Irish government’s turn to answer difficult questions about its past?

The News Letter today has a big splash on the Smithwick Tribunal (that’s the one the Irish government previously threatened to wind up just about now)… As Philip Bradfield notes, the taoiseach, Enda Kenny has been a hard man for Unionist representatives to pin down on any matter regarding alleged collusion between the IRA and Irish state forces:

Until Mr Kennedy was able to approach the Taoiseach in person at the North-South Ministerial Council in Armagh on Friday, the UUP minister had been trying for months to get the Irish leader to engage.

He goes on to quote Danny Kennedy on the matter:

Apologies have been made by the British government for numerous cases but the Irish government cannot escape their responsibility, specifically when they are making noises about other [collusion] cases [in Northern Ireland].”

Then Bradfield remarks:

The unionists are saying that with every UK statutory investigation into Troubles related deaths, the history of the Troubles is being rewritten to portray British forces as the primary cause of bloodshed. But they point out that the IRA claimed significantly more lives than any other organisation during the Troubles — 1,778 in total — and that a much more balanced historical examination is critical to properly make peace with the past.

Solicitor John McBurney, the solicitor acting on behalf of RUC relatives at Smithwick:

…said that two issues that had to be brought out into the open were the Irish state’s frequent refusal to extradite IRA members for “the most heinous crimes” in Northern Ireland and the failure of the Garda to supply intelligence on the IRA to the RUC.

“I suspect there was much intelligence never shared in a timely fashion with the RUC,” he said. “Those who carried out the Kingsmills massacre went to ground in the Republic.” He said the Garda knew “quite a lot” about the individuals involved and “quite a lot was discovered” about their links to Kingsmills.

“But the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team report on Kingsmills never once mentions any Garda intelligence on those responsible. Why is that?”

  • Nunoftheabove

    Decimus

    Didn’t suggest that there was a vacuum or that one was required. There was nothing new under the sun about the rhetoric, only its intensity and its context.

  • Mick Fealty

    Perhaps. Perhaps not.

  • RepublicanStones

    I think there should be independent investigations into any suspected Irish govt collusion.

    It is however very interesting to see the response of some commenter’s who don’t advocate the same for the more numerous cases of alleged collusion up north. Doubly strange given the British govts documented history of it elsewhere around the globe.

    There’s a word for that.

  • galloglaigh

    OK Mick

    So is it a case of whataboutrey then on behalf of the families’ Barrister at the tribunal?

  • Decimus

    Didn’t suggest that there was a vacuum or that one was required. There was nothing new under the sun about the rhetoric, only its intensity and its context.

    Nun,

    The context was the thing. For instance between 1956 and 1962 the IRA launched a failed terror campaign, but there was absolutely no response whatsoever from loyalists. That was because they didn’t feel that they were under any serious threat from anything that couldn’t be dealt with by the RUC and USC. What was so different in 1966? Surely it had to be the tensions and hype created around the easter rising celebrations?

  • Cynic2

    ” think there should be independent investigations into any suspected Irish govt collusion.”

    You mean Independent INTERNATIONAL investigations

  • RepublicanStones

    Yes 50th anniversary celebrations should always be met with murder. So we’re really f**ked next year and 4 years after that.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Works for me, but we’re broke. Someone’s going to have to arrange a whip round

  • Cynic2

    ” really am going to start carding people for whataboutery!”

    Feel free. It’s like two gushing fountains of green and orange bile

  • socaire

    Decimus, there was no mass anti Stormont movement on the streets in 56 – 62. It was a gift to the militants when the ordinary man on the street had had enough and finally realised that reform was not possible.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    ‘Indeed I didn’t but given your reputation as a clever lad I assumed you were being deliberately obtuse.’

    You were wrong in your assumption.

    As to the ‘clever lad’ thing, I believe that post was intended for someone else. I have asked Mick for clarification but haven’t received any. I suspect several of his comments on this thread were intended for another thread.

  • RepublicanStones

    You mean Independent INTERNATIONAL investigations

    I thought it went without saying that independent investigations into any govt’s complicitly are always best overseen by non-partisan international observers.

  • Cynic2

    Republican Stones

    I was just parroting Gerry’s line. Makes the phrase seem more meaningful

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Decimus

    ‘The republicans who are putting their evidence out there tend to be extremely critical of the republican narrative as forwarded by senior members of the republican movement.’

