“Refuelling a pre-existing culture of victimhood with the burning kerosene of distant injustice”

We don’t often quote from Kevin Myers these days, but this piece deserves linking not least for his telling of the story of the son of one of the victims of 1 Para at the entrance to Ballymurphy in August 1971.

First:

40 years ago, the Parachute Regiment had become state-authorised killers in Northern Ireland. According to David McKittrick’s indispensable volume ‘Lost Lives’, the Paras killed 39 people between 1971 and 1976. Only seven of these were paramilitaries: but one of those, Joe McCann, the Official IRA leader, was gunned down, unarmed, on a May Saturday afternoon.

The death toll of 33 unarmed victims killed by the three battalions of the Parachute Regiment is more than that for hundreds of battalions of the rest of the British army and Royal Marines combined.

That’s the bloodied tip of the iceberg; what these figures don’t show were the Paras’ regimes of terror and brutality within the areas they governed.

Young men were routinely beaten by Para patrols. Hundreds of working-class houses were wrecked in random retaliatory raids.

Then:

They were a disgrace to the British army and a joy and a delight to the Provisional IRA, for which they were a major recruiting sergeant. And now the Northern Attorney General John Larkin QC has ordered a new inquest into 10 of these killings, on internment day, near New Barnsley housing estate on August 9, 1971.

One of the victims was Daniel Teggert. His son John, welcoming the decision, said that it would not end the campaign for a full independent investigation.

And the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, was of course invited onto RTE to add his voice to the denunciations of the Paras all those years ago. He wasn’t, of course, asked on RTE about the subsequent fate of the two sons of Daniel Teggert, who had been shot by the Paras.

After their father’s death, the twins Bernard and John Teggert became troubled teenagers and were sent to St Patrick’s Institute. They were aged 15. The IRA abducted them as suspected informers. Bernard pleaded with the IRA to leave his brother alone. So they just shot him, and – rather kindly – gave John the bus fare home.

Bernard’s body was dumped in Bellvue Zoo with the word “tout” on his chest. And John – with whom, by God, I sympathise – is the man who this week welcomed the announcement of the new inquest.

And finally:

Meanwhile, history is remorselessly examined with a one-sided agenda, refuelling a pre-existing culture of victimhood with the burning kerosene of distant injustice. Yes, an inquiry into one dead Teggert, killed by 1 PARA, but not into the other, killed by the PIRA.

  • Red Lion

    Yup, thats the way it is. The state have paper records and officials/officers of the state who can be called to inquiries etc for an examination and scrutiny of what they did in their ‘official’ capacity.

    The Repubican and Loyalist paramilitaries have no paper records and or lists of their ‘officials’ , no one has any record of who did what and who was where and who took the decision and gave the order etc

    Therefore the chance of victims of paramilitary violence are at an immediate disadvantage in any trying to get at the truth. Sinn Fein, for example, know this and are only too happy to push for inquiries into state wrongs, knowing full well that their crimes, even if their was a truth commision, will never face the same scrutiny. Thus a disproportionate and one sided view of the troubles in their favour emerges, an airbrushing of their past.

  • Turgon

    socaire,
    “Maybe one was innocent and maybe one was guilty?”

    Wrong both were innocent. They had no fair trial and there was no death penalty in Northern Ireland (nor the RoI). They were innocent and one was unlawfully killed: almost certainly murdered. Just as their father may very well have been unlawfully killed – quite possibly murdered. Those who killed their father should be investigated and hopefully their guilt or innocence assesed in a court of law. The same should happen for whoever murdered the son.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Murder is murder, is murder. My reading of the Kevin Myers article is that his main intention was to take RTE to task for its kid glove treatment of Gerry Adams. [edited moderator]

  • Cynic2

    “The same should happen for whoever murdered the son.”

    So will the AG order a new inquest there as well?

  • socaire

    I don’t think there is any mystery or ambiguity about what fate befell the son. The important difference is that in one instance an arm of the state did the killing and in the other it was a blood crazed terrorist, n’est-ce-pas?

  • Rory Carr

    “Yes, an inquiry into one dead Teggert, killed by 1 PARA, but not into the other, killed by the PIRA.”

    Hardly. Kevin Myers, while affecting even-handed balance betrays his bias when he wrongly names which Teggert has been denied an inquiry.

    More accurately there was an immediate inquest and murder inquiry into the death of Bernard Teggert who was killed by the IRA.

    As to Bernard’s father, Daniel Teggert and nine other unarmed civilians gunned down by the Paras on the first day of internment, no inquiry as yet has even begun (and may never begin) and even the initial hurried inquest into their killings has at last, after 40 years of campaigning, been deemed flawed.

    All IRA killings have been treated as murder and investigated accordingly. As Myers points out there have been 32 unarmed civilians killed by the Paras and one unarmed Official IRA volunteer and all swept under the carpet of state collusion.

    What was that again about, “history … remorselessly examined with a one-sided agenda” ?

  • Alias

    Bernard Teggert was a 15 year old boy with the mental age of an 8 year old. PIRA denied involvement in his murder for more than 30 years. The modus operandi of his abduction and murder is that of The Unknowns – a secret murder gang led by Gerry Adams that was also responsible for the abduction and murder of Jean McConville.

  • Mick Fealty

    Socaire,

    Myers’ argument is that that is no mystery either.

  • aquifer

    Truth is the first casualty of war and the IRA were expert and selective assassins. Expect no open discussion of what may have happened to the Catholic Community with no British Army, or no Paras to prevent IRA violence escalating out of control.

    The Paras are attack troops trained in exponential aggression. They are not expected to last long in action. Restraint and mental balance are not prerequisites for useful service attacking defended enemy positions. Ask some of their ex-partners.

    Were they sent into urban areas in their open jeeps, or effectively invited by IRA tactics?

    The IRA may feel themselves on safe ground here, as the Brits will not want to invoke war crimes legislation for the IRA’s uncivil war, but many of us remember the civilian deaths, the squalid assassinations of local people serving in uniforms after having their details spied out.

    And the showy murders of IRA men who told the truth about it all, for bursting the puffed up bloody bubble so messily.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory,

    You might want to do a recount on that.

  • Rory Carr

    Can you elaborate please, Mick?

  • John Ó Néill

    There is a factual inaccuracy in Myers last statement: there is no inquiry – the inquest has been deemed to have been flawed and is being re-opened. It is not an inquiry. It is misleading to conflate the two. Am afraid that the one-sided comment is so Freudian that it just can’t be tackled without man-playing.

  • Mick Fealty

    I don’t think you have your numbers right for that. I make it seven others. Not nine. Fourteen were killed that day, six elsewhere.

  • Rory Carr

    I was relying on the numbers given in Myers’ article:

    And now the Northern Attorney General John Larkin QC has ordered a new inquest into 10 of these killings, on internment day, near New Barnsley housing estate on August 9, 1971.

    The Ballynurphy Massacre campaign group.confirm that, as well as Daniel Teggert, the other nine were: Fr Hugh Mullan, Francis Quinn, Joan Connolly, Joseph Murphy, Noel Phillips, Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John McKerr.

