Presbyterian minister welcomed with a cup of tea at dissident protest camp at Free Derry Corner

Rev David Latimer - image from BBC Radio Foyle websitePresbyterian ministers can’t seem to keep out of the news this week. Suzanne Breen reports in the Sunday World that Rev David Latimer (minister of the recently refurbished First Derry congregation, and a Territorial Army chaplain) made an unannounced visit to a dissident republican protest camp at Free Derry Corner over the weekend.

In a ground-breaking step, the Rev David Latimer visited dissidents holding a 48-hour camp-out in the Bogside in support of republican prisoners in Maghaberry. The Presbyterian minister, who has served as a British Army chaplain, had a “very positive and friendly conversation” with leading Derry republican Gary Donnelly.

Latimer said the horrific scenes he’d witnessed with the army in war-torn Afghanistan meant he was determined to work for peace and reconciliation at home. “Some people will call me a traitor for talking to dissident republicans,” the clergyman told Sunday World. “But no community and no group in this city should be ignored.”

“We may have different political viewpoints but we are all human and we are all equal. I treated the republicans I met with respect and I was well received. God rejects no-one and, as a Christian minister, neither do I.”

He got a warm welcome …

“They offered me a cup of tea and then a coat to keep me warm. It was a kind gesture. They couldn’t have been more courteous. It was a chance for me to talk and listen to them. We must grasp every opportunity to understand each other if we’re to learn to live in harmony. We all want peace and fairness in our country. For too long, there was prejudice, suspicion and injustice.”

Senior dissident republic Gary Donnelly of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement – which Breen says “security sources claim is the Real IRA’s political wing” – spoke positively about the visit.

“It was a welcome surprise that a Protestant minister visited our camp especially when Catholic clergy didn’t bother to turn up. I’d a very positive and friendly conversation with David Latimer. I told him my grandmother was a Protestant. And the minister wasn’t the only Protestant at Free Derry Corner that day – one of our members from Sligo who was taking part in the protest is a Protestant.”

With the Presbyterian General Assembly decamping from its Belfast headquarters and heading up to the north west for the first week in June 2013, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if there was a moderator from Derry and Donegal Presbytery to go along with the new venue, particularly one who can speak confidently about difficult issues:

… he insisted his actions were in keeping with his religious beliefs: “In his day, Christ turned the status quo on its head. He did what wasn’t the norm. He talked to people others ignored. It’s the right thing to do.”

All in all, with this story as well as one about the two Sinn Fein representatives jetting off to New York (to promote a sporting event that their party won’t help organise in Belfast), it was been a good weekend of reporting from Suzanne Breen in the Sunday World.

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  • michael-mcivor

    As anyone seen any story that Suzanne wrote for the sunday world or any of her late papers that told us that the reals in derry city killed no brit army or police in their 13 years of being active- i must of missed that breaking news-

  • Michael – not sure I understand your point.

  • Harry Flashman

    Didn’t dissident republicans murder a civilian worker at a TA base in Derry a few years ago? I wonder whether the TA padre thought that might be worth bringing up during his positive and friendly discussion.

  • michael-mcivor

    My point Alan is a certain number of reporters try and use the dissidents to kick Sinn Fein- ie – they sold out- those hardliners will fight on etc- yet the dissidents are never asked about their so called war record- is it you scatch my back- ill scratch yours- and we will both have a dig at the shinners- its been going on for years-

  • oracle

    Micky-mac,

    Why don’t you tell us about Gerrys war record…..

  • PaulT

    Ah a rare Post with a positive feeling to it, well done Reverend, shame there’s not more people in NI like you.

    Surely there’s plenty of other posts for you lot to sling dung at each other on.

    Can you not just welcome something positive?

  • Greenflag

    So this Presbyterian Minister is a real Christian .Good man Latimer . There is no harm in jaw jaw as there is in war war , A brave man and to be commended for his action .

  • Michael … the story behind the link also includes the two paragraphs below. So I think the journalist in question mentions at least a little of what you call their ‘war record’.