    Some of them do, yes. There are lots of different versions, lots of different perspectives. You’re right to point out that there is no single republican narrative, any more than there is a single unionist narrative. Good historians will take account of all of these, or as many as they possibly can. But that necessarily involves taking on board a wider range of perspectives than most of us, who lived and live through these times, are capable.

    ‘Do you seriously believe for instance that future historians will believe that Adams was not in PIRA and that McGuinness left in the early seventies?’

    Of course not. Of course they are not telling the truth about this.

    ‘…and if lies are told about matters like that then why would any historian put any store on anything else that they say?’

    Perhaps because they will be able to understand why they lie about this? And perhaps because historians tend to focus much more on what people DO, than what they SAY. The peace process is a major historical moment, in which Adams, McGuinness and many others, played pivotal roles. I daresay historians will simply assume their IRA membership; their denials or obfuscations as to the details of that membership will merit a footnote or two, nothing more.

    ‘They have told lies for forty odd years on an industrial scale.’

    But I suspect most historians will rather easily perceive their reasons for doing so.

  • RepublicanStones

    Apologies, surely you know sarcasm doesn’t travel over t’internet.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Decimus

    Tensions and hype created by the huxterish far right of unionism ? Perhaps. Not really that difficult to frighten some and dehumainze others when you’ve inherited a society steeped in division for hundreds of years and you’ve substantial numbers of credulous people reared in religious superstition, deference to authority and establishment-backed sectarianism which elevates them above the ‘other’ and leads them to believe that not only their material interests but their identity, liberty and lives are under direct and specific threat from said other. All you need after that is some charisma, some balls, a pretext of one minor form or another, a few guns in the hands of bored, stupid cornerboys and you’re off and running to political instability for which you claim no responsibility but claim all of the political, career and financial advantage. If it hadn’t been the 50th anniversary it could just as easily have been 15th August, Paddy’s day or a tricolour in, say, an election office window, whatever.

  • Alias

    The expectation on Smithwick’s part is, quite reasonably, that cross border co-operation was due his Tribunal, and the Oireachtas’ upon which institution’s authority it was established.”

    Yup, but the Clerk of the Dáil doesn’t have any extraterritorial jurisdiction, so reporting back to the Clerk that he hasn’t received any co-operation will not lead to a process that compels the UK to co-operate. All that can occur is that the Dáil passes a motion tut-tuting the failure. They did that after Barron and it still didn’t produce the goods.

    Incidentally, it is a non-sequitur for unionists to argue that the failure to extradite suspects is evidence of government involvement in collusion. The Courts are seperate from government, so their decisions are not government decisions and, ergo, government is not accountable for them.

  • Alias

    “There was also plenty of intelligence sharing.” – Decimus

    Not a problem within an applicable legal framework. However, the EU mechanism post-dates the period to which you refer.

    No formal framework existed prior to that beyond the limited scope of the Criminal law Jurisdiction Act 1976 in Ireland and whatever the same thing is called in NI. The Barron report goes into great detail about the level of co-operation that was in place during the applicable period.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rep,

    Except, the likes of the UN don’t actually do them:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2011/06/10/trading-truth-for-justice-is-a-tough-call/

    Strikes me that the British covered their backs by making their Cory hearings toothless with the 2005 Inquiries act, while Gerry goes the opposite way by putting his preferred standard at the impossibly high level of a new Nuremberg.

    But Smithwick has no such encumberences. He actually has a fighting chance of getting somewhere. Let’s remember that the allegation is that Guard or Guards unknown tipped off the IRA and thus enabled the killing of two senior policemen.

    That’s not about non co-operation or ‘collusion by omission’.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gallo,

    I suspect the lawyer is calling that detail in for context. It also flags up an issue for further investigation. How can the HET robustly investigate murders that incorporated escape into the south, apparently without any material provided from the Guards come to robust conclusions.

    The lack of co-operation at the time is one thing, but these are contemporary investigations. He may simply be opening up another front so to speak.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Gallo, Mick etc

    Would that information-sharing with the HET or anyone else require any new legislation in the south ? Is the extent of any sharing (in either direction, come to think of it) subject to political control or is the sharing/concealment at least partially in the gift of the Special Branch/spooks and to that extent not capable of sustaining any real and serious public accountability ?