    They add, “We are extremely disappointed that the death of Pat McCarthy will not be covered by these inquests. The death of Pat McCarthy was not investigated by the Coroner in 1971 because in all of the confusion and misinformation surrounding the Massacre, his death was recorded as a heart attack. However, we now know that Pat’s heart attack occurred as he was subjected to a cruel and terrifying mock execution, and what’s more, he was denied access to medical help which could have saved his life.”

    The Sutton statistics in CAIN appear to be incomplete.

  • Peckerhead

    Why didn’t Myers just write a whole page, paragraphs and all, with the repeat line of ‘Yes, yes, it was terrible – but what about the Provos?’ It would have saved him the bother of writing what he did and me the bother of reading it. Because what he is actually saying is that those murder victims aren’t innocent enough to have their deaths examined on their own because Provos Provos West Belfast Gerry Adams Provos IRA. Because that’s what everything boils down to in the end. There can be no justice, however minuscule, in favour of the British army’s innocent murder victims because Gerry Adams Martin McGuinness La Mon Bloody Friday. Makes sense, and if not you’re probably in the Ra or some such organisation and so to blame for it all anyway.

    And I thought Mick discouraged whataboutery on here. It looks like he has changed his stance on such.

    I don’t even know where to start with his shite about not annoying the loyalists by looking into the murder of Taigs.

    ‘Meanwhile, history is remorselessly examined with a one-sided agenda’

    An incredible line from someone who makes his money by churning out 1916 articles a year on how the Easter rebels all had hellish fangs and claws dripping with the blood of billions.

  • Cynic2

    “Because what he is actually saying is that those murder victims aren’t innocent enough to have their deaths examined on their own because Provos Provos West Belfast Gerry Adams Provos IRA.”

    My objection to that is that its not true. What Myers did brilliantly was expose the rank hypocracy of Gerry (Takes Out Onion) Adams in supporting one inquest while avoiding all discussion of his own and other senior PIRA members culpability. They all deserve a proper investigatiopn and hearing – but some of them wont get it because it would ‘damage the process'(TM)

  • Mick Fealty

    Pecker,

    Myers point is the point of this thread.

  • Rory Carr

    If ever whataboutery was to reach its zenith, that time has surely come with the above from Cynic2,

    “What Myers did brilliantly was expose the rank hypocracy (sic) of Gerry (Takes Out Onion) Adams in supporting one inquest while avoiding all discussion of his own and other senior PIRA members culpability.”

    Firstly it is the Attorney-General who has commissioned a new inquest into the Ballymurphy Massacre deaths. Secondly all deaths attributed to the IRA have already been subject to inquest and murder investigation. Any failure to subsequently obtain convictions in these cases is the responsibility of the investigating authorities.

    There has been no investigation into the slaughter of those killed by British paratroopers on 9 August 1971, nor is there ever likely to be any successful investigation. That is unless Cynic believes that the state is capable of proving to be more zealous in the investigation of its own servants than it has been of its enemies.

    If, like me, and, I believe, Gerry Adams, Cynic, and others, wish to establish just who killed whom, where, how, when and in what circumstances during the past conflict, then he surely realises (and indeed one gets the impression that he is pushing for) the necessity for the culpable parties to come forward, insofar as is humanly possible, and own up to their part in such deaths.

    I am in favour of that, I believe that the Republican Movement is in favour of that, but, in order for it to be realised, it requires that all parties to the conflict sign up and that all parties own up.

    I am quite willing to call upon the IRA to open up all their records, all their memory banks, revisit all recollection honestly, forthrightly and without reservation. Will unionists call upon the state and unionist paramilitaries and their political allies to do the same?

    A truth and reconciliation process is possible only upon a level playing field. Is Cynic capable of recognising the absolute necessity of such precondition?

  • Dec

    Alias

    Any thoughts about Bernard’s father?

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory, the date is the misleading factor. John McKerr was not shot until two days later on the 11th. Same with Joseph Corr.

  • Neil

    First up I’d support further investigation where possible, into any and all killings during the troubles. The HET would be the people to investigate any historical crimes, should they think that the original RUC investigation was so poorly executed (intentionally or otherwise) that a new investigation is necessary.

    Of course we now know (much to the relief of some former RUC officers) that investigations into state killings cannot be carried out by the HET as the HET is not independent of the state, reporting to the CC of the PSNI, hence the need for inquiries into state killings, whereas non state historical killings can be investigated by the HET. It’s a very simple black and white distinction: if your murderer is a policeman or soldier it’s an inquiry. If your murderer is a non cop/soldier it’s an investigation you need.

    Now if you feel that the beloved by Unionists RUC were so incompetent that new investigations should be required into any historical killings here, then the HET should be your first port of call. Though be aware that they may well delve into the RUC archives and find that there’s no evidence, so any new investigation would consist of verifying that, indeed, there is no evidence available on which to base an investigation. Maybe you’d just have to console yourself that the RUC were possibly protecting some informer or other – not something Unionists have a problem with generally but I guess the shoe pinches a little on the other foot.

    As Rory says, and as Unionists consistently fail to get their head around: your sectarian, discriminatory RUC did their best for you, they tried their hardest to lock up all those evil IRA men while ensuring Loyalist killers got away with murder. They even used torture, killed by proxy and assisted murderers from your community, be they police, soldiers or paramilitaries.

    You had your investigations, carried out by a police force on your behalf which in the end was so corrupt, like your Unionist Stormont administration before that, it had to be closed down by your British government. Once again they had given you the toys but you couldn’t behave with them.

    People want inquiries into state murders because that’s the only way they can get the truth. The RUC got what truth they could for you and you loved them for it. They tortured people to get confessions and information. Against those investigative techniques what hope has the HET – not that you’re interested in that.

    No, the only time we hear Unionists say ‘whatabout our inquiries’ is when you read an internet forum. Unlike the Bloody Sunday families, or the Ballymurphy ones say, there seems to be a real shortage of actual real Unionists out campaigning for an inquiry. This is because they know: they got their investigation already, (those thousands of IRA men and innocent Catholic civilians didn’t lock themselves up ya know), from the RUC; and they don’t want any inquiries because Unionism & the British are going to look even worse than they already do.

  • Mick Fealty

    An invitation from the HET can be politely declined. It is a case review with no force in law.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Neil,

    Quick question… Were more republicans or loyalists convicted and jailed?

  • Dec

    Congal

    Were more republicans or loyalists killed by the security forces?

  • Neil

    An invitation from the HET can be politely declined. It is a case review with no force in law.

    Fair enough, but the HET will investigate where appropriate regardless of who chooses to respond to their invitations or otherwise, using whatever information gathered by the RUC at the time.

    The point being that the HET can investigate IRA actions. They cannot investigate state killings. Victims of the IRA have a process whereby they can get truth (assuming of course that the IRA man in question hasn’t already been jailed). Victims of state murder don’t have that option.

    Quick question… Were more republicans or loyalists convicted and jailed?