    The Real IRA murdered two British soldiers in a gun attack on Massereene army base two years ago.

    In 2008, Donnelly was charged with Real IRA membership but the charge was later thrown out by Dublin’s Special Criminal Court. Last year, he was sentenced to seven months in Maghaberry prison for assaulting a PSNI officer.”

  • Neil

    It’s harder to hate people when you get to know them a bit and see their humanity up close. Fair play.

  • Lugh

    Well said Neil. It would seem that this minister actually seems to take note of what Jesus did and said. Not so sure the same can be said about many clergy, either side of the divide.

  • Jack2

    Neil & Lugh have nailed it.

    This type of action will bring everyone closer together.

    Well done Reverend !!!!!

  • Turgon

    Jack2
    “This type of action will bring everyone closer together.”

    What utter nonsense. The 32CSM is a misincule political group which recieved far less support than rejectionist unionism; its political importance is approximately equivalent with the BNP. Its ideology is pretty similarly repugnant: like the BNP its leaders have enough sense to pretent half civility when needed; unlike the BNP they do not even pretned to condemn violence.

    This organisation has relevance solely because it is the mouth piece of thugs who commit murderers and so called punishment shootings etc.

    For Mr. Latimer to go to see them shows utter naivity but his actions are also an insult to those within his own city who have been assualted and even murdered by the supposedly military wing of the 32CSM.

    The godly, even Christ-like thing would be for Latimer to be attending to the needs of those shot and beaten up by the thugs these people represent: not cosying up to the apologists for their oppressors.

  • Mark

    Turgon ,

    Your logic that Latimer’s actions ” are an insult to those within his own city ” ( don’t you mean your city ) must also therefore apply to previous religious figures who have reached out to try and break the ice .

    What harm can it do ?.

  • Turgon

    foyle observer,
    And the 32CSM’s position on punishment beatings, shootings etc. of working class nationalists / republicans is what exactly.

    Latimer’s self serving publicity seeking is simply appalling hypocrisy: it is not remotely holy or anything like that: it is simply self advertisment.

  • Turgon

    Mark,
    Posts crossed. The harm it can and does do is that in some ways it legitimises the behaviour of a group almost completely devoid of support. That would be harmless apart from the fact that the 32 CSM support the actions of criminal thugs who murder people such as at Masereene barracks but possibly most relevantly for a minister from Londonderry the 32 CSM speaks for and supports those who commit punishment beatings and have killed people from that city.

    As I said if Latimer wants to reach out and help people from the “other side” he could start with those injured by the thugs of the dissident republicans. That, however, would draw many fewer headlines and would be a much less efficient form of publicity seeking for Latimer: I suspect his main aim in all this.

  • sonofstrongbow

    I wonder if he got around to asking the boyos if they’d mind not throwing petrol bombs at his church? Perhaps a tad too confrontational a question for a ‘peace building’ mission.

  • Mark

    Turgon ,

    If I picked you up wrong regarding your ” other side ” comment , my apologies ……. I thought you may having been thinking ” oh fuc? ! this is deja vu all over again .

    Or maybe the thought of Gary Donnelly and Rev Latimer havin a cuppa talking about Gary’s orange granny may have grated with you .

    I have no idea if Rev Latimer has a private agenda but he obviously had his reasons for dropping by as did Gary Donnelly as he put the kettle on .

    Either way it’s a win win for both sides with the losers shouting from the sidelines ..

  • Nunoftheabove

    The TA has a chaplain ?! Paid using my tax dollars ? Sweet fuck, I’ve heard it all now.

    Disgusting.

  • Nunoftheabove

    cookie

    Taxes ? Moi ? Any taxes which I may incline towards voluntarily complying with the obligation to pay now and then – in any jurisdiction – those’ll be pretty much bleeding well zero concern of yours, laddie/lassie buck.

    It’s a minor scandal to me that any self respecting democratically upstanding citizen should have to pay for the upkeep of the wholly worthless position of chaplain of any state armed force, still less the paintballing man-children of the TA.