  • Mick Fealty

    It would require political will, and not much else. That’s how Smithwick sees it, but then he has a direct connection with the southern parliament that the HET doesn’t.

  • A big thank you to Mick for creating this thread!

    May I just offer a little guidance on the feature that started this discussion.

    Smithwick was actualy only a minor fraction of the overall feature.

    The complete feature actually went back to the creation of the IRA (before the violence of summer 1969) and aired claims that Dublin created PIRA to eject the British from Ulster, exploiting legitimate civil rights grievances of northern Catholics for politico-military aims against the UK.

    It also highlights growing unionist anger/perceptions that history is being rewritten to portray the British and the security forces as the sole villians of the Troubles.

    And it highlights calls by Prof Henry Patterson for a balanced open and complete look at the Troubles, in the interests of a stable future for all.

    The gateway to the feature is here;-

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/mounting_anger_over_dublin_collusion_1_3269170

    A list of all the associated articles can be seen at the bottom of that story.

    I am enjoying listening to ALL sides of the debate.

    Best regards
    Philip Bradfield
    Journalist
    News Letter

  • Neil

    How can the HET robustly investigate murders that incorporated escape into the south, apparently without any material provided from the Guards come to robust conclusions.

    How do you prove something exists when it’s not there? Say a Provo made his escape into Donegal and off to some cottage somewhere in the 70s, why would the Guards even know about it?

    They didn’t guard the border, wasn’t in their interests and it wasn’t their job. They were hostile to the border, they maintained a claim to this territory so if you want to guard the border then fill your boots. But in the event of a Provo crossing the border what do you expect? A network of southern spies hiding in hedges throughout Inishowen taking notes? Jesus wept.

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    If a gun attack is carried out in South Armagh, and the gunmen escape across farm land, say around Hackbalsscross – Is that evidence of collusion by the Irish defence forces? The British government sealed off the border. If anyone escaped across it, that’s up to them to answer. What I’m saying is, that the trouble in the North was also the responsibility of the British government. They played a part. No evidence has been presented to say the same for the Irish government. Danny Kennedy and the rest of them are looking for an excuse to create a sense of dissonance among border unionists, to mask the activities of the security forces North of the border. That’s what this boils down too. Nothing more – nothing less.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a political answer to a legal question though Gallo. The concern is around whether this expensive a posteriori attempt to find the truth is fit for purpose.

  • Alias

    Nun, scroll down to the section on cross-border cooperation in the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights’ report. The arrangements were informal, with the RUC interested in gaining intel from the Gardai about PIRA members but not the slightest bit interested in sharing intel about loyalist murderers with the Gardai. It has to be said, however, that the Gardai weren’t the slightest bit interested in gaining intel about loyalist murderers. As to why not… well, that’s the big question.

    At British government level, as Barron pointed out, there was no cooperation offered to his particular enquiry. In fact, he says they obstructed it: “In investigating allegations of collusion in relation to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, this Inquiry faces all the problems identified by the Stevens Inquiry, with the additional complication that it has no authority or powers within the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland.”

    http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/committees29thdail/jcjedwr/InterimDubMon.pdf

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    All these investigations and tribunals are both political and legal. Are they not?

  • IrelandNorth

    This demand seems to echo a call by relatives of IRA disappeared who likewise demanded Irish government explanantions as to why they didn’t prosecute the constitutional imperative of reunification, and protection of Irish nationalists within the northern state at the height of the Troubles. Successive southern governments have a lot to answer for in their denial of the Troubles because of fear of cross-contamination. And for the first casualty of that war being the truth in the south as to what happening up north.

  • Cynic2

    “They didn’t guard the border, wasn’t in their interests and it wasn’t their job”

    Interesting perspective, Now, were offences committed in Ireland of

    * conspiracy to murder?
    * possession of firearms / bombs with intent?

    I assume it ‘wasnt in their interests’ to deal with those either.

  • Mick Fealty

    Gallo,

    Of course. But you cannot meet a question about one with a pat answer from the other.

  • galloglaigh

    Mick

    I’m not meeting any question, I’m giving possible explanations that would lead to an answer.

  • Neil

    * conspiracy to murder?
    * possession of firearms / bombs with intent?

    I assume it ‘wasnt in their interests’ to deal with those either.

    Why would you assume that? They pursued and prosecuted people for such crimes.