    Well I have to say you’ve got me there. I don’t know. Google didn’t thrown the results up quickly enough. Though I did come across the wikipedia page on Operation Demetrius, when the state imprisoned 1,874 Catholics (mostly innocent of any crime) and 107 Protestants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Demetrius

    Of course that was only over 3 years from ’72 so I’m sure you’ll be able to provide more up to date info backed up with links.

  • Old Mortality

    You might also wonder why the Teggert family are so keen to have their father’s killing investigated but are apparently completely uninterested in the killing of their brother.
    Surely they don’t think that because the IRA killed him he must have deserved his fate.
    On the other hand, there’s not much chance of getting any compo from the IRA.

  • Neil

    Surely they don’t think that because the IRA killed him he must have deserved his fate.
    On the other hand, there’s not much chance of getting any compo from the IRA.

    Deary me Old Mortality, we fenians are a subhuman bunch eh? Couldn’t care less about our own families, especially if the RA were involved, we only want money and not justice and according to the other thread our ideological position is for sale unlike your principled Unionist brethern.

  • Dec

    ‘You might also wonder why the Teggert family are so keen to have their father’s killing investigated but are apparently completely uninterested in the killing of their brother.

    Probably because as it currently stands, their father’s killing is not even considered a crime. However, I don’t expect facts to get in the way of your toxic bigotry.

    Congal

    Since you’re still struggling with an anaswer to my question the answer is Republicans with 145 killed by the security forces as opposed to 18 loyalists.

  • Mick Fealty

    I would not necessarily assume that he’s struggling Dec… But if we are going down the stats route, let’s pull out a bit first…

    The biggest single group of people to be killed in the conflict was civilians (2087). By contrast, only 167 Loyalist paramilitaries (who account for most number of the Catholics killed) lost their lives. A much larger, but still relatively minor number of Republican paramilitaries lost their lives (395). The second largest group of deaths were the security forces (1012).

    If you cut the civilian figure down, nearly twice as many Catholic civilians (1259) lost their lives as Protestants (727) – if you go through the kill rates year by year, the proportion shifts but I think this pattern coheres from beginning to end.

    By far the greatest number of overal deaths were in Belfast, and the greatest number of those were in West Belfast. By contrast, where I grew up, in North Down only six people are reckoned to have lost their lives directly because of the troubles.

    There are an awful lot of ghosts walking the streets of West Belfast. And many more who survived with scars. I knew some of them, and met others quaking in the street or in bits everytime a mortar went off…

    I do not resent anyone wanting to get to the truth. But Myers has a valid point when he asks what about ‘les autres’? Significantly, whilst he is talking about Protestant reaction, but he cites the unregarded murder of a Catholic boy. He might also have mentioned dozens of others who died in the urban warfare that followed the imposition of internment.

    I think there is a profound misunderstanding in wider Northern Ireland of what the people of West Belfast went through, and how that shaped their present day radicalism. But one-sided investigation of the past invites further exploration of events which, perhaps, we are all best left to forget, or at the very least, to begin treating all victims as though we really did believe there was no such thing as a hierarchy of victims.

    My last point is that the people who have been genuinely forgotten are the non combatants. There are subsets who have advocates, but most of the 2087 civilians have no memorial. No political advocates. And three Victims Commissioners who seem individually to be people of genuine good faith but who have no functional role to throw light on or comfort for that vast number of victims who have rather conveniently been forgotten.

  • Dec

    Mick

    My point was addressed at a common defence when challenging allegations of collusion or a different Security Services’ approach to Loyalists. I grew up as a kid in North Belfast when the Butchers had their run of the place for years, abducting people in their own brightly coloured cars. You tend to get a bit miffed when some think the Security Forces pursued loyalists with the same vigour.

    As for the topic, the murder of Daniel Teggert was savage and horrendous and is rightly deemed a crime. The Ballymurphy killings are not currently deemed criminal acts (the inference clearly being the victims had it coming in some way). There’s the difference in the cases.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    “Of course we now know (much to the relief of some former RUC officers) that investigations into state killings cannot be carried out by the HET as the HET is not independent of the state, reporting to the CC of the PSNI, hence the need for inquiries into state killings, whereas non state historical killings can be investigated by the HET. It’s a very simple black and white distinction: if your murderer is a policeman or soldier it’s an inquiry. If your murderer is a non cop/soldier it’s an investigation you need.”

    I don’t think this is correct. What was reported last week was not that the HET is not “independent of the state”, but was part of the police – therefore cannot investigate killings by the police (of which I think they said in last week’s reports there were 49 during the Troubles).

  • Mike the First

    Rory

    “More accurately there was an immediate inquest and murder inquiry into the death of Bernard Teggert who was killed by the IRA.”

    You’ll recognise of course that there was a massive, violently enforced conspiracy to prevent evidence coming before such murder inquries. Any eyewitnesses, for example, who might come forward faced the same fate as Bernard Teggart.

    Said violently-enforced conspiracy was supported, and indeed practised, by some figures very familiar to today’s public.

  • Mike the First

    Neil

    Further to my 12.54 post, there have actually been quite a few cases of the HET investigating killings by soldiers, e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11887183

  • John Brennan. Myers is taking the unionist line on inquiries by spurious comparison between what govt instigated inquiries are for. Myers and the unionist politicians complain about inquiries only in State killings even though they are both fully aware of that fact that govt has one rule for themselves[inquiries] and for the rest, the police-court-prison route. I expect unionist politicians to take advantage of the ignorance among their voters about the workings of govt to take out of context for their own ends, Myers doesn’t need votes so what is his excuse?.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dec,

    I’m with you on that. But Myers point still stands. There’s a lot of suspicion on the unionist side that Adams advocacy of this case has as much to with the justification of his role in these events as getting clarity for the victims families.

  • Neil

    Further to my 12.54 post, there have actually been quite a few cases of the HET investigating killings by soldiers, e.g. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11887183

    That article reports on an investigation into the innocence or otherwise of the soldier’s victim. It’s not an investigation into the guilt of the soldier, rather the family of an innocent victim trying to clear the name of their dead brother who had a spurious smear placed upon him by the military who said he was armed.

    The family of a man shot dead by soldiers in 1971 has welcomed a report by the Historical Enquiries team which says he was an innocent victim.

    “We welcome the HET’s conclusion that Michael was a totally innocent victim,” Mrs Kelly said.

    “He was not in possession of a firearm that night and he was not organising other gunmen in Etna Drive.”

    From another article:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-15876312

    However, the ombudsman’s office has now said domestic legislation means it cannot conduct fresh investigations into whether officers committed crimes.

    The Historical Enquiries Team cannot investigate them because European law states investigations into state killings must be fully independent.

    As the HET is accountable to the chief constable, it cannot investigate killings by police officers.

  • Old Mortality

    Neil
    ‘Deary me Old Mortality, we fenians are a subhuman bunch eh? Couldn’t care less about our own families, especially if the RA were involved, we only want money and not justice.’

    If I interpret you correctly, this campaign is only about ‘truth and justice’, That’s what we kept getting told about the Bloody Sunday campaign – at least until a decent interval after the verdict.