  • To paraphrase someone much wiser than I – “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    If there is another pipe bomb threw at police in Derry tonight – the same characters will appear tomorrow saying the same thing, i.e. Gregory Campbell, Mark Durkan – “..deplorable..criminals.. traitors to their community.. must be brought to justice etc etc..”

    While Campbell/Durkan may very well be speaking sense, they don’t seem to be making much of a difference to the people carrying out these attacks, dissident attacks are still on the rise. What’s the solution? I don’t know. As history as taught us, it’s not simple.

    There’s clearly a group of people in and around Derry who believe they are right & just in leaving a bomb in any number of “legitimate targets”.

    The Rev David Latimer seems like a refreshing fellow, fair play to him in doing what he did, must have taken quite a bit of courage, and if he can persuade one of those supporters not to chuck a pipe bomb at someone next week, surely that’s a good thing?

  • Turgon

    barymcgee,
    The point is that the thing that has been tried time and again is talking to these criminal thugs: addicted as they are to violence and some nonsensical pseudo ideology which is actually the worship of violence and bloodshed for its own sake.

    The dissidents thrive on publicity and being seen to be being taken seriously. As such Latimer is just what they wanted. A naive publicity seeking individual who will give them some of what they crave: publicity and someone taking them seriously in exchange for a few cheap headlines for himself and the warm self-righteous glow that he is willing to talk to anyone. As I said would he be so proud to talk to BNP thugs?

    Next time a pipe bomb is thrown or some working class nationalist / republican is assaulted in Londonderry people need to ask why Latimer is helping lend credibility to such disgusting and wrong behaviour. Latimer will not doubt then mouth some platitudes but the reality is that his actions will in some small way have contributed to such criminality. The criminals are of course the main ones to blame and no doubt many did not need Latimer to act as an accidental recruiting sergeant for them but the reality is that by his foolish self-seeking intervention Latimer has made the cause of trying to stop these individuals more and not less difficult. He either cannot see that so blinded is he by his dogooder self-righteousness or else he does not care: the episode has raised his profile amongst the ranks of the dogooders.

    Surely the fact that Catholic clergy refuse to go to meet these people publicly should tell him something. They unlike him have the sense to know that giving such thugs publicity and any degree of credibility is foolish in the extreme.

  • Turgon – I do see where you’re coming from but I fear that ignoring them will not make them go away…

  • glenda lough

    I have a friend who is a quarter Protestant, but he refuses to say which quarter.

  • Turgon

    barrymcgee,
    I agree ignoring them is a bad idea. What is a good idea is proper imposition of the law in a fair and impartial fashion. Those who are committing antisocial crimes need to be arrested and brought before the courts whether their criminality is that which attracts censure from the dissident thugs or whether it is the criminality of the dissident thugs themselves.

    Furthermore there need to be attempts to improve employement opportunities etc. for those in deprived communities and encourage a bottom up solution whereby people in such communities take a lead themselves in improving their areas. I may not especially like the orange / green politics of such people but that is the way forwards: politics within the law not criminality.

    If Latimer wants to help he should be encouraging and helping people in working class nationalist / republican areas in their attempts to improve their local communities: not seeking cheap publicity stunts by lending succour, accidental or not, to those who blight such people’s lives. He might also spend time helping and trying to attract publicity for working class unionist communities. I believe there is a small working class unionist community on the city side within a few miles of his church. That said helping them would not make headlines for Latimer so even if he does do it I doubt he would gain as much for himself from helping the Fountain residents.

  • Kevsterino

    Turgon,
    I am trying to understand your point, but it is difficult for me to grasp where the harm lies in a Christian clergyman going about his business. Do you have previous experience with this gentleman? Why do you treat him like you understand his motives to be corrupt and self-serving?

  • One can only assume that Turgon is simply not a Christian, as Christ’s words (assuming he ever said them) are pretty clear and explicit, and Turgon is vehemently opposed to them.

    For example, he argues the Bible is wrong on the following counts:

    But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse (Romans 12:14).

    We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it (1 Corinthians 4:12).

