Killing unifies both Catholic and Protestant opinion

One of things you learn growing up in the Troubles is that you cannot negotiate with a man with gun or a block of Semtex (more commonly gelignite in the early days) in hand. One to one, he wins every time. As Brian argues, physical force is its own argument.

Tragic though it is, the effect of the killing of Constable Kerr appears to be stiffening the resolve of the Stormont parties not to show a millimetre of space between them. As Ken Reid notes, Peter Robinson in particular has been going places you would have struggled to imagine only a few months back:

When you see not just the statement from the GAA the minute’s silence at their game, but also the respect in which that’s minute’s silence was held, it indicates we have support right across the community. [Emphasis added]

Mr Robinson confirmed too that (subject to the funeral of Constable Kerr being open), he would also be attending funeral Mass. If there are critics of Mr Robinson, it is unlikely to have any political force, not least in view of the position Catholic police officers now find themselves in.

Of course that solidarity did not come out of nowhere. During the Trouble, Catholic policemen where few and far between. Sometimes as isolated inside the force as they were from the targeting outside.

It is a testimony to the Patten plan to run 50-50 recruitment that the culture of the Police Service of Northern Ireland has changed out of all recognition.

And they have just received the full backing of the Cardinal, the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, all the major party leaders and the GAA. This killing has galvanised the full weight of Catholic and Protestant civic society against this ‘dissident Republican’ campaign.

It has also served to to bring to the attention of wider society that Irish Republicans are, probably for the first time since the war of independence, joining the police in sizeable numbers.

That shift in perception may have major implications for the various tribal shibboleths still burdening this small, regional society. Eamonn observes one in his latest ‘Tweet:

Logically nationalist solidarity with PSNI on back of killing of Ronan Kerr should end street confrontation with police in catholic areas.

Note that none of the three ‘dissident’ organisations have claimed the killing, even before the huge public reaction which has followed was in full flow. Perhaps it is time for the ‘dissidents’ to go back to that line about ‘the attitude of the general public’ in Ruairi O’Bradaigh’s statement of February 1962?

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  • cheekymoose

    What these people did disgusts me right to the core… as an Irish Nationalist opposed to violence I find myself for the first time in my life wanting to go out and find the scum that did this and destroy them before they hurt another innocent person!

    Loyalists are ready to arm themselves again in reaction to the dissidents, but who will they target? Another innocent Catholic?

    Today I couldn’t be more angry or ashamed that this was done by people who supposedly love this great island.

  • I think its a very important point that Mr Fealty made. The Catholic police officers (and the numbers WILL grow) are not merely Catholics………..many are from staunch Republican families as I suggested in an another thread.
    Two weeks ago I was in Armagh City for Armagh versus Kerry and two rather forlorn Republican Network for Unity guys were collecting outside the ground for POWs (sic). Actually they were not “collecting” at all as in the five minutes I stood watching (cos Im like that) not one red cent went into the buckets.
    Meanwhile a hundred metres away the PSNI were directing traffic aback to Keady, Lurgan and Crossmaglen.
    Yet I declare an interest in the “old” RUC. I have a family member, a few years younger now retired. He was in it for maybe 25 years.
    Catholic of course and it stunned us when he joined the RUC. And scheduled to be my best man in 1982, he told me he couldnt go to West Belfast. To be honest I was glad. Saved me the embarrassment of telling him that there might be a problem.
    He couldnt visit his family home in Newry. Actually he often did. Memorably he had to do a runner out the back door because of a kneecapping nearby. Not because he feared for his life but because hed get in trouble.
    He watched the funeral of our aunt from the balcony (we didnt know he was there) at the back of the church. And when an elderly relative collapsed later at asmall cemetry and the ambulance was called, the local RUC arrived first (they were across the road (unseen).
    t cost him. Depression and divorce. I honestly think the Troubles had less to do with it than the isolation from Family. Frankly he was a terrible policeman. And would have booted out on several occasions. He would claim even now that being a Catholic saved him from being sacked..”they need me to keep the numbers up”.

    Yet it was not always the case. Circa 1961-63 I remember policemen attending Mass in uniform (and with a pistol!), probably a sneaky half hour on a weekday Feast.

  • By saying he will attend the funeral mass, Peter Robinson has cut the ground from under those of his colleagues who insist they can’t attend in the chapel for theological reasons. PR has gained much respect from across the board since his personal crisis ended.

  • Driftwood

    In South Down, Catholic ‘peelers’ were generally well known but ‘respected’ The kids got a terrible time at Catholic schools though, and had to move to state ones where they probably felt a bit isolated.
    The main ‘problem’ for them was often the behaviour of certain army regiments (including the UDR). They were all lumped together as one and squaddies didn’t take orders from civvies-police or not.

    However, police recruitment has dried to a trickle. The ‘cuts’ may have a bigger impact on the PSNI than the dissidents.

  • joeCanuck

    Just had a peek at that O’Bradaigh statement that Mick linked to. The slightly slow schoolboy rhetoric hasn’t changed a lot.