    Dec
    For most people there is little consolation in the murder of a relative being designated a crime if nobody is made to account for it. If they think that the original investigation was unsatisfactory, they could ask the HET to re-examine the case. But maybe that’s not how things are done in West Belfast. And it’s hardly likely that they don’t know anyone who might be able to shed some new light on the case.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dec,

    Not struggling, just back!

    I’m not surprised more republicans were killed by the security forces. Afterall, republicans were engaging with the security forces. What would you expect? I can’t think of too many times loyalists attacked the security forces. There were some. But not many.

    However, more loyalists were jailed than republicans. If you believe what Neil is suggesting then that is surprising. Which leads me to believe what Neil is suggesting either isn’t true or is at best exaggerated.

  • Munsterview

    I know Kevin for most of my adult life and surprising as it may seem, he is a pleasant and engaging man to spend an afternoon with. Then again so is Eoghain Harris and most people like that on a personal basis!

    Myers is a contrarian pure and simple. He is retained by the Indo for the same reason as Gene Kerrigan, not for the benefit or validity of their views but because they can be guaranteed to get a head of steam up in the general readership and among the wider public ever so often.

    Micks citation of Kevin here and the fact that some will go back to source for that article, will possibly result in a few more regular readers added to the Indo’s circulation and that is what ‘contrgvesory’ it is all about, paper sales.

    The rights or wrongs of the victims do not really enter into it. One have only to recall the campaign of abuse heaped against John Hume during the ‘Hume / Adams’ talks or the sucllerous abuse of Mary McAilese, arguably the best President that Ireland has yet had, when she was running for office to see where the Indo ethos really is.

    Other than to run down Republicans, North and South, or radical Nationalists, whenever the oppertunity presents, the Indo could not give a damm about the North and all the witterings that Myres will indulge in cannot change that fact !

  • Neil

    However, more loyalists were jailed than republicans. If you believe what Neil is suggesting then that is surprising. Which leads me to believe what Neil is suggesting either isn’t true or is at best exaggerated.

    That makes very little sense to me. Are you suggesting I’ve exaggerated the numbers jailed by the British State, lifted from the web page, link provided?

    You have made the statement more loyalists were jailed than republicans. You have provided no evidence for this, no link, no nothing. It’s a statement of your own opinion.

    I’ve provided my source yet I’m potentially a liar, you have provided zip and we are to take your word? Roughly correct?

  • Mick Fealty

    For gods sake Quit screaming at each other. Do the work (Congael). And let others make what they will of it!

  • Alan N/Ards

    Neil

    You seem to forget the fact that more rc’s were killed by the supposed defenders of that religion (ira,inla) than were killed by the british army.

    Once again( according to you) the ruc were working hand in glove with the loyalist gangs. If that was the case who was imprisoning loyalist’s during the troubles. Who put the shankill butcher’s, Johnny Adair, Gusty spence, David Ervine, Billy Hutchison, Jackie McDonald etc etc etc in prison. Who put the UDR four (3 were found not guilty on appeal) and numerous other rogue sercurity force members in prison for breaking the law? You obviously don’t worry about the facts.

    Kevin Myers is spot on. Once again Adams supports calls for the army to be investigated but ignores the murders of innocent children by his own organisation. No wonder childkiller Sean Kelly was feted as a hero in republican circles when released from prison.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mick,

    Didn’t realise I was screaming. I’ve tried to find statistics on the numbers of terrorist prisoners from both sides and I can’t find any. All you get is comments repearting what I’ve said. I didn’t actually think what I said was that controversial.

  • Alan N/Ards

    The people who were killed in the ballymurphy area deserve to have the killings looked into. Fair play to the families for campaigning for a new inquest. I was reading recently the the police stood to attention as one of the coffins was driven past them and saluted. What sticks in my craw is hypocrites like Adams speaking for the innocents who were murdered.

    I lost a bit respect for the families of the Bloody sunday victims in londonderry when they hugged Adams and McGuinness after their loved ones had been cleared of any fault in their own deaths. These two cheerleaders of a gang, that took the lives of so many innocent people, should have had the decency to have stayed away from the event.

  • Mick Fealty

    Conal, you were causing Neil some physical pain… just give us the data…

    Heinz,

    You come back after three weeks, I expect you to engage!!

  • JR

    In my view it is still very important for the families of those killed by the state to have those unlawful deaths acknowledged. I think when someone is killed by the state it is considerably aggravating factor in the loss.

    But I do agree with Keven on one thing. Those who did not have a direct family member or close friend killed of seriously injured cannot continue to cling to cereal victimhood. I think there are far too many people here who carry a disproportionately large chip on their shoulder against the other community.

    I think where the truth is available get it out and move on. The truth is for to ease the pain of those who directly lost loved ones and for us all to respectfully learn lessons from the past. Not to be raked up at every opportunity, to be used to score cheap points or to continuously deride your political opponents.

  • Brian

    “Myers is a contrarian pure and simple. He is retained by the Indo for the same reason as Gene Kerrigan, not for the benefit or validity of their views but because they can be guaranteed to get a head of steam up in the general readership and among the wider public ever so often. ”

    MV is right on here. Long ago I stopped thinking that KM could actually believe some of the more absurd tripe he puts in his column. His brand of editorializing must have been shown to increase readership. I would assume it’s easier for him to write this kind of stuff than truly write a provoking opinion piece very week about a broad sway of topics.

  • Alias

    “Any thoughts about Bernard’s father?”

    The issue isn’t, as the usual Shinner proxies are proffering, that the State should attach the label of criminality to particular acts committed by its security forces. They do not attach any absolute legitimacy to what the State deems to be criminal acts. They insist that PIRA murders were political rather than criminal acts, whereas the State insists vice versa. Indeed, there is another thread where men were led by PIRA leaders to starve themselves to death in perverse denial of the State’s right to deem particular acts to be criminal.

    The issue is that justice has been denied, and that it isn’t served simply by the state agreeing that the murder of one of its citizens was an illegal act. Bernard Teggert is as entitled to justice as his father is. That justice should take the form of those who participated and organised his murder spending what remains of their lives in prison. However, Gerry Adams is protected by the State and so it is highly unlikely that any attempt will be made by the State to bring him to justice for his role in young Bernard’s murder. The British state is as rotton as it ever was. Likewise, those who vote for him and his party are as rotton as they ever were.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Yet more slippery flip-flopping from the Irish Republican murder gang support base, sometimes known as the Hokey-Cokey Warriors (when the boys kill it’s war, when ours get killed it’s “state murder”).

    For one set of killings it’s ‘every death demeans us’ but our ‘honour’ prevents us from talking about it, for the others it’s inquiries, inquiries, inquiries.

    The truth is Republicans brought unimaginable violence onto the streets and the Army was deployed. This is never a good policing option and of course the resulting mistakes, overreactions and in some cases criminal actions were exactly what Republicans wished for. That ‘their’ people suffered was a price the terrorists were more than happy to see paid – by others of course.

    In common with the vast majority of unionists I demand all wrongdoers are brought to justice without fear or favour; and I mean ‘all’, not a cherry-picked and selected few.