    It’s funny though the brass balls on display here. The British invaded Ireland and we’re eventually forced to retreat North after many thousands of deaths. They then bitch about the fact that the country they invaded didn’t expend their precious, sparse resources guarding a border they opposed on behalf of the source of all the death and misery. A border with land that they still held a territorial claim over, partitioned against the will of the people and maintained at the point of a gun.

    It’s been said a dozen times: you care so much, you spend your money guarding your border. If you have a bone to pick, pick it with your own security forces. The Irish approach wasn’t one of collusion – they simply didn’t waste their money doing something they didn’t want to do as a favour to a hostile country.

    If I were a Guard with any choice in the matter I wouldn’t be doing the Brits any favours either. I’d rather be on patrol in Dublin or Dundalk helping the taxpayers who pay my wages and preventing crime and misery for ordinary people rather than standing around the border area as a favour to the country that you only managed to kick out as an invading force a few decades earlier at the cost of thousands of lives.

  • Mick Fealty

    Neil,

    Under the maximal arguments previously made by the NI Police Ombudsman Office, that would qualify as collusion. No?

  • galloglaigh

    It’s funny that unionists deny collusion happened on the British governments watch when the evidence is there, but accuse the Irish government of collusion without a shred of evidence. To say that by not defending your border is collusion, then the USA is guilty of collusion with Mexican immigrants who cross it. The same can be said of Italy, Spain, or any other frontier that is used by illegal immigrants.

  • A big thank you to Mick for creating this thread!

    May I just offer a little guidance on the feature that started this discussion.

    Smithwick was actualy only a minor fraction of the overall feature.

    The complete feature actually went back to the creation of the IRA (before the violence of summer 1969) and aired claims that Dublin created PIRA to eject the British from Ulster, exploiting legitimate civil rights grievances of northern Catholics for politico-military aims against the UK.

    It also highlights growing unionist anger/perceptions that history is being rewritten to portray the British and the security forces as the sole villians of the Troubles.

    And it highlights calls by Prof Henry Patterson for a balanced open and complete look at the Troubles, in the interests of a shared future future for all.

    The gateway to the feature is here;-

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/mounting_anger_over_dublin_collusion_1_3269170

    A list of all the associated articles can be seen at the bottom of that story.

    I am enjoying listening to ALL sides of the debate.

    Best regards
    Philip Bradfield
    Journalist
    News Letter

  • Decimus

    ‘They have told lies for forty odd years on an industrial scale.’

    But I suspect most historians will rather easily perceive their reasons for doing so.

    Billy,

    I don’t see how that would make it any more likely that historians would believe them. If people have a proven track record of lying through their teeth then historians would have to treat all of their utterances with the deepest of suspicion. Remember it is not just unionists who are mocking their blatant lies, but republicans also.

  • Decimus

    All you need after that is some charisma, some balls, a pretext of one minor form or another, a few guns in the hands of bored, stupid cornerboys and you’re off and running to political instability for which you claim no responsibility but claim all of the political, career and financial advantage.

    Nun,

    And a blatantly hostile state which has an illegal claim on your territory, and which has politicians who are tripping over themselves to be more rabidly republican than their rivals; on the anniversary of what your community regards as a determined effort to force them out of their country.

  • Decimus

    “They didn’t guard the border, wasn’t in their interests and it wasn’t their job”

    Interesting perspective, Now, were offences committed in Ireland of

    * conspiracy to murder?
    * possession of firearms / bombs with intent?

    I assume it ‘wasnt in their interests’ to deal with those either.

    Cynic2,

    Exactly. The posters who talk about the ROI ‘guarding the border’ are producing a red herring. No one ever asked, or expected them to guard the border. What was expected of them was they would deal with the illegal terrorist organisation which was using their territory as a safe haven.

    Towards the end of the Troubles they did just that, but it took them quite a while to realise that PIRA were as big a threat to their state as they were to NI.

  • Mark

    It stands to reason that some gardai would have been sympathetic to the Republican cause after watching their counterparts in the RUC operate a shoot to kill policy along the border during the 80’s .

    Re Smithwick – David Trimble only asked for an inquiry into the Buchanan / Breen killing after reading Toby Harnden’s book Bandit Country .

    Harnden makes the point about how well the Gardai managed the border during the foot and mouth outbreak – where there’s a will there’s ………..

