when I heard the news.

    These killers have no conscience…they should be caught and unceremoniously hung….

  • tacapall

    Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    “The murderers swim freely within the Nationalist community. That community will not give them up and so two years after the murder of Stephen Carroll another officer is murdered.

    The headlong rush to render the police ‘fit’ to police the society envisaged by Patten, a society that does not exist whatever the progress made in Northern Ireland, has so eroded the organisation’s counter-terrorist capabilities that it is not able to met the challenges it faces”.

    Thats the mentality Im talking about.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    t,

    Glad you picked up on that. Any further improvement in your reading material and I think we’ll have a convert on our hands.

  • HeinzGuderian

    I’m confused !!!

    Was planting a bomb under a Policeman’s car,in the 70’s,80’s or 90’s not MURDER ?? Yet it is now ??

    Martin and Gerald can condemn until they are blue(and orange) in the face…….their hypocrisy,and that of their apologists,is,quite frankly,nauseating !!!

    As for the boul sammy’s assesment of sf/pira victory………….well,I mean to say…

    Brits Out ? Ermmm……….we haven’t gone away,ya know.
    Not an ounce. Not a bullet ?? Ayeeee,not since you surrendered your murder weapons,lads.
    Never,never,never,to a return to Stormont ?? Sorry Martin,could you say that again ?? …………and my all time favourite,from non other than that never to be forgotten hungry striker,Johnny Sands……….” what’s for tea” ?

    It wasn’t Unionists,or ‘Brits’,or ‘prods’,who planted the bomb under Constable Kerr’s car………….strange as this may seem,I lay the blame where it belongs,with nat/reps !!!

    Doing what they do best………..killing Catholics !!!

  • Alf

    “Alf, if you think that day to day life in NI was anything approaching normal you need to travel.

    Soldiers on the street and frequent bomb scares were/are not normal unless one lives in a non western civilisation.”

    Andnowwhat,

    It was a lot more normal than other countries. The murder rate for instance was a lot lower than that in the USA. I was glad to see soldiers on our streets. When they were there the local Provos were skulking out of the way and people were safe.

  • Alf

    “Alf

    “Perhaps you think that murderers are not bad?”

    no i dont.
    but are soldiers murderers?

    Am i still a bastard/scum for being a republican?”

    changeisneeded,

    Why are we talking about soldiers?

    My understanding of the term republican in Northern Ireland is that it refers to people who support Sinn Fein or one of its breakaway factions. All of which have been in favour of IRA murder campaigns at some stage of their existence.

    Do you fit that description?

  • Alf

    “I’m sure if some hero took a plane from their RAF base and went solo over Iraq for old times sake the British government – including Blair and Cameron(who still supports the war) would give it a bit of condemnation dont you think?”

    W. T. F.?

  • Alf

    “It does start getting a bit surreal when we talk about Protestant shops and Catholoic shops – as I understand it and as I said above I think Newry and Strabane were the most bombed towns – which suggest the Provo commercial targets were not selected on the basis of their owners religion.”

    Sammy,

    The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops. It is no accident that the bomb which caused the Omagh massacre was parked directly outside a shop which belonged to the most prominent Orangeman in the town. Republican hatred of Protestants is palpable and they cannot hide it.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops. ”

    Presumably you will be sharing the basis for that statement with us?

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    The basis was the ethnic cleansing of Protestant businesses from both of those towns by republican terrorists.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops.”

    “The basis was the ethnic cleansing of Protestant businesses from both of those towns by republican terrorists.”

    Do you know the percentage of shops in Newry and Strabane which were owned by Protestants and Catholics that were blown up? Or are you just guessing?

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    I suggest that you should compare what the percentages were in 69 and what they are now. I suspect that the difference will bring a big greasy smile to your chops.

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    Just like Londonderry btw.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2007/07/13/the-problem-with-derry/

    “The IRA’s war in Derry was over, at least in the view of many republicans, several years before the first “cessation of military operations” was declared. In the view of many unionists, the reason was clear enough. The IRA would not bomb what its own people now controlled. There was little unionist-owned business left inside the walls and the Guildhall, seat of local government, had changed hands.”

    Finnoula O’Connor

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “Do you know the percentage of shops in Newry and Strabane which were owned by Protestants and Catholics that were blown up? Or are you just guessing?

    You dont appear to have an evidence – do let us know if you find any.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Ofcourse he doesn’t have any. He never does.

    You know I’ve spoken to a few hardline republican’s over the years and I have never heard a comment that indicates a hatred of protestants. Hatred of British, sure. But religion is the hang-up of the Unionists. They have been doing it for hundreds of years, religous scare-mongering

  • Alf

    “You dont appear to have an evidence – do let us know if you find any.”

    Sammy,

    Evidence of the deliberate targetting of Protestant owned businesses by the IRA? If we take the town of Dungannon for instance you will find one street, Irish Street, in which all of the shops are owned by Catholics. You will also find only one street in Dungannon which still has all of its original buildings. Would you care to hazard a guess at which street that might be?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    You stated -““The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops.”

    I see your hunt for evidence to backup your statement continues..

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    I’m glad that the sectarianism of the Provos shames you enough to put you into full denial mode.

  • An Ceide

    Alf, not everyone from a republican background hates protestants, they mainly hate the british establishment, I blame the over zealous religous leaders from the past for stoking the fires if hatred and opening up the tit for tat war between protestants and catholics.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “You stated -”“The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops.”

    No luck yet in getting something to back up your statement.

  • Alf

    An Ceide,

    The lumpen proletariat that makes up the bulk of the republican movement certainly has a deep hatred of Protestants. I see it on a regular basis. The summer time in particular brings out a visceral, seething hatred of Protestants which often manifests itself in acts of violence.

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    What do you need to back the statement up? According to republican myth the bulk of businesses in sixties Northern Ireland were owned by Protestants and the poor Catholics were sitting around scratching their arses in poverty. Is that incorrect?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “republican myth ”

    Best to leave ‘myth’ out of it. Still no luck unearthing some relevant facts?

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    So is it myth or not? Because if it isn’t myth then the vast bulk of the businesses in Newry and Strabane in the early seventies would have been owned by Protestants. That most certainly is not the case today. Can you clarify?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    ““You stated -”“The targets in Newry and Strabane were of course Protestant shops.”

    You dont seem to have the facts to back up that contention do you?

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    I think I do. If what nationalists say is true then the businesses in both towns would have been predominantly Protestant, and following the Provo boming campaign they no longer are. Is it your contention that nationalists were talking crap?

    Is it also a huge coincidence that the Provos didn’t bother bombing the heart out of the shops in Crossmaglen, Carrickmore, Gulladuff etc?

  • modernfella

    i think that it would be fairly obvious that the religous make up of newry etc has changed in the last 40 years . to deny that would be odd