  • Student of the World

    Perhaps I am only an ignorant American, but it seems that religious leaders ought to take advantage of an instance such as this. I have repeatedly read about congregations that take some stance, but rarely the priests or pastors. The US civil rights movement, though different in many ways from your own, gained both momentum and legitimacy from the active participation of religious leaders.
    It seems that this entire Conflict Resolution movement is taking place without the assistance or consent of the religious leaders that ought to be at the forefront of peace dialogues.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    It hardly improves understanding to refer to the victims of these attacks inappropriately – although obviously everybody in Ulster knows what is meant by ‘Catholic’ police officer (ie someone from a Nationalist background). After all we all know they are being attacked because of the hoped for negative impact it will have on the Nationalist community in their attitude to the police.

    Not sure why it is not reported more accurately. Convention? Handiness?

  • Scáth Shéamais

    It has also served to to bring to the attention of wider society that Irish Republicans are … joining the police in sizeable numbers.

    Do you have any source for this statement Mick? I know there are more catholics in the police now than any point previously, but I seriously doubt that’s true for “republicans”.

  • joeCanuck

    Sammy,

    You know that that has always been a problem due to general political and religious aligments, I don’t have an answer; sometimes I resort to Catholic or Protestant labels but making the note that these are being used simply due to want of better names.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    joeCanuck,

    Surely the term “Nationalist background” would be more appropriate in these circumstances?

  • Mark McGregor

    Sammy,

    Before you shinners get carried away, lets just keep it front and central 10+% of your MLAs previously did time for killing or trying to kill British police.

    Paul Butler
    Raymond McCartney
    Jennifer McCann

    And that’s only the ones the Brits caught!

  • Coll Ciotach

    Mick – I believe that the problem has been that Catholics are not joining in sizable numbers. In spite of years of positive discrimination they do yet make up the numbers one would expect given the population of the north and, frankly speaking, this episode will hardly drive the numbers of Catholics required into the bosom of the PSNI/RUC. This will in all likelihood prevent some Catholics who would have joined to reconsider despite all the calls for it to do otherwise. I expect that the proportion of Catholic police will fall. They are apparently already suffering a haemorrhage of numbers as it is without these unwelcome attacks.

    If the desired aim is to make a representative police service then the police themselves have to reflect the population in aspiration and ethos as well as mere religious headcounts. This means a sharing of executive control with the Gardaí. Then the dissidents really have a problem. The question is – do the unionists have the will to make a police service reflect the population or their own political philosophy.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Mark McGregor,

    I think that big peace process thing may have passed you by?

    Most Nationalists, perhaps excepting yourself, can comfortably make a disticntion between the RIC, RUC and the PSNI and the political conditions that prevailed then and now.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Coll Ciotach,

    Agreed.

    Increased Gardaí cooperation coupled with a specialist (special branch nua) arm of the PSNI is the best way to undermine the dissers.

    It would be good to see Wee Davey flexing his justice minstery muscles on the subject.

  • George

    I believe Peter Robinson gained a lot of respect “outside of the unionist community” for the humanity he showed in how he talked and acted following the Michaela Harte murder.

    He had his finger on the pulse when he came to reading and it seems understanding how that tragedy affected a large number of people from outside his community and seems to be displaying the same deft touch again here by saying he will attend the funeral mass of Officer Ronan Kerr.

    In contrast, we have UUP leader Elliot coming out with the tawdry line that perhaps some of the Sinn Féin members in Stormont should go to the PSNI and tell them what they know to help with the investigation.

  • JR

    I have a friend who is a staunch republican who has close family ties to the provos who had his oil stolen recently and called the police.

    not much but it wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.

  • Pete Baker

    As Peter Preston argued earlier

    One dead policeman, blown up by a car bomb outside his Omagh home; so many voices from north, south, east and west condemning any hint of a return to random killing.

    You can choose to be reassured if you wish. Northern Ireland’s grand coalition still functions (with Robinson, not Paisley). In the 13 years since the last, traumatic Omagh bomb signalled a formal end for even the Real IRA, peace has survived, flourished, become normality.

    Why, isn’t the Queen off to Dublin soon? Didn’t Chancellor Osborne dip his hand in our pockets to bail out Ireland’s tottering banks? Who on earth wants to see a few demented deniers, with leftover lives to kill, reignite the carnage because they are bored, mad or terminally stupid? There is surely no “continuity” for this soiled brand of republicanism, only oblivion? Globalisation, take it away.

    Yet this commonsensical chorus only takes you so far. It clears the bloody detritus of the past; it provides a suitably united response to the murderers who remain; but somehow it still fails to address or secure the foundations of a quite different future.

  • johnkingii

    As terrible as this was as the event is near bringing to tears of frustration anger we all know even as the people who this device know (and yes they are still people although misguided) it’s impact what they want ie: military/political situation will not change unless by their design or foresight they kill a perceived Protestant PSNI RIR home on leave or god forbid an Omagh in Larne Carrickfergus Newtownards or Bangor or a gun attack on a disputed Orange March at which point by design or error we won’t be back ten fifteen twenty years we will be reliving 1972.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “I have a friend who is a staunch republican who has close family ties to the provos who had his oil stolen recently and called the police.

    not much but it wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.”