  • Decimus

    It stands to reason that some gardai would have been sympathetic to the Republican cause after watching their counterparts in the RUC operate a shoot to kill policy along the border during the 80′s .

    Mark,

    If that is true then it is a very serious matter indeed, because that would suggest that their sympathy for PIRA led to collusion with them. It is the mirror image of what republicans have accused the RUC of.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Successive Irish governments did cast their eyes northwards to seek out alleged abuses by the UK government. Whilst doing so they cynically ignored the murderous activities in their own hinterland.

    Perhaps, as had been suggested on this thread, they did so because they shared the same loathing of the ‘invaders’ with those who were pulling the triggers and detonating the bombs. Why would the average garda concern themselves with the lads returning south on ‘active service’ when it was merely the ‘War of Independence’ Round 2 as they saw it?

    From the mid-seventies onwards RUC and Garda stations and cars operating along the border were equipped with a joint radio network called ‘X-Ray’. The idea being that either Force could contact the other immediately on the occurrence of an incident. The introduction of the system was the culmination of a tortuous round of talks between the UK and Irish governments that lasted years (no foot dragging there).

    ‘X-Ray’ was nicknamed by the RUC the “submarine radio” as it was indeed the Silent Service. When called the Guards seldom answered, usually claiming to have been in a radio blackspot at the time of the original transmission or having had a technical fault.

    The RUC were especially guaranteed silent air when attempting to report an ongoing incident such as one gun attack on Belcoo RUC station when the Garda in Blacklion were ‘out to lunch’ as the terrorists making their escape drove past the guards’ own front door.

  • Decimus

    I recall as a teenager seeing a book in the library in which a photojournalist had followed a PIRA asu during its activities south of the border. There were photos of them (all unmasked) preparing for and then participating in what I assume was a cross border shoot.

    After the shoot there were pictures of them sitting in a Garda station where their Tommy guns etc were piled on a table and a beaming middle aged Garda was passing around cups of tea. The book recorded that they were then released. I can’t remember whether they had their guns confiscated or not.

    I’ve never seen that book since, and I’m assuming that the events depicted in it happened right at the beginning of the Troubles, but that is definitely what was contained in it.

  • socaire

    Be a bit more careful of the mushrooms that you eat, Decimus.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Congratulations Decimus you’ve earned the distinction of being the subject of pure man-playing.

    Your posts must have hit a nerve with the socaire-puppet.

  • socaire

    You think such a book exists, sos?

  • Mark

    Decimus ,

    A shoot to kill policy is indeed a very serious matter and might I suggest that British policy in general in relation to the North garnered sympathy for the Republican cause on a huge scale and not just in this country .

    As far as comparing Garda collusion with RUC collusion ….. that’s like comparing Justin Bieber and Frank Sinatra .

  • Decimus

    SoS,

    I am being accused of being a liar. That is Socaire’s perogative, but I can assure you that I saw that the book exists. Unfortunately my trips to the library as a child were pretty infrequent and I never saw it again. I’ve noticed that a lot of republican propaganda books aren’t around for very long presumably because they don’t get a very big run due to lack of sales.

  • Decimus

    Mark,

    You highlighted the Garda sympathy for the IRA yourself mo chara.

  • socaire

    I did not call you a liar, Decimus. I believe that you think you saw such a book. But remember the sh*t heaped on poor Gerry’s head over a simple mistake about a song title/date? And seeing as you are in good form, ‘mo chara’ is not grammatically correct.

  • Decimus

    socaire,

    My memory is not quite so hazy as Gerry’s, and unlike him I do not invent things.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Decimus,

    You’ll not need me to tell you that personal abuse, including challenging your veracity, is the stock in trade of some of the pro Irish Republican posters on this site. I’m not decided yet if it’s a step up or a step down from whataboutery. But hey ho so the world turns.

    Of course it may be unkind of me to suggest that there may be something of judging others by their own standards of behaviour going on as well.

  • Decimus

    SoS,

    Points taken.

  • socaire

    If you, Decimus, or your doppelganger had been in HMP Port Laoise during the 1980’s as Republican prisoners (being creative here), you would not be as sure of the Blueshirts’ love of the Provos as you seem to be.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Moi aussi socaire? Well thankee ma’am.