    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:17-21).

    Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9).

    Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble (1 John 2:9-10).

  • Lugh. I suppose the rev. Latimer would be one of those whom Jim Wells would call ‘not a proper Protestant’ He really showed his true colours there.Robbo must be fuming at the slipping of the DUP mask. Robbo prefers the mask to be kept in place.

  • Turgon

    Belfast gonzo,
    It is not the fact that Latimer is visiting nationalists / republicans or enemies which I object to. It is the fact that he is visiting and taking seriously the political wing of the people who assault and even murder working class nationalists and republicans: people who condone and excuse such excesses.

    Those actions are inevitably going to help dissident republicans both the political wing (which is not necessarily a problem) but also (and this is the problem) their military wing.

    Latimer is helping the oppressors of poor people in his own city. That is extremely foolish and not especially Christian.

    I agree that going to see those who hate you and have done evil may be Christian. A man from my own church went to see Torrens Knight when he was in gaol. What he did was to tell him repeatedly that his (Knight’s) actions were utterly morally wrong and sinful; could not be justified by any ideology or anything else and that rrepentence was required.

    The elder in question did not make any attempt to gain publicity (not even within our church) for his actions. That is, I submit, an example of a truly Christian response.

  • Greenflag

    @Belfast Gonzo ,

    ‘One can only assume that Turgon is simply not a Christian, as Christ’s words (assuming he ever said them) are pretty clear and explicit, and Turgon is vehemently opposed to them.’

    LOL . I’ve had my suspicions for some time but that post Gonzo takes the biscuit 🙂 Turgon has frequently admitted to Calvinist inclinations on threads and those who know their religious history should know that despite his doctrines Calvin was a dictatorial murderer and fanatic as anyone who has read of Calvin’s role in the stake burning of the ‘heretic’ Servetus should know.

    Turgon’s response above is a lame one . How does he know what Latimer said to these people or what will come of such a visit down the line. The Rev Latimer had a cup of tea and talked to people who hold radically different political views from himself . As a military chaplain he was probably more suited to speaking to these young people than a Maynooth graduate in ‘theology’

    The fact that I might also think it was also somewhat naive of the man is another matter but then I’m not pretending to be a Christian of the Turgon or any other ilk .

  • Kevsterino

    I still don’t understand your condemnation of Rev. Latimer, Turgon. Did he call the papers to tell them he was going to have tea with these people? Ms. Breen referred to the visit as “unannounced”. Why should it be a secret that a Christian minister wanted to talk to those folks?

  • Greenflag

    For any who may be interested in the ‘driving force’ behind Turgon’s undoubted profession of ‘christianity ‘ heres a link to some of the lesser known Calvinistic ‘doctrines’. You will note that much as in the RC Church or in the totalitarian ‘religions’ of Communism or Nazism or modern day Authoritarian Capitalism there is wide gap between doctrinal theory and actual practice not surprisingly.

    Thus it was and is ever with some men of the cloth be they Bishop Casey or the bethel followers of Belfast or the manicured lawn hypocrites of the bible bashing south in the USA or among the demented dervishes in the Sudan and the certifiably insane mullahs of the middle east 🙁

    http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/michael-servetus.htm

  • galloglaigh

    Turgon

    Did you think it was appropriate for Peter Robinson to talk to the UVF, after that group attacked the Short Strand? The same UVF who the ABOD commemorate on the Crumlin Road, via the Star of the Shankill Flute Band.

  • Turgon

    galloglaigh,
    “Did you think it was appropriate for Peter Robinson to talk to the UVF”

    Absolutely not

  • foyle observer

    Turgon, did you delete my post?

  • Turgon

    foyle observer,
    No I cannot delete posts except on my own blogs and extremely rarely do so even there.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Absolutely not’

    There you go again that old black and white old time religious fantasy . Robinson for all his human and political frailties knew when to draw back from canting absolutism which is why Northern Ireland enjoys relative political peace today and is not being consumed by the modern day equivalent of 16th century absolutist Calvinism or medieval totalitarian Catholicism .