    You’re right, it’s not much. When he calls the police when his family do it, that will be progress.

  • perseus

    peter preston is too pessemistic peteb
    the very gesture of the GAA minutes silence and FM Robinson’s response
    re: going to a funeral service is exactly securing
    the foundations of a quite different and better future

  • Skinner

    “In contrast, we have UUP leader Elliot coming out with the tawdry line that perhaps some of the Sinn Féin members in Stormont should go to the PSNI and tell them what they know to help with the investigation.”

    Well since some the dissers are inevitably former comrades, Sinn Fein members probably do have some information on them, don’t they? Or do you think they’ve already passed it on? If they haven’t, why not?

    Elliott makes a valid point. Information may stop more getting killed.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Skinner,

    Of course we all know that Tommo the Orangeman’s remarks are really designed to make life difficult for the DUP and not for SF .

    …the UUP must now be realising they are heading for a shocking set of results in the Stormo elections given their increasingly incoherent jibber-jabberings.

  • Brian Walker

    Tell me, what form will this newfound solidarity take, beyond a few camera statements and cross community visits?. Will any of those grim faced young fanatics in Kilwilkie be impressed? Adn anyway is it not the case that the more killings, the less impact from the gestures?. What does that say about who holds the initiative?

    Any outside observer would be astounded to hear that agreeing to attend requiem mass is seen as a much of an advance. . Yes okay it is an inch and we know how significant an inch is – one that we’ve been talking about all my life. It just about saves me from another bout of the contempt I felt for the skulkers at the church porch at Const Carroll’s murder. How tragic that it still takes a murder to extend a basic gesture of respect.

    But surely by now we ought to realise that condemnation gestures are not enough. Once they subside what used to happen?. Swoop arrests often, as token PR. Then stand by for fresh claims of harrassment. The soldiarity is wafer-thin and the divisions open up again before the sods are placed over the new grave.. .

    An open, honest discussion of the impact on police and policing is also needed, quite different from the stale rhetoric of the Troubles, when comment was full of cant on both sides.

    Micheal Martin’s visit as Irish foreign minister to the Killwilkie estate before Xmas to tell dissident sympathisers face to face that they did not speak for mainstream republicanism was imaginative. A lot more of that is needed to keep up the emotional pressure.

    It should be eventually disclosed how many police wil be moved to more easily defensible communities as so often in the past. Will there be a fall-off of Catholic recruits. and can the impact of the murder be separated as a factor from cuts, (despite the extra £200+m) plus the imminent end of 50:50?

    Above all, the tough one:how can omerta be ended? Will any results from the newly acknowledged MI5 presence be seen?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    “Will any results from the newly acknowledged MI5 presence be seen?”

    Arguably we’ve just been discussing them.

    Their presence (as I like to repeat) is much more counter productive than counter insurgency to have these guys hiding in the bushes – the biggest damage to the Dissers would be their removal – their presence and actions have the potential to unravel much of the progress to date.

    The SDLP should be hammering SF on this issue as they seem to be remarkably silent on it.

  • Driftwood

    Robinsons presence at the funeral would be compulsory, though I think it will be ‘voluntary’ by his PR guys and maybe even himself in these contritionary days. ‘Doctor’ William McCrea should be forced to go , but MI5 will cut him some slack on this one.
    And there’s the rub. They control the puppet strings.
    The Marty’n’Pete show. Directed from Palace Barracks.
    The Pinewood studio of the ‘new’ Northern Ireland.

  • Mac

    Brian Walker

    “Tell me, what form will this newfound solidarity take, beyond a few camera statements and cross community visits?.”

    Tbh, I would even question the extent of the solidarity, spend ten minutes watching the comments on the RIP – Police Constable Ronan Kerr page on facebook, the ones the mod doesn’t delete quick enough.
    Not just the nutters who troll it, more importantly the regular folks that react to the expressed politics of the ‘other side’.
    Nationalists taking umbrage at ‘typical fenian/republican scum’ comments, Unionist’s taking umbrage at the idea that this murder is different from those that occured when the badge said RUC instead of PSNI.
    I hate to be a pessimist, but I can’t see Const Kerr remaining a ‘cross community symbol’ in anything but the short term.

    The effect that I most noticed was postings on Facebook from young catholic relatives saying that this is why they wouldn’t join the police. Ironically, the one that seemed most dissapointed is the son of a former IRA man.

  • Bejasus

    Mick – As an outsider (Yank), I agree with your post, and was glad to see you confirm my sense of a remarkable level of solidarity demonstrated. But one moment stood out for me.

    From an outsider’s perspective, a noteable aspect of public discourse here is its carefulness, or caginess, as people carefully avoid or purposefully transgress certain shibboleths. Peter Robinson’s statement Sunday, after visiting the Kerr family, actually brought me to tears — not just of sympathy for the Kerrs, but out of a sense that I witnessed something new. As he began, I began to think that it was the first public statement by a politician in Northern Ireland ABOUT Northern Ireland that I’ve heard it didn’t sound careful or scripted — his sentiments were from the heart, and his concern for the Kerr family and all the citizens of Northern Ireland seemed both palpable and open.