  • galloglaigh

    Decimus

    if that is true then… that would suggest that their sympathy for PIRA led to collusion

    Again Decimus you’re guilty of hype and exaggeration. The telling words in your post are ‘if that is true’. But is it true – and can you offer definitive information on Irish defence force collusion? If you get a minute, please share a link with the rest of us, so we can all conclude this thread?

    Sonofstrongbow

    Perhaps… they did so because they shared the same loathing of the ‘invaders’ with those who were pulling the triggers and detonating the bombs

    Again, the telling word is ‘Perhaps’. Hype and exaggeration. See above!

    When called the Guards seldom answered, usually claiming to have been in a radio blackspot

    Opinion or fact – that is the $1million Dollar question. Apparently you have the answer? I wonder where the RUC radio operator was on the day of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? Perhaps they forgot to charge the handset that day? If that is true then… that would… [have] led to collusion?

    P.S. Decimus. What was it I said before about the Orange Chronicle? Like I said, you’re a good man for seeking evidence. Any chance of some for your 6:40 post, and your 7:24 posts. Pure whataboutrey, and in fairness pure propaganda!

  • galloglaigh

    Decimus

    I recall as a teenager seeing a book in the library in which a photojournalist had followed Santa during his activities south of the border. There were photos of him (all unmasked) preparing for and then participating in what I assume was a cross border present drop.

    After the shoot there were pictures of him sitting in a Garda station where his presents were piled on a table and a beaming middle aged Garda was passing around cups of tea. The book recorded Santa was then released. I can’t remember whether he had presents confiscated or not.

    I’ve never seen that book since, and I’m assuming that the events depicted in it happened right at the beginning of the Troubles, but that is definitely what was contained in it.

  • socaire

    Jeez. galloglaigh, are you on the mushrooms too?

  • sonofstrongbow

    gg,

    You will be aware that when AGS, belatedly, informed RUC HQ of the bombing outrages the police mounted vcps together with the army at points along the border.

    No doubt with your green-tinted (only ‘tinted’ – Ed) view of history this was simply to welcome home the conquering heroes.

    Contrast that response to the guards failure to set up vcps in the Border region following the escape from HMP Maze and the murder of an unarmed prison officer and the shooting of others.

    Too busy setting up a few jars in the local bar?

  • anne warren

    With regard to Decimus’s 6.40 post I feel a little realism is needed
    Decimus
    Let’s use your favourite verb here and assume the book exists.
    You said “Unfortunately my trips to the library as a child were pretty infrequent and I never saw it again”.
    Popular book? Many people borrowing it? What did the book contain besides those pictures that fascinated the young Decimus on the one occasion that he saw them?

    From your description, the following interpretation of pictures is as valid as yours. What you assume was a cross border shoot has at least one rational/legal explanation .
    Here’s one example: before and after shots of a huntin’ and shootin’ party, going after partridges and pheasants.

    “sitting in a Garda station /Garda passing around cups of tea” Unmasked hunters (local bigwigs?) relaxed with their friend the local Garda, telling him what a great day they had had. Maybe gifted him a brace of partridges

    “their Tommy guns etc were piled on a table”
    I don’t know if you were able to identify Thompson machine guns etc as a teenager/child. Could you have confused them with shotguns and hunting rifles, particularly if they were in a pile? In any case it is strange the guns weren’t stacked upright in a corner, against a wall, if ther was no rack. Apart from basic security, even a complicit Garda would hardly want them cluttering up the table while he handed round cups of tea, jugs of milk and sugar bowls.

    They were then released. Went home?

    I can’t remember whether they had their guns confiscated or not . Probably not as they were legal huntin’ rifles.

    I’m assuming that the events depicted in it happened right at the beginning of the Troubles. Why? Your age? The fashion in huntin’/shootin’ clothes, which you could have confused with camouflage, hasn’t changed much over the years. Was it an old book or a modern edition?

    “but that is definitely what was contained in it.” Yes, the book very definitely contained a picture story of local Garda’s friends (local nobs?) before and after a day out huntin’ and shootin’.

    Can you prove these assumptions aren’t as valid as yours?

  • galloglaigh

    Sonofstrongbow

    You’re comparing apples and oranges. If that’s all the Irish Defence Forces are, then they’re Saints compared to their British counterparts. Seriously hi. While the evidence is there for the orange (British), it doesn’t mean you can blame the apple (Irish) without anything to back it up. It’s really that simple.