  • Kevsterino

    Turgon, judging from your lack of response to my queries, I can only conclude that you don’t understand the duties involved in being a Christian minister but are afraid to admit it.

  • Turgon

    kevsterino,
    I have answered you: maybe not in the way you wanted but I did so. Again the harm is that Latimer is giving succour a degree of legitimacy, credibility and maybe even accidentally a degree of support to those who oppress, attack and at time murder poor people in Londonderry. Latimer should be about helping the oppressed not the oppressors.

    Many have tried talking to these people, challenging them and persuading them without any success. Latimer is merely adding insult to the injury already suffered by those whom the military wing of the dissidents have attacked.

  • Kevsterino

    Then, if I understand you correctly, a Christian minister is only interested in the souls of the oppressed, the others be damned.

  • Turgon

    Kevsterino,
    Of course not. However, when individuals in the 32 CSM are in the process of flaunting themselves as the mouth pieces of the oppressors, at that time, they should indeed not be given credibility or succour. Christian ministers and others can of course speak to such people: however, there is a time and a place. I would submit that talking to BNP members might well be appropriate but not at a BNP rally; talking to KKK members might well be appropriate but not at a cross burning session.

  • Mark McGregor

    I too am surprised this meeting took place. Why would a man seeking peace with justice break bread with a man who gives succor to those involved in illegal armed actions?

    Seems Gary Donnelly and the 32CSM are willing to give anyone a chance no matter how poor there background is.

    🙂

  • bystander

    Think Latimer does like publicity for himself, don’t think it matters if he speaks to Donnelly or not as it won’t make any difference.
    If he would take time to help his own people in the Fountain, maybe he could start by returning to the westbank and living there.
    Rather than heading home to the safety of Newbuildings or he may call home Prehen, better house values away from the working class prods.

  • Kevsterino

    In the two examples you provided, in my estimation those moments are when courageous witness to the Gospel is most urgently called for.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Kevsterino

    There aren’t circumstances in which any such thing is called for. Not by people of any intelligence who can think for themselves, at any rate.

  • Kevsterino

    It is called for when a man calls himself a Christian minister. At that point, it is a matter of duty.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Kevsterino

    Not necessarily even then; the positions of the clerical fraternity on these issues are as varied – and variable – as those without the silliness of religious conviction bouncing around their nappers. Solo Scriptura’s just a fancy pants a la carte menu way of saying that anyone can believe whatever they like and then calling it Christianity.

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: Why would a man seeking peace with justice break bread with a man who gives succor to those involved in illegal armed actions?
    I can see what you did there (ho ho). But surely the analysis fails even from the dissident republican perspective, since the essence of the 32CSM is not ‘peace with justice’, but actually eternal, futile, bloodshed.

  • Kevsterino

    Nun, I’m not going to waste the effort of arguing the existence of God or what religion means to you personally. I’m merely making the point that a Christian minister has obligations to fulfill by virtue of his faith and position. How you or I feel about it is rather irrelevant.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Kev, I’m not arguing about feelings and yours are of no interest to me.

    There are any number of interpretations of christianity which would very directly contradict your perspective on the appropriateness of Latimer’s choice of action – in specifically christian terms – just as there would with those in direct alignment with his choice. That’s my point.

  • Kevsterino

    The “any number of interpretations” are irrelevant. The only relevance Christianity has here is that Rev. Latimer is a minister who saw his duty as going to talk to those people. He then went about doing what he thought was right. Are you saying that he had no right to follow his conscience?

  • Turgon

    While I appreciate your considered and thoughtful response, it simply confirms my argument.

    You have presented no evidence that Mr Latimer is not “attending to the needs of those shot and beaten up by the thugs these people represent.”

    You argue that Latimer did this for publicity, yet the visit was unannounced.

    You have stated that you are opposed to doing good.

    You have argued that talking to those who are evil or are violent legitimises their actions – yet you have no idea what they talked about, nor said how their actions are legitimised by conversation.