    But then: “It’s not a time for words . . . but just by our presence and our love and support, we can let them know we are with them . . . .” That word, “love,” hit me like a thunder bolt: I just heard Peter Robinson refer to the love he has for a fellow family that happens to be Catholic. And he meant it. I’m not a religious person, but for the first time since I’ve been listening, a real Christian ethos seemed to be at work in the public discourse here. It felt historic to me, and my perspective on things here — and Peter Robinson — shifted quite dramatically and unexpectedly. This is the clip I’m referring to:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12952823

    Mac, I’m afraid I agree with you, as much as I wish I didn’t: the idea of a “cross community symbol” will fade. But if the leadership, on all sides, can continue to embody the type of respect that Robinson did at that key moment, then the need for cross community symbols will diminish, as an environment of real respect across the various divides rises. Rhetoric does shape our reality, and this won’t change overnight. But if George is right, and Robinson’s example on Sunday wasn’t just a moment of grace but part of a trend, I, for one, am praying that others in positions of leadership and influence follow his lead.

  • Brian Walker’s point about the skulkers outside the church who make the spurious claim that differences in theology are what they refuse to attend mass, when we know it’s fear of losing the votes of bigots who they[Jeffrey, Arlene and nelson, to name 3]wish to hold on to. Mccausland on UTV last night was asked about Robinsons gesture, and gave a response which sidestepped the issue completely.

  • Skinner

    “Of course we all know that Tommo the Orangeman’s remarks are really designed to make life difficult for the DUP and not for SF .”

    If you are right (if), the reason Tommo thinks it will make life difficult for the DUP is because they are not asking the questions of Sinn Fein that they ought to be – ‘have you passed on what you know?’ ‘why not?’.

    That is an entirely valid point in my opinion. It may be seen as political point-scoring but there is an underlying issue here which goes to the heart of the question, ‘how do we stop it?’. As almost everyone says, the dissers are not interested in politics. MMG and PR standing with the top cop is not going to make the slightest difference. Information from the dissers own community will, though.

  • andnowwhat

    Skinner, there were callers to Nolan’s show who said they know who these guys are (at least one caller was from Tyrone), that they know the police know who these people are.

    I know that the argument is that accusations are not enough and evidence must be found. The dissidents are no longer new, there must be a substantial amount of intel on these people.

    Here’s the rub, if I’m right above, why would I give information to the police and risk my life while being pretty sure that my information will come to naught?

  • Eglise en bois

    I’m delighted that Peter Robinson has found his humanity and will now go to Const Kerr’s funeral, but to complete the transformation I’d like him to apologise for not going to Const Carroll’s funeral two years ago! (remember not one DUP Minister or MP could be found or had the time to attend the service)

    I may be a total cynic, but trailing 4 weeks ago his willingness to go to a “Catholic” funeral appeared then to be posturing in the run up to an election, now …. well maybe i am too cynical

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Nationalists supposedly crossed the Rubicon to support the police. Disappointingly many still seem to be carrying its water with them in buckets on their backs.

    The reluctance to pass information to the police occurs because;

    Someone told them that the police already know everything and nothing happens, and,

    Nothing happens because the cops are run by MI5 spooks, the same spooks are also running the terrorists in some sort of weird round-robin Grand Game to do-down Nationalists. All of course at the behest of a nefarious cabal of Brit puppet masters.

    This ongoing insistence on introducing conspiracy theories into the
    public-police relationship provides the gap within which terrorists
    operate. If you have information just give it. In the words of the Great Furry One: simples.

  • Perhaps I am only an ignorant American, but it seems that religious leaders ought to take advantage of an instance such as this. I have repeatedly read about congregations that take some stance, but rarely the priests or pastors. The US civil rights movement, though different in many ways from your own, gained both momentum and legitimacy from the active participation of religious leaders.
    It seems that this entire Conflict Resolution movement is taking place without the assistance or consent of the religious leaders that ought to be at the forefront of peace dialogues.
    …. Student of the World, 4 April 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Well spotted, Student of the World, and their silence in not condemning the matter with a refusal to give church rights to any sharing and withholding information from the church which would identify the killers, reveals the moral bankruptcy and ethical hypocrisy in its mission and the perverse stance of the priesthood in their support of all manner of crimes against the innocent.

    After forty years of earnest, heart-felt condemnations do they all ring pitifully hollow and just a cynical exercise for media footage.

  • Kevin Barry

    Excellent post Mick, I couldn’t agree more. I have also, been especially impressed with Robbo whose really stepped up of late.

    ZTF, pretty poor from you, but I’ve come to expect nothing less.

    Are Nationalists or Republicans passing whatever information they have onto the PSNI; short answer is yes.

    Is this going to help? We don’t know but we can only hope.