    At the height of the violence the majority of my community supported law and order. This resulted in ‘loyalist’ terrorists going to jail, and in later years the failure of these selfsame terrorists gaining success at the ballot box.

    Pity others didn’t follow that example. If they had the ‘Troubles’ would have been much truncated and the trauma much reduced.

  • John Ó Néill

    Just a point of information regarding Bernard Teggart and the idea of forgotten victims.

    In October 2004 it was widely reported that An Poblacht published a statement from the IRA (this was reported on Slugger at the time).
    The statement in full read (as per the link):

    “Following a request from the family of 15-year-old Bernard Teggart from Belfast, the IRA has carried out an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death on November 13 1973.
    “At the time no formal claim of responsibility for his death was issued. We can now confirm that Bernard Teggart was shot by the IRA. We offer our sincere apologies to the Teggart family for the pain and grief we have caused.
    “The killing of Bernard Teggart should not have happened.”

    The article in An Poblacht also included a statement from Sinn Féin:

    “The IRA has accepted responsibility for the killing of Bernard Teggart and recognised the hurt and pain caused and stated that this should never have happened,” he said.
    “Hopefully, this statement will be of some help to the family of Bernard Teggart, and particularly his mother, as they search for closure.”

    This was also reported on again, in August 2009 when the IRA were said to have confirmed categorically that he had not been an informer.

    In reports of the 2004 statement and elsewhere, Bernard’s twin is named as Gerard, not John (as per the Myers piece).

  • Peckerhead

    “But one-sided investigation of the past invites further exploration of events which, perhaps, we are all best left to forget, or at the very least, to begin treating all victims as though we really did believe there was no such thing as a hierarchy of victims.”

    Mick,
    What is this one side investigation of the past that you imagine is taking place? Ex-Provos are still being jailed for things done 30 or 40 years ago.

    Absolutely unbelievable. Mind = totally blown.

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s how Fintan put it in that Slugger post John mentioned from 2004:

    “Sinn Féin’s inability to apply to itself the standards of truth and justice it demands of others is deeply pathological. What happens to IRA arms is vastly less important than what happens to the IRA mindset.

    The sickness that allowed the IRA to murder a mentally handicapped child in the name of Irish freedom won’t be cured until the so-called republican movement is willing to confront, in an open and democratic way, the crimes it committed. Until that happens, Sinn Féin is not fit for government.”

    Well, he was talking about the south, not what happened three years later. And to be fair the UK govt subsequently brought in 2005 Enquiries Act so that none of these fragments of the past could be properly examined.

    Shades though of what drove the anti McGuinness hysteria in the recent Presidential election. Generally though no one else is making an issue of the past. SF ministers are in government and apparently ready to deliver.

    The fact that some ex Provos are being arrested should be a warning as where this campaigning for justice for some whilst denying something even less than justice to others could end up.

    Are we sure some future prosecution against a senior Republican leader is impossible? And were it to happen, are we certain it would not destabilise the good of what we have?

  • Brian

    ‘This was also reported on again, in August 2009 when the IRA were said to have confirmed categorically that he had not been an informer.’

    The PIRA should name what pyschopath killed this mentally handicapped boy. How dare these people claim to vanguards for so called Irish freedom? How dare they claim to care about any victims while not coming clean about their own killings of noncombatants?

    If I was John I would feel sick anytime I saw Gerry attempting to speak for me or my community. He caused more pain to his constituents than any Para.

  • Brian

    John Teggart*

  • Rory Carr

    I must say that I too was bothered by Mick’s assertion of a “one-sided investigation of the past”.

    Let us examine the reality here; Catholic civilians were brutally gunned down by British paratroopers “acting in support of the civil authority”, as the niceties of the day would have it. No proper investigation of these deaths was ever commenced. The new Attorney-General has now found the original inquests on these deaths to have been sufficiently flawed that he has ordered that new inquests be held. That is the state of play to date.

    Enter Kevin Myers who introduces the red herring of killings by Republicans to slyly undermine the justification for these inquests.

    The cry is then taken up that these inquests and any subsequent investigation into these deaths ought perhaps not take place because Protestants wouldn’t like it. They would be upset at the idea of the state investigating the murders of Catholics by state forces.That they are justified in this upset because there has been no investigation into IRA murders despite the fact that this is simply untrue – all deaths laid at the door of the IRA have been treated as murder inquiries and many have resulted in convictions. Indeed quite a few have resulted in wrongful convictions where state agents concocted evidence and committed perjury in order to convict the innocent. Turgon seems to have been the lone unionist voice of dissent from this whole vile, crude, sectarian attempt to deny a semblance of justice to innocent civilians gunned down by Briitish paratroopers for the crime of being Irish Catholic,or at least working-class Irish Catholic.

    If there are protestants who feel annoyed so then I, for one, certainly would wish them no relief whatsoever from their annoyance any more than I would wish an end to the discomfort of any who would seethe at the prospect of fair play. It is indeed quite disgraceful that their discomfiture be even considered in such circumstances.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Mick/Neil,

    I haven’t been able to find figures for the whole conflict. But, between 1981 to 1987 Republicans murdered 386 people and had 148 republicans charged. Loyalists murdered 69 and had 130 loyalists charged. Now I know in absolute terms that’s more republicans. However, proportionly it’s way more loyalists. Post 85 loyalists also upped their activity and I’m still pretty sure had more convictions over the course of the troubles. If I find figures I’ll let you know.

    However, I think we can discount Neil’s exaggerated account. Or as Ed Moloney, writing in the Irish Times, 20 Nov. 1982. put it that the RUC’s conviction rate for republican murders was between 50 and 60 per cent while that for loyalist murders was between 90 and 100 per cent.

  • John Ó Néill

    Mick – the irony here is that we are discussing how republicans have ‘much to fear’ from an airing of the past. This is in the context of citing a murder which the IRA apologised for (notwithstanding the limited value, if any, that an apology has) alongside a number of public discussions of the event in the media, as recently as 2004, again in 2009 and now again in 2011.

    I still can’t find a link on the web to a formal response from the British Army reviewing the eleven deaths that the Ballymurphy families have been campaigning about. Or when/where they issued an apology. Or even withdrawing any untrue claims they might have made at the time.

    Bear in mind that only one of these two groups is considered a terrorist organisation.

    I think, in that context the phrase “…denying something even less than justice…” has an awfully hollow ring to it. The state has already demonstrated the fiscal scale of its resistance to decommissioning the past at Saville. If Cameron’s apology had had any credibility to it, it would not take long for the government to release any relevant after action reports for the likes of Ballymurphy and make a meaningful statement. In many ways, it would be relatively easy to transform the past into lazy grazing for historians rather than keeping it politically active.

  • Nunoftheabove

    What is the relationship between the number of murders and number of murderers, still less the number of people convicted of crimes in relation to those murders ?

  • Mick Fealty

    All true, in the strictest sense Rory. All I am saying is that this contemporary preoccupation with the past (the Ballymurphy campaign appears to be just over two years old) could prove to be a revolving door. Ditto John.