    You have also said groups with little support shouldn’t be taken seriously, yet the state takes them very seriously. If a threat is ignored, does it go away? Is refusing to challenge an idea a sign or strength or cowardice?

    I can understand your position, but it appears hypocritical and is clearly opposed to the god whose teachings you claim to follow.

    How can someone claim to be a Christian while actively trying to subvert the word of God? It makes no sense, even in the illogical world of religion or faith.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Kevsterino

    He has a right to do whatever he likes within the law, I honestly can’t say that I give a damn either way or can’t possiby see what difference it makes who he speaks to. Saying that his choice represents the christian message though or that his choice was his christian duty as opposed to those who will say that his choice is profoundly unchristian or anti-christian rather makes my point for me. It’s all bullshit and I object to the state’s agreement to the payment of salaries for military chaplains.

  • Reader

    Nunoftheabove: It’s all bullshit and I object to the state’s agreement to the payment of salaries for military chaplains.
    I suspect they act as very cheap psychologists and are well worth the cost in utilitarian terms. I am not sufficiently stiff necked to object to their presence simply on the grounds that I don’t share their beliefs.

  • Turgon

    Belfast Gonzo,
    A brief internet search will demonstrate Latimer’s interest in publicity. He gave an interview to the Derry Journal when he was going to Afghanistan. When his church was reopened he managed to get the singing priests and assorted senior CoI and Catholic clerics to come. These are the actions of a self publicist especially the former.

    As to refusing to talk to vioent thugs being unChristian. Latimer could have talked to them away from their camp had he wanted to: that would have avoided giving them publicity or credibility. As I said above, talking to BNP or KKK members is appropriate but not when they are having a BNP meeting or a cross burning session.

    Furthermore Jesus himself denounced assorted people in the strongest possible terms and at times refused to speak to people.

    There is a right time and a right place for most things: there is a right time and a right place for talking to practically anyone. Going to see the 32 CSM when they are in the process of their camp gives them a degree of legiotimacy and credibility. Giving credibility to a group which supports violent thuggery against the poorest people in Londonderry is extremely foolish and not especialy godly.

    As an aside I have never questioned anyone’s claims to their religious beliefs; I have never said any contributor to this site was unChristian in their views or actions; I would be pleased if the same courtesy could be extended to me.

  • michael-mcivor

    I am glad that David Latimer in now looking peace- but mr Latimer must also oppose those he served with whilst he was in Iraq and those still in the occupation of afganistan- a person must look peace world-wide- not just in his home turf- talk to the brit army David- try and get them to go down the peace road-

  • Alias

    I find it slightly comical that so-called dissidents should be so keen to get a story in the papers that depicts the enemy as a rather nice chap who drops by for a cup of tea and a chat.

    It begs the self-defeating question as to whether or not there are any suitable dehumanizing stories available for promotion that could depict the British army in a less favourable light.

    But given that the so-called dissident was keen to emphasise that they got on rather spiffingly with Protestants (even having one as a member), it would appear that such dubious propaganda value (“we’re a non-sectarian murder gang, don’t you know”) made them overlook the own goal…

  • Greenflag

    @ reader,

    ‘I suspect they act as very cheap psychologists and are well worth the cost in utilitarian terms.’

    Indeed . The RC confessional has oft been described as the poor man’s psychologist/psychotherapist and may be the reason for Sigmund Freud’s remark that the Irish were the only people on earth who would not respond psychotherapy;)

  • Greenflag

    ‘A brief internet search will demonstrate Latimer’s interest in publicity.’

    So what ? Was’nt Christ i.e Rev Latimer’s role model a self publicist . Did he not throw the pharisees from the temple ? Did he not get himself crucified for his beliefs .Did he not ‘recruit ‘ apostles to expand his ‘faith ‘ ? Did he not perform crowd pulling miracles .

    It would of course be a ‘miracle ‘ if the Rev Latimer’s ‘cup of tea’ led to a situation whereby the ‘dissidents’ and other assorted organisations finally accept that ‘inefficient’ though it may be ‘politics’ is the only road by which their particular objective may be attained.