    Skinner, I think what rubs many up the wrong way about Tommo’s statement were a number of things.

    i) It was using the death of a young man for political point scoring and please don’t pretend it wasn’t. From a cursory glance at my FB stream the amount of people both angry at Con. Kerr’s death and Tommo’s point scoring is quite a few. And then I just speak to my friends and they think this man is an idiot, which he clearly is;

    ii) It’s working on a basic assumption that SF is unreconstructed and they have some kind of proxies fighting on. This neatly ties in with point one also as it’s political point scoring again. The UU is in meltdown and he needs to get the vote out, better to work on fear than the politics of hope and progress. SF signed up to the policing and justice agenda, last time I checked they were going to bring down Stormont if these powers weren’t transferred while others were on the wrong side of history and fought not to have them transferred.

    As I noted on another thread, I am originally from one of the areas in Craigavon that has a lot of dissidents. Do the PSNI have loads of information on these guys? Yes, as they’re always in the estate collecting it and have largely restricted their movements.

    I think people are working on the assumption that large swathes of the community in these areas have a lot of info on these people and are simply not giving it up, what proof or evidence does anyone have to confirm this? And no, it’s not self-evident, as the info passed on has probably halted many attacks that we have no idea of and for operational reasons we will never know about.

    The dissidents essentially are incredibly small, tight knit outfits who do not give too much away to the community. Everyone knows who they are including the PSNI and put simply, the only way to beat them will be with informants and grasses. Community info will only get us so far, we need to turn the heads of someone inside these organisations to defeat them.

  • “Nothing happens because the cops are run by MI5 spooks, the same spooks are also running the terrorists in some sort of weird round-robin Grand Game to do-down Nationalists. All of course at the behest of a nefarious cabal of Brit puppet masters.” …. Zachariah Tiffins Foot 5 April 2011 at 11:51 am

    Are you suggesting, Zachariah Tiffins Foot, that in the absence of any credible claim of responsibility from a viable dissident organisation, MI5 are slipped into the frame, in a cynical attempt to discredit and discover what they are bound to be considering is an APT …. Advanced Persistent Threat?

    I suppose that is possible and with them in charge of security and investigations for evidence to identify likely suspects, are they in a perfect position not to find any too, which is too much like that other time in Omagh to be comfortable reading. It is though just wild speculation surely, and you cannot be serious?

    The situation is plunged into further unpleasantness if the following is true ……Skinner, there were callers to Nolan’s show who said they know who these guys are (at least one caller was from Tyrone), that they know the police know who these people are.

    I know that the argument is that accusations are not enough and evidence must be found. The dissidents are no longer new, there must be a substantial amount of intel on these people.

    Here’s the rub, if I’m right above, why would I give information to the police and risk my life while being pretty sure that my information will come to naught? …. andnowwhat 5 April 2011 at 10:31 am …… for then does a failure to act against a known guilty party condemn an innocent victim, which can easily be innocent victims, to die.

    And no one can deny that, whenever the above is the case. And the PSNI and MI5 are supposed to be keeping everyone safe? Gee, Thanks, but can you try harder please, for presently does your intelligence and performance suck.

  • Skinner

    andnowwhat

    First, Tommo’s comments were not about you, the man in the street, they were about Sinn Fein people. Since Sinn Fein people are likely to know a fair bit more about their former comrades than the police, it is an entirely logical thing to ask them to help.

    Secondly, take the example you give, of people knowing who the perpetrators are but knowing the police know who they are too, so doing nothing. Well it’s not as simple as that. You can’t just turn a blind eye and say “ach I’m sure the cops know him anyway”. There is a whole raft of intelligence that members of the public must know about these people and their movements that would be of use to the police.

    And why risk your life? Because the risk to your life in making an anonymous phone call is tiny but could avoid the almost certain probability that someone else’s will be taken.

  • andnowwhat

    Seems it has not united all.

    Jim Allister, on Talkback said that he will not be attending Con Kerr’s funeral tomorrow (for doctrinal reasons apparently). He also said that he will not be sending a representative.

    Furthermore, when challenged by a caller, he could not address the murder without going in to the usual SF/IRA rant.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    KB,

    Your short answer is “yes”. I suspect that the long one may have various shades of grey within it.

    Have a wee read of some of the posts on the murder of Constable Kerr on this site and others and come back and tell us that folks in the know are queuing up to pass whatever information they have to the police. I stand to be corrected.

    When I was at university I naturally got to know those in my tutorial groups pretty well. All their little quirks of style, their special interests and other telltales became very familiar to me. Many of them went on to be professional writers and even now many years later if I was presented with a piece I could pretty much say who the author is.

    Now for all those Irish Republican militants who have seen the light so to speak must be in a very similar position vis-a-vis their unreconstructed comrades. Is that information forthcoming? And what of the Provo Semtex that seems to have gone walkabout? Does no one in Sinn Fein and elsewhere have any handle on this?

    Supporting the criminal justice system is not something to be confined to the optics and the soundbite. It is well past the time that the old shibboleths on ‘touting’ were consigned to history.

    Finally, just to be clear, I do not believe that every single Nationalist knows every single active miscreant that is of and operates from within that community. But many do and they need to come forward.