  • Mick Fealty

    Congal,

    I think you may find they killed as many or more. Neil’s assertion stands (provisionally) until you come up with the figures.

  • Congal Claen

    Number of persons charged with terrorist and serious public order offences by paramilitary grouping, 2000-2003

    Republican 286 Loyalist 537

  • John Ó Néill

    Just to save everyone the trouble – the quote below is Bill Rolston on prisoner numbers in a report for OFMDFM. There is a PhD or a couple of MAs worth of work here for anyone interested.

    The record of how many people experienced time in prison as a result of the conflict is less precise than might be imagined. We are on firmest ground in relation to internment in the early 1970s. Three hundred and fifty men were arrested and interned initially (Coogan 1995: 126). A total of 1,981 people (mostly men) were interned: 1,874 nationalists and 107 loyalists (Bowcott 2010).
    Shirlow and McEvoy (2008) estimate that 15,000 republicans and between 5,000 and 10,000 loyalists were imprisoned during the conflict. But loyalists frequently put
    the figure higher in relation to their experience; Tom Roberts of EPIC (in Mitchell 2003) states that there were upwards of 12,000 loyalist prisoners.
    Jamieson, Shirlow and Grounds (2010) conclude that politically motivated former prisoners make up between 14 and 31% of the population of Northern Ireland males aged 50-59, and between 4 and 12% of those 60-64. Some area studies have allowed for more precision. Thus the 640 republican former prisoners identified by Ritchie (1998) in his study of the Upper Springfield area represent 5.6% of the
    population of the area, and an estimated 11% of the population of 25 years and over.
    In his research O’Neill (1998) located 440 republican prisoners and ex-prisoners in the relatively small New Lodge Road area of Belfast, but does not say what percentage of the local population this number represents. Hamber (2005) says that over 800 republicans in Derry have gone through political imprisonment, and approximately 70 of those went through the no-wash protest. Finally, 1018 women served time as politically motivated prisoners (Corcoran 2006).
    The vast bulk of these were republicans.
    It must also be pointed out that these figures relate only to those who have been sentenced and served time for offences related to the conflict. Those combatants who were never thus processed represent another, probably large, group of people.
    Some of them have from time to time, anonymously, been interviewed by researchers and journalists, but there is no systematic study of their experiences and the effects the conflict had on them. It is impossible to ascertain whether these experiences differ significantly from those of their fellow ex-combatants who were imprisoned.

  • jjg

    john first let me comend you on you correcting this rant from kevin myres as you have done your research and found that bernards family had carried out a sucessful campaign not only for an apoladgy to totally clear bernards name of any tags or lies told about him .they continue to campaign to do the same for thier father to get an investigation and totally clear his name and put both thier names offically inocent

  • Nunoftheabove

    Congal Claen

    But that number may conceal any number of other factors; how many are actually involved (one man involved in 16 killings, evades arrest, 3 people incolved in three killings, not adept at evading apprehension etc), how adept they were/are at evading arrest/conviction etc, the extent of state penetration and ability to gather evidence etc – seems like you’re possibly reading into a lot into these numbers without considering causality or different possible bases of interpretation.

  • Dec

    ‘I’m not surprised more republicans were killed by the security forces. Afterall, republicans were engaging with the security forces. What would you expect? I can’t think of too many times loyalists attacked the security forces. There were some. But not many.’
    Congal

    You’re basing that on the assumption that all republicans were killed in gunfights that’s utter nonsense. As even Myers piece indicates, Joe McCann for example, was shot in the back walking through the Markets. Loyalists knew they could expect different treatment – witness Joe Coggle Jr’s cry when his UDA hit-team were intercepted by the army in the early 1990s: ‘Don’t shoot, we’re Prods’.

  • Mick Fealty

    JR,

    The problem with processing only the state’s transgressions is that it is numerically disproportionate to the total number of dead. The toxic resentment it backs up is enormous.

    Emotionally I feel close to the people who died that day, and the place. But who remembers Angela Gallagher, an 18 month baby girl hit by ricochet less than a mile from these events when all this is going down?

    I have no doubt it will help the people who get some relief from it. But it is not helping a very substantial legacy problem in general. These things can get very toxic indeed with time.

  • Munsterview

    Mick : “…..The problem with processing only the state’s transgressions is that it is numerically disproportionate to the total number of dead…..”

    Mick, you are missing the point here. A State is supposed to operate within ‘The Rule Of Law’ to only use reasonable and proportionate force and it is supposed to have full accountability for it’s Government, their Agents and Servants for all acts, be they correct or of wrongdoing.

    I have consistently made the point here that since the end of the Second World War, The British have been involved of dozens of Counter Insurgency Operations against Freedom Fighters in what are now ex-Colonial countries and all of them had their ‘Bloody Sundays’ and ‘Ballymurphys’ as the same systems of wanton brutality were used to suppress the Revolutionary forces in all of these countries.

    What is more, not alone were these ‘Bloody Sundays’ and Ballymurphys’ tolerated by the British Governments of the day, the only lessons taken from each successive conflict by the British Government was how to lie more effectively and better cover up their activities.

    The extent of this black art of cover up and concealment is now such that in the recent Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts with compliant ’embedded’ journalists ‘covering’ these wars, the Government and British Armed Forces have total control of what appears in the International news and we have to rely on personal mobile phone videos from survivors of the local acts of carnage to give us a glimpse of what is really happening in these locations.

    This in the most advanced era of instant communications and International media that can transmit video of disasters within minutes of occurrence and in real time.

    When ITV, BBC, The Guardian and the English Independent go along with this system rather than refusing to work it and highlighting the levels of control and news manipulation involved,
    then it is indeed really a case of ‘Houston we have a problem’

    As to the activities of the British Army, you Mick or anyone else out there can look up specialist publications such as ‘The Small Wars Journal’ or the agenda of ‘Hearts and Minds Conferences’ or the subject material of ‘Security Conferences’ on the net and it soon becomes clear that there was nothing random or accidental about ‘Bloody Sunday’ or ‘Ballymurphys’ etc murders, these were planned premeditated acts in furderance of a ‘Securecat’ policy that was fully backed and supported by the British Governments of the day.

    I was in the FCA ( now Army Reserve) for a few years and an acting NCO in that organization, in as much as that qualify me for anything I have done enough weekend service and annual camps to have some appreciation as to how military operate and reacts.

    These killings were not random, arbitrary acts, there were events carried out as deliberate sanctioned acts of British Government Policy in the Occupied Six Counties and just another set of milestones along the way marking similar events in the Anti-British Uprisings going back to Malaysia and Burma in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.

    This is the nub of the problem regarding any full accounting for the Ballymurphys Massacre, the Pat Finnucane State Assassination, or another such events, they are all viewed by the British Government as ‘damage limitation exercises’ as once there is an open examination and a hierarchy of responsibility established, the various levels quickly ascend all the ways to the British Cabinet Table.

    Until there is full and open accountability and an acceptance of British Government responsibility to deal with the cause, then, by concentrating on individual killings, we are dealing with the effects only.