    Socaire

    Decimus emailed me some. You should try them!

  • socaire

    Right! Yous have embarassed the lad enough. Let that be an end to it.

  • sonofstrongbow

    gg,

    You’re a rare one and no mistake. When you took Murder Gang Support 101 you must have been told at the very least to follow your own arguments.

    You posed a question in an earlier post about the whereabouts of the police following the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I replied with some of their responses.

    I can understand why you would not wish to engage with that. It is oft the case with those who hold rigid partisan points of view that their response is to either go for a bathe in that big river in Africa or (metaphorically) cover their ears and hum a favourite tune (no doubt in your case it’ll be the ‘Broad Black Brimmer).

    Anyhoo it’s not for me to shake you out of your reverie. There, there now, the world is just exactly like you dream it to be.

  • galloglaigh

    Sonofstrongbow

    I’m not sure you understood my post. What I did was put the shoe on the other foot and make the exact same claims you made. It doesn’t matter what the RUC’s response was. Just like your claim, my claim was backed up with not one shred of evidence. Why can’t you see that?

  • Mick Fealty

    SoS,

    You have a knack of turning a conversation into a personal scrap. Stick to the subject in hand. Count to ten before you press submit. Because if you don’t you are heading for another carding.

    GG,

    Leaving aside the political assertions about virtue, you’re producing an argument that can be redeployed to back up the UK position on Barron. The UK’s offence there is simply not to supply the evidence.

  • Decimus

    anne,

    To answer your points. Like many troubles era teenagers I was more than capable of identifying the various weapons that were in use at the time. The folks in the book were toting Garands and Tommy guns. I never quite got the Belfast knack of identifying the various weapons from the sound of the shots fired though.

  • RepublicanStones

    Except, the likes of the UN don’t actually do them.

    Wasn’t thinking of the UN Mick. Bearing in mind Britain’s permanent seat and pull at the organization (witness US rubbing hands in glee at election of Ban Ki Moon) I’;d be hesitant. Was thinking more along the lines of the Carter Centre (not sure if its in their remit) or some other respected human rights NGO type org. I realise it’s pie in the sky, but that shouldn’t prevent us from advocating such.

  • Decimus

    SoS,

    You have a knack of turning a conversation into a personal scrap. Stick to the subject in hand. Count to ten before you press submit. Because if you don’t you are heading for another carding.

    Mick,

    Which is exactly what ‘GG’ is trying to achieve, and that is why I am not engaging in any conversations with ‘GG’. When someone is describing the Church of Ireland as the religious wing of the Orange Order then you know that you have a troll on your hands.

  • galloglaigh

    you’re producing an argument that can be redeployed to back up the UK position on Barron

    Mick, what I’m doing is reversing the posts of two others, and referring them back at their own accusations. Any suggestion I’ve made has started with presumptions, and I can’t substantiate them. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

  • Mick Fealty

    RepStones,

    The point Bradley was trying to make is that no one does them. They’re like the sky hooks the apprentices in H&W were sent to get from the stores on their first day of work. They exist only for the amusement of old hands.

    Making the idea itself a non trivial distraction tactic.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Decimus,

    I’ll happily take the rap. As a bit of a Billy Goat Gruff I enjoy locking horns with any trolls I find lurking under the Slugger bridge.

    Mick,

    Ok point taken.

  • RepublicanStones

    Mick as i said, its pie in the sky. But that shouldn’t prevent us from floating the idea. International observers do cover high profile court cases

    http://hanskoechler.com/Cambodia_trials-Rogers-2006-excerpt.pdf

    It is not much a stretch from that to having such folks ensure the independence and impartiality of the preceding element of such court cases. Indeed calling for such may force govt’s to be more forthcoming (in order to prevent the very thing they fear) so i reject the idea of it as a distraction. Just because something doesn’t exist at present, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t advocate such…Mr Glass Half Empty 😉

  • IrelandNorth

    Irish government’s turn to answer difficult questions about the past could purposefully focus one primary issue: Why successive southern governments, composed of one or other Civil War parties, adoped a ostensible policy of avoidance and denial to prevent a cross contamination by the Troubles in NI. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. Not only were northern Irish nationalist sacrificed upon the alter of political expediency, (Gov. of Ireland Act, 1921-’22), but shamefully ignored by fellow southern nationalists.