  • andnowwhat

    http://soundofanalarm.blogspot.com/

    Another group not united

  • Eglise en bois

    II don’t, nor have I ever supported Jim Allister, but his decision not to go to any funeral based on personal religious belief I understand. I don’t hold to that view personally and have been to the funerals of friends and colleagues from all faiths and none.

    But the big question for me is, who do I admire the most; those who have sincere personal beliefs and hold to them, in all circumstances, regardless of how they are viewed by others or those who claim at some point to have personal beliefs but who change them when it may appear to be opportune?

    Over the last 3 months, following the air crash in Cork, the First Minister went to some (possibly only one) of the victims’ funerals though not all. How did he choose those he attended? Is it true that coincidentally he only attended the non catholic funerals? So this news worthy story of “First Minister attends Catholic funeral” is it noteworthy or is it just sad!

  • HeinzGuderian

    and

    It may have escaped your notice,but it wasn’t Unionists,*Brits*,or even *prods*,who murdered Constable Kerr !!!

    Grow up ! Your cheap attempt at point scoring is sickening !!!

  • Mark

    Eglise en bois ..

    ” But the big question for me is , who do I admire the most ; those who have sincere personal beliefs and hold to them , in all circumstances , regardless of how they are viewed by others or those who claim at some point to have personal beliefs but who change them when it may appear to be opportune ” ?.

    If only it was as easy as that . There has to be compromise somewhere by all parties / organisations . As hard as it might seem , other Republican groups need to be afforded the same opportunities that SF had . You can’t snap off the olive branch . Ghaddafi was the devil two weeks ago , now they’re in talks . As KB above says , heads need to be turned , all the way around this time ….

  • HeinzGuderian

    eeb

    WTF has this got to do with Robinson going to a funeral ?

    WHY is he going to a funeral ??

    NAT/REPS MURDERED Constable Kerr……………..FFS stop pissing on the mans grave with cheap shots at Unionist Politicians !!!!

  • The only question grim allister got in the half hour that wasn’t softball was the final one aboiut whiether he would attend tomorrow’s funeral, and he set out to deliberately sabotage the call by shouting and knowing wendy would have to end it so listeners didn’t get to hear the caller. Typical allister, neither manners nor breeding. Wendy shouldn’t be let chair anymore of these politicians phone ins. Even Nolan would be an improvement.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Allister didn’t murder Constable Kerr !!! Hello ??

  • Eglise en bois

    Heinz,

    Cheap shots?

    Amazingly in over 30 years of public life Peter Robinson has never attended a Catholic funeral – not one, no matter how tragic the death no matter how innocnet the individual Peter Robinson has not attended one Catholic funeral.

    Now in the middle of an election campaign he suddenly changes his mind, just as he launches himself as the “leader for all people”.

    To me the use of a death for political ends, and that’s what I think Robinson is at,is disgusting.

    How come Peter Robinson couldn’t go the Const Carroll’s funeral two years ago? or is it as simple as, that wasn’t an election year?

  • HeinzGuderian

    How many funerals of murdered RUC Officers did Murderous Marty attend ?? ………………..

    maybe you are deliberately missing the point here,but Robinson wouldn’t have to attend a funeral at all,if Constable Kerr hadn’t been murdered by cowards !!

    Trying to justify this heinous murder has shifted from British Soldiers,serving in Iraq and Afghanistan/The Belfast Agreement/a British presence in Oirland/MI5/Unionist Politicians/and it wouldn’t surprise me if the name of the Holey Vegan isn’t invoked,in the very near future !!

    I am sick,sore and tired of 40 years of people trying to justify the the callous murder of a Police Officer,carrying out his duty !

    It wasn’t the *Brits*,Unionists,*prods* who MURDERED this young Police Officer……….although,reading through some of the threads on here,you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

    For pities sake through away the green tinted specs………….THE MURDER OF CONSTABLE KERR IS DISGUSTING,AND EVERY OTHER RIC/RUC/PSNI OFFICER !!!!!

  • Eglise en bois

    Heinz,

    Firstly I have followed too many coffins, interestingly mostly those of murdered RUC men and women, some catholic, to take sh*te lectures from you.

    The murder of Const Kerr was both disgusting and to be totally condemned. What hacks me off is the sudden turning of a disgusting murder in to a political circus

    The media, possibly with the help of certain political parties that are in election mode, are in danger of turning this tragedy into “First Minister goes to Catholic funeral”.

    That isn’t news and shouldn’t be commented on, it should be a given. The only comment that should be asked is why he didn’t do it before now! As for Marty and his clan – total hypocrites, murdering for Ireland was their MO, just because they were suits now doesn’t change the facts!

  • the.digger.notes

    Am somewhat bemused and slightly angry at Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister’s remark that he will not be attending constable Ronan Kerr’s funeral tomorrow in Beragh.
    The reason he gave for his non attendance on BBC Radio Ulster Talkback show today was because of doctrinal differences. He also said that the TUV would have no official representation at the funeral.
    God knows I steer clear of the sectarian cesspit of NI politics but would someone please ask the TUV leader whether he has ever stepped inside a mosque or synagogue or has refused to do so because of ‘doctrinal differences’?
    I would like to know the answer to this.
    Or is it only me that feels his refusal to go to Beragh is because the service is being held in a Roman Catholic Church.
    Constable Kerr is good enough to die for his community but not be recognised by the ‘good’ Christians inside the TUV because he was a catholic.
    Would the TUV leader and his party representatives feel soiled by attending the service?
    We need to know and put this sectarian blusterer in his rightful place – the dole queue.