    You are an intelligent person Mick with insider knowledge as to how systems work, you too have a choice, unless and until you are prepared to spell out the reality of what happened and why, then you and threads such as this are part of the cover up and distraction from the reality of the situation, not part of the uncovering and exposure.

    There cannot be an equivalent of ‘moral’ or other responsibility or culpability of The State and the other participating forces. The State has an obligation to act in a certain way. The way the British Government really acted in Ireland is examined in something approaching reality in two areas only, first these International Security Conferences I referred where Experienced Operative of the British Counterinsurgency in the Six Counties, British Army and otherwise tell of their involvement in events and disclose aspects of State operative policy.

    The second is from the views of some of the participants that opposed these forces and operated inside the same ‘reality zone’. The rest is just wishful thinking or useless uninformed comment. Since any full examination will lay the trail straight back to the British Cabinet Tables of the day, there cannot be nor will there be any worth while examination of the British Activities in the Six Counties, no more than there was of the activities of the Black and Tans in the Twenty-Six Counties !

    Mick : “….The toxic resentment it backs up is enormous…”

    On that I fully agree with you!

  • Mick Fealty

    MV,

    First, let me reiterate my point by repeating myself. Three quarters of the people who were killed during the conflict have no current form of redress (ie, they were killed by non state actors). That’s close on 3,000 souls.

    I agree entirely that the state should answer for its actions. We cried loudest when the NI Human Rights Commission were told (via SAA) that they could not investigate any historic instances of abuse.

    Ask yourself why the Assembly is to take two years to open the statute book for a mere six months to facilitate a what will by that stage be a lightening investigation of multiple cases of child abuse.

    And yet the past remains in play. All I am saying is that there is nothing stopping people looking for an old fashioned criminal investigation of those who are our political masters now.

    Ils sont l’état aujourd’hui… nest pas?

  • Rory Carr

    Actually, Mick, now that you come to mention it, none of the people who were killed during the conflict have any form of redress. Which is as it should be. As undertaker and poet Thomas Kinsella was at pains to remind us in his wonderful little book of reminiscences, The Undertaking, “…the dead don’t care>”

    It is we the living who care and care we must when the state;s forces can gun down unarmed citizens in the streets without there being any investigation any form of redress. Such a state of affairs is akin to despotism. The state must always be held accountable for lives taken by its agents. The citizenry are held accountable by the sate for its actions.

    That, in the case of a great number of those killed during the conflict by non-state forces, no satisfactory prosecution has been waged, no one brought to account is tragic. But that is a failing of the state’s. Understandable in many instances given the nature of the conflict and how the protagonists were able to evade detection and capture but a failure of the state’s nevertheless.

    Yet the state did at least try. Murder investigations were launched in all cases of the violent deaths of civilians and state agents alike where those deaths were not as a result of armed action by state forces (my emphasis).

    But where the deaths were as a result of armed action by state forces rarely was any such action taken (the rare exception being the case of Cpl Lee Clegg, about which the least said the better).

    It is absolutely imperative that the state is held to account, that the citizenry feel confident that state forces with access to lethal weaponry and the pretence at least of the paraphenalia of law are restrained themselves by law.

    Is murder not to be murder when a man or woman is murdered
    by a police officer or a soldier? If it is yet murder regardless then a murder investigation is called for. All other murders have so been investigated, have at least been painted in their true colours.

    “This poor lad was murdered, ” we rightly say of Bernard Teggert and demand that his killer, an IRA volunteer, be brought to trial. Well so too was Bernard’s father, Daniel Teggert murdered but there can be no such demand for justice in his case because the state has prevented his murder being named as murder because one at least of the state’s own soldiers murdered him and many more on the same day.

    We may never get justice for either of the Teggerts, father or son, but at least the IRA have acknowledged the son’s killing and apologised, claiming it was an error. The assumption is that Daniel Teggert was lawfully killed and therefore that he was acting in an unlawful manner such as would justify his being shot (in the circumstances of the time that would mean that he was threatening the life of someone other). Rather than the state admit to murder, rather even that it admit to having made a mistake, Daniel Teggert and those who died with him, including a priest ministering the last rites to those already mortally wounded, must remain branded wrongdoers, but not only that, wrongdoers of such a nature, according to the state, that they died while attempting to take the lives of others.

    As a first step towards justice, the inquests may at least lay this cruel slander to rest along with the corpses of those so maligned in death that their killers might escape sanction..

  • Alias

    In all examples, regimes were only held to account for crimes by various commissions after those regimes had left power. It isn’t possible to hold a state to account from its crimes via the standard truth/justice/reconcillitation conmission when those who committed those crimes are still in power and can, rather obviously, set the terms of reference of a commission or determine if such a commission should exist at all.

    In NI, the leadership of the murder gangs were elevated to power within the state, just as all of those state agencies who sponsored the murder gangs remain in power. Unsurprisingly, there hasn’t been any attempt by the murder gangs who are now ministers of the British state to hold themselves to account for their crimes.

  • Brian

    ‘I was in the FCA ( now Army Reserve) for a few years and an acting NCO in that organization, in as much as that qualify me for anything I have done enough weekend service and annual camps to have some appreciation as to how military operate and reacts. ‘

    While you may have some appreciation of how a reserve military unit functions/trains in a place like Ireland, you certainly have absolutely zero appreciation for how a military unit operates and reacts in a fluid, chaotic environment where civilians come out of the crowd to shoot at you and promptly disappear. This is not to say what happened to many of the Ballymurphy vicitims was not murder, only to say that your experience in the FCA doesn’t give you any added credence on this topic.

    ‘I have consistently made the point here that since the end of the Second World War, The British have been involved of dozens of Counter Insurgency Operations against Freedom Fighters in what are now ex-Colonial countries and all of them had their ‘Bloody Sundays’ and ‘Ballymurphys’ as the same systems of wanton brutality were used to suppress the Revolutionary forces in all of these countries’

    You certainly consistently makie that point. Tell me MV, in how many of those other colonies did the majority of residents in that colony consider themselves ethnically “British” as well as loyal British citizens?

    In how many of those other colonies did the vast majority of the ethnic group the “Freedom Fighters” claimed to represent reject and abhor their campaign of violence as immoral and counterproductive?

    The answer to those questions might explain why none of the other colonies had ‘Freedom Fighters’ who failed so utterly.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rory,

    I hear all that. And, I hope you will not be surprised when I say that I agree with most of it. What happened to Father Mullan in that field all those years ago cries out for justice.

    As do thousands of others, not least Anne Owens a young Catholic woman who escape with injuries in one Republican bomb later that August only to be killed in another in the Abercorn Restaurant a few short frenetic months later (our history teacher at the time had a young female friend who lost her leg in that one, but survived). Killers still at large, or possibly now also dead, as far we know.

    I thought Nigel Dodds’ speech contained an interesting passage. He was trying to belt a number his party’s rivals. Here’s what he had to say in this regard…

    Pat Finucane was murdered. And that murder was reprehensible as all murder is reprehensible.

    And justice demands that all those who commit murder or are complicit in murder should be arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced.