    For those who like Turgon who maintain that tea drinking and chatting with the ‘enemy’ will never achieve anything their memories must be very short indeed . It’s not too long ago since the words ‘never ever ‘were used in reference to direct talks with SF- now of course one of the governing parties in the NI power sharing Government .

  • Alias

    A wee chat is always fine and dandy but first you have to spend a few hundred million every year for a decade or so infiltrating the anti-state and pro-state groups and, of course, you have to have a world-class intelligence agency with hundreds of trained opperatives in place that is capable of managing all of that that and all of the political and media management strategies that come with it.

    The narrative is that Mr Hume had a wee chat with Mr Adams and convinced him of the futility of it all, and then Mr Adams had a wee chat with the boyos in PIRA and did likewise. Then, when they had all come to their senses, it was time to have a wee chat with the other tribe.

    The reality is a tad more complex…

  • Greenflag

    @Alias,

    ‘The reality is a tad more complex…’

    Not as complex as the political result – which works for now which is all that matters for most people in NI and the Republic bar the few ‘absolutists’ on both sides who are still hung up on their political or denominational petards.

  • Kevsterino

    Turgon, is it possible that you just don’t like this guy? The way you characterise him as a publicity seeker because he, wait for it, invited CoI and Catholics to his church when it reopened. C’mon man, church leaders are always trying to get people to come to their church. That doesn’t make him odd. What makes him stand out is he appears to be actively involved in outreach to others in the community. That itself might not sit well with some folks.

  • Nunoftheabove

    cookie

    Let Reader make his own mind up about that – it’s not your place to butt in.

    I object to the public purse being used to fund religious interests, influences and involvements within the public square, be they in schools, hospitals or in the army – it ought not to be the role of the state to do so and I care not a jot whether Latimer is saved, Apostolic Presbyterian, Jesuit, Zoroastrian, Orthodox Jew or Mormon – the principle’s the same. What’s also the same is the futility of arguing whether his choice to speak to Mr Donnelly and his mates is ‘christian’ or un- or anti-christian – arguing that to and fro only goes to highlight what we already know – christianity is silly and occasionally dangerous bullshit.

    As to your remark that “anything that resembles anything to do with the U.K offends and angers [me]”, this is straightforwardly untrue. I like a good many things about it and dislike a good number of others. Like most normal people do.

  • Turgon

    Kevsterino,
    You will note that my complaint about attention seeking was mainly about his speaking to the Derry Journal prior to going to Afghanistan. The episode over his church was also notable especially for getting the singing preists who are minor celebrities (as well as priests) to take part in the service for the re-opening of the church. I have been to may church openings and the like and have never seen the use of “celebs” to try to get attention: it is not really what a church is about.

  • Kevsterino

    To be totally candid, Turgon, I would be interested in hearing what a minister on his way to Afghanistan had to say before he left. Then I would hope they would follow up upon his return if he was fortunate enough to get back. Again it doesn’t strike me as offensive, but you’re entitled to be put-off by it I suppose. Was it the fact that it was the Derry Journal or would you have been equally offended had the interview been a Newsletter piece?

  • Turgon

    Kevsterino,
    It is the publicity seeking I find somewhat objectionable. You claimed he did not do this and I have illustrated that he did. You have also claimed that what he did was specifically his Christian duty: whilst that is your view and you are entitled to it; I have provided a set of reasons why in my view he should not have done this.

  • Kevsterino

    Very well, then. I suppose, in your view, he proved his shallow self serving motivations by inviting anyone from the C of I or Roman Catholic clergy (especially those singing priests) to the reopening of his church and speaking to those nasty 32 SC oppressors at their camp. If this does not reflect a clear understanding of your view, please correct me.

  • Nunoftheabove

    cookie

    Hardly bravado my dear chap, mere frivolity. I kick in my share and wouldn’t have le cou de laiton to complain about how the contributions of others are wasted (on, say, chaplains) were I not myself in, ahem, virtually full compliance with my solemn obligations as a law-abiding citizen 😉