  • Kevin Barry

    ZTF,thanks for the reply.

    My ‘long one’ as you say, was detailed below my short one.

    What I find amusing is that people make the assumption that they, and by they you mean SF and major republicans, would know what’s going on and are not passing info on. You have proof for this assumption? I stand to be corrected.

    Again,I make the point, one you seemingly avoided to answer, how do you know this info is not forthcoming from the communities that they (dissidents) live in? How do you know that the info provided has not helped stop many other atrocities? You make a lot of assumptions and IMHO you are trying to score political points, something that tbh after reading most of your previous points seems to be something you do on a near frequent basis.

    Please, for the sake of clarity and so we don’t keep going over the same points refer to my post above. As noted, it is not a simple case of black and white, that the community knows and isn’t telling. I appreciate you are not trying to insinuate that every nationalist knows what these guys are up to, a shade of grey, but to also assume that most republicans are happy to see the death of a nationalist doing something they have signed up to last year is nonsense.

    As for the issue of Semtex, unfortunately, explosives and their manufacture aren’t that difficult to come by.

    As for the ‘shibboleths’ you speak of, am I mistaken in hearing both Marty and Gerry asking for those with any info to come forward?

    If you want to go and score some political points here on a blog of all places, go right ahead, I frankly don’t care. All I and most others in nationalist areas where the dissidents operate want is to find a solution to this problem and get them out.

  • Kevin Barry

    Skinner,

    I think your points are interesting, but again, you are working on unproven assumptions.

    I) what makes you think people involved with SF haven’t provided the PSNI with info on the dissidents or that they would know more than them? Remember, SF are also at loggerheads with the dissidents in areas such as West & North Belfast to name but a few so it’s not like they (dissidents) would be telling SF much as they see SF as traitors to the cause.

    II) you are correct that people in these areas would say to themselves that there is no point in phoning up to confirm something that the PSNI already know, this needs to be worked on. However, I would note that for the most part people in these areas would try and avoid these people (dissidents) like the plague and that the dissidents would be fairly secretive owing to the fact that they have had trouble with infiltration previously.

  • HeinzGuderian

    eeb………..you are the one bleating on about Robinson’s attendance at Constable Kerr’s funeral !!

    Save your condemnation for the cowardly murderers !!

    I am not a dup supporter. Never have been. Never will be. But I will say this. You,and your ilk,have been salivating over Robinson’s response. If he said he wouldn’t attend……………….sectarian bigot.
    He says he will attend…………..nothing but disgusting,political electioneering. Damned if he did. Damned if he didn’t !!

    I would prefer the blame game stays firmly where it belongs…………..with the cowardly perpetrators of murder !!

    You’ll take lectures from me pal,shite or non shite,and you’ll learn to live with it !! Ya follow ??

  • Kevin Barry

    Going to have to agree with HG on this one (never thought I would, mind), people can’t have it both ways. What Robbo is doing should be commended.

    As for Jim, tbh, I have no major beef with him not going to the service, it is a free country and he should not be hounded for not attending due to doctrinal differences. I am sure he has passed his condolences on and like most is mourning the family’s loss (i am not being sarcastic btw).

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    KB,

    I make no apology for making political points on a political blog. If I make assumptions here I am not alone. You attempt to rebut my assumptions by making some of your own. I suggest my own view is enhanced by the continued, indeed increasing, terrorist threat and attacks.

    I find it difficult to believe that all the terrorist operatives are ‘fresh skins’ and even if those that plant the bombs are the expertise in sourcing material and in construction is not. It is “nonsense” to argue that there is no involvement from terrorist ‘old boys’ schooled alongside peace processors.

    You seem a reasonable guy, despite your nom de post, but I fear we will not reach an agreed position. So best to leave it here I think.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    In fairness to Pete, he attended a catholic church a few weeks ago in Belfast for the visit of Charlie and I’m pretty sure it was said back then that we would be attending catholic funerals in the future. So to accuse him of electioneering is a tad harsh. I agree completely that it is long overdue but better late than never.

  • George

    Zachariah Tiffins Foot,
    you were asked on what you based your assumptions and your answer is:

    I find it difficult to believe that all the terrorist operatives
    are ‘fresh skins’

    So your assumption is based on something you believe to be the case, namely an assumption. I’m glad we cleared that up.

    Then you say:

    It is “nonsense” to argue that there is no involvement from terrorist ‘old boys’ schooled alongside peace processors.

    No one was arguing this point one way or the other, except you because it is obviously a key part of your assumption.

    Seeing as we are in the world of assumptions, let us assume this is the case. So what information do you believe the “peace processors” have that they are holding back regarding this murder and who is holding it back?

    Or are you simply assuming they have information and that this information is not only current but of use 17 years after the first PIRA ceasefire?