    But Pat Finucane was not the only person to be brutally murdered. He was not even the only prominent lawyer to be murdered.

    No-one has ever been brought to account for the murder of Edgar Graham at Queen’s University in December 1983.

    We hear little about that. He was a unionist. And there are hundreds of other murder victims whose loss is keenly felt by their grieving loved ones.

    And they too do not get the sort of publicity that a selective few get. There are many victims who feel forgotten.

    More interestingly here’s what he has to say on the realpolitik of all of this:

    Sinn Fein are the tomorrow people and the yesterday people. Irish unity is going to come but it is always tomorrow.

    When not dreaming of tomorrow they are trying to re-write yesterday. Sinn Fein seeks to re-write the history that has failed them.

  • Rory Carr

    Mick, allow me to address some of the issues you raise.

    There is no doubt but that Anne Owens was murdered. She was murdered by the IRA. That her murder was not intended but rather a collateral consequence of a cruel action makes it no less murder for that. Her death has been recorded as murder and an investigation launched to attempt to apprehend her killers.

    Bernard Teggert was murdered. He was murdered by the IRA. Initially the IRA cruelly and falsely justified his death as being the execution of an informer – a most terrible label to attach in the circumstances of the times in the community to which he belonged. The state however still regarded his death as murder and launched a murder investigation accordingly. Later the IRA admitted that Bernard teggert was shot in error. His death was a mistake albeit an even more deliberate mistake than that of Anne Owens, but a mistake nevertheless. His family had some cold comfort in having the stigma of informer washed from the memory of their son. But it was murder regardless. On that, I think, we are all agreed.

    The deaths of Daniel Teggert, Father Hugh McMullan and all the others shot down by the Paratroopers on 9 August are not recorded as murders. They are not even recorded as mistakes as, eventually, Bernard Teggert’s murder, or hapless collateral victims of violent action not directed at them, as in the case of Anne Owens. No their death are recorded by the state as lawful deaths, consequent upon their own unlawful actions. And that is wrong and cries to the heavens to be made right.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with the IRA’s murders, trailed as a red herring throughout all of this, or the toxification of expectations, or supposed protestant resentment at the possibility of old Catholic wrongs being righted. Indeed what monsters do we assume such protestants to be that they could object? Are they to be so insulted in order to spare the state’s blushes? I think Turgon might have something to say on that.

    Something very wrong indeed, something murderous, happened in Ballymurphy on 9 August 1971, something for which agents of the state own culpability. It is high time that it was named for what ittruly was. Any toxification lies festering in the maintenance of the great lie that has been nurtured for 40 years. High time that the boil be lanced and the healing allowed to begin.

  • Mick Fealty

    If you put it like that, is it really such a big deal?

  • Alan N/Ards

    Munsterview

    I find it surprising that you were a member of the official irish army. I kind of gathered from your posting on slugger that you were a republican “activist” of some sort. I didn’t realise that republican “activists” were allowed to join the irish army. You have posted a number of times of being in the company of the republican elite both in the ROI and NI. I always thought that republicans were deemed to be the enemy of the state and would have been banned from the real army of the Republic. Would there have been many people like you in the army? I know loyalist “activists” infriltrated the british army to gain access to training and weapons so it would be interesting to hear if it happened in the south.

    The killings at Ballymurphy should certainly be investigated properly and let’s hope the families get some kind of closure. I believe people who have supported the murder of many more catholics than the Para’s and indeed the British army were guilty off have no right to be calling for justice for these people. Does the organisation that protected the sicko, who put the gun to a childs head and killed him have the right to demand justice for the father of that child?

  • Munsterview

    Alan,

    just for the record, back those days I was an impoverished apprentice and it was just a handy way of getting a few bob and an interesting way of keeping occupied weekends. There are many strands to Republicanism, I have two distant cousins that fell as young officers in France and another who survived and went on to become a Brigadier General, MBE, CBE, in the British Army.

    His grandfather was out in the 67 Rising as were most of our male relatives, his father an MP learned some of his politics from another IRB man who had been a former head centre, and who did serious jail time for Fenian activity before going into constitutional politics when IRB tactics changed and he became an MP for a few years himself at the end of the 19th, century.

    After 69 things tightened up pretty rapidly, investigations began into any members who had known associations with Republicans or left wing activity and who could have been ‘ double jobbing’. I was invited to resign, once the first queries came into my unit and I did not need a second invite. I got a discharge at that stage and got out ahead of the ructions.

    An MP who was also a friend and involved in the investigations told me afterwards that there were only about sixty to seventy involved in the whole of the 26 counties,( including incidently public house republicans) some of those were regulars and a few low ranking officers who were outspoken about the treatment of Northern Nationalists also fell foul of the system and either resigned their commissions or had their commissions revoked.

    Some Tyrone/Derry Nationalists were receiving arms training through the FCA camps in Donegal prior to the Arms Trial’ War Material imports on some sort of a ‘nod and wink’ local arrangement. Some of these, if memory serves me right, were actually Court marshaled and were subject to military arrest and trials when the change came. Again only somewhere between ten to twenty five people at most were involved and were part of the overall numbers I gave.

    All this is just a footnote in history from a passing parade of rapidly changing attitudes and events.

    To put this in perspective, in those early days I encountered far more ex-British Army soldiers associated with or directly involved in the Movement including one local guy in my own area and a friend back then who had been a commando.

    A far more interesting story along these lines is from the 56 campaign and involves the IRA infiltration of the British Army and successful raid on Gough Barracks. Now there is a real story, the later ones are just a byline in history and on a scale of one to ten rate no more than a zero as far as significance go.

  • summerhill

    O Munsterview you are such a tease – intimating that maybe / perhaps you might / do know more about IRA operations in Operation Harvest especially the operation in 56 at Gough Barracks ( why just mention this operation if you dont know more about it?) – O, out with it and let us all know what you know – and dont say that modesty or loose talk forbids. Please?

  • Munsterview

    Summerhill : this will do for openers, the writer like some of his late relatives RIP is a good man to tell a story, enjoy!

    There are no shortage of other references on the net.

    http://saoirse32.dreamwidth.org/916411.html

  • Mick Fealty

    NO! Please! NO!

    MV and I have had words about this. I love him to bits, but he cannot stay on topic for toffee. MV, just try and say something that’s relevant to the conversation already in train?

  • summerhill

    MV, thanks for that. 340 rifles, 50 sten guns and 12 bren guns all from someone noticing that the guards gun was not loaded. Mick, you are too stressed out after watching that circus up there in Belfast City Council – chillax man!!!!

  • Munsterview

    Thread gently tonight lads and lassies, it could be a bad night for cards when that poor man gets out of there!

  • Billy

    “Meanwhile, history is remorselessly examined with a one-sided agenda, refuelling a pre-existing culture of victimhood with the burning kerosene of distant injustice. Yes, an inquiry into one dead Teggert, killed by 1 PARA, but not into the other, killed by the PIRA.”

    Well folks, how about addressing this? Republican murdered more in their own community than anyone else, so why is one Teggaert worth more than the other??