    Perhaps it is information of a more recent vintage? Any chance on being a bit clearer in what you think and on what grounds you think it?

    Are SF members withholding information from the PSNI against the publicly stated wishes of McGuinness and Adams, for example, or are Adams and McGuinness lying in front of the cameras?

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    You assume that the current crop of alphabet Irish Republican terrorist groups were born fully formed without any crossover from ‘mainstream’ Irish Republicanism.

    I assume something different.

    You assume that the deployment of munitions and styles of attack perfected by SFIRA is mere coincidence.

    I assume something different.

    You assume that 17 years after “the first PIRA ceasefire” all knowledge of bomb manufacture and manufacturers has been wiped from the minds of Irish Republicans.

    I assume something different.

    You assume that the entire inner workings of Sinn Fein are open and transparent.

    I assume something different.

    You assume Adams and McGuinness always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I assume something different.

    I’ll keep holding to my assumptions until I’m proved to be mistaken in them.

    Thanks for asking George.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Zachariah Tiffins Foot,

    After a military campaign has finished, whether that is the British in Iraq or Ulster or the Provos in Ulster you will gernerally find some drift back to violence and some sharing of knowledge and expertise with those who may wish to continue violence as mercenaries or as a diminsihing band of ideologues..

    Not really sure there is much point in suggesting to the British army generals or the SF leadership that they are still responsible for those who formerly shared their military objectives – particularly when those leaderships have declared that military campaign to be over.

    The dissers campaign is not in SFs political interests and once you come to understand that point then I think that will help you to see evaluate the disser campaign more objectively.

  • Alf

    “the British army generals or the SF leadership”

    🙂 Classic republican fantasy. Some day a psychiatrist will have a field day.

  • Erasmus

    Intern the buggers I say.

  • Driftwood

    No-one has been found guilty of the murders of 2 years ago. But a prominent SF/PIRA member from Lurgan is in custody awaiting trial. We have to assume innocence as he has been found innocent before in such cases.
    We have to assume SF know nothing about this latest murder, just as they knew nothing about the ones before this one, and the ones before that……..and..and..
    Denial is not a river in Egypt.

  • Driftwood
  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Driftwood,

    ” But a prominent SF/PIRA member from Lurgan is in custody awaiting trial”

    Dont you mean former member?

    Do you think the British generals should be responsible for those who became merceranies after leaving the army?

  • Mark

    Driftwood ,

    Colly Duffy wasn’t a prominent SF/PIRA member when he was arrested and charged ( fitted up some might say ) two years ago . I’m sure he’s thinking – at least they can’t charged me this time ….

    Saturday was wrong plain and simple but we must not jump to conclusions as we don’t know all the facts ( we don’t really know many of the facts ) .

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Driftwood,

    …yes there are a few English public school boys hiding in the bushes and the people who benefit the most form that are the dissers – just to take us nicely back on topic.

  • Mark

    Re my last post ,,,

    The most important fact is that Ronan Kerr lost his life . That is tragic and extremely sad for the family .

    Other facts we don’t know are ….

    Who planted the bomb on saturday ?

    How much intel did MI5 have on the attack ?

    And if they had intel , how much if it did they act on ?

    There are a lot of questions that need to be answered ..

  • Kevin Barry

    George, your post after mine I would largely agree with as it succinctly nails on the head what I was trying to get at.

    ZTF, thank you for the generous words; perhaps I have been too hard on you. At the end of the day, a young man has lost his life, needlessly, for taking on a heavy responsibility.

    I fully appreciate but will never know or agree with how you have come to your opinions on Nationalists/Republicans, likewise you for me and Unionsim. I also know that this is a politics site and I am not saying that you should not make political points, however, I think you well know that political point scoring is somewhat different than making a political point.

    What I have been saying is that when you said something along the lines of ‘many have brought bucket loads of the Rubicon with them’ (to paraphrase) many including myself would insinuate that you are maybe trying to make out like a very sizable proportion of Nationalists/Republicans do not want the PSNI to succeed. To be honest, I want to pull my hair out, not from any perceived point scoring but it is divorced from reality.

    While I would love a UI I want also for NI to be somewhere worth living where we get along, you are my neighbor after all, metaphorically speaking, and this won’t change.

    Sammy and Mark,yes, we need to have an idea of what MI5 knows but I would assume that this is not a situation where they know so much that they could have stopped it. I am confident we shall have a very good idea of this, especially as all parties are working together now.

    Also, I was reading Brian Rowan’s piece in the BelTel which for me, confirms a lot of what we know, SF has left violence behind and is focusing on politics, something I agree with re the past 50 years.

    What annoys me is that people like ZTF, Mark, Sammy etc are actually on the same side in this whole matter! We want these guys brought to justice and for us to get back to our arguments without losing an eye!

  • digger’s notes. I suspect the reason Allister won’t attend the funeral is more mundane and practical than doctrinal.Simply that the TUV has few enough willing to go out and vote for his Terminally Vile party that he really can’t afford to risk driving the unreconstructed bigots who make up the base, buy doing something as reckless as attend a catholic’s funeral.