On Monday remember Loughinisland and all those killed on June 18th…

Trevor Ringland has a letter in today’s Irish Times:

In common with many others on this island, I remember well June 18th, 1994. The Republic of Ireland’s win over Italy in the World Cup was fantastic and gave all of us a tremendous boost. All of us that is, except those who walked into the Heights Bar in Loughinisland and sprayed it with bullets killing six people and seriously wounding five others.

As news of this terrible atrocity filtered out, I remember sitting in my kitchen in tears at the thought of such devastation to the lives of so many.

So it is appropriate that, as the Republic of Ireland are playing Italy in the forthcoming European Championship on the same date 18 years later, the Irish players, together with the rest of us, remember the tragedy of those lives destroyed by that evil and horrendous act years before.

As we do so, it is also important we recognise that the same date brings back memories of loved ones lost to others as a consequence of the breakdown in our society during the madness of what we call our “Troubles”.

As part of the group tasked with developing and promoting a Day of Reflection (June 21st each year) with Healing Through Remembering, one of the statistics highlighted by our research was that there was no single day in the calendar year that someone did not die as a result of the conflict emanating out of Northern Ireland.

The book Lost Lives records that as well as those murdered in Loughinisland on June 18th, 2004, there were others in different years who were killed on that day namely:

1972: three soldiers of the Gordon Highlanders, Arthur McMillan, Colin Leslie and Ian Mark Mutch were killed by an IRA bomb planted in a house near Lurgan.

1974: John Harrison Forsythe, a police officer was killed by an IRA bomb near Lurgan.

1976: Robert Craven was killed by a UVF bomb in Conway’s Bar, Shore Road, Belfast.

1982: Albert White, a former member of the RUC was shot by the IRA in Newry.

1985: William Robert Gilliland, a police officer died as a result of an IRA landmine explosion in Fermanagh.As we look to the future and work to ensure that we never again revisit those dark days and challenge those who still want to repeat them, it is appropriate that the Republic of Ireland football team remember those who lost their lives on that terrible night 18 years ago and remember all those for whom June 18th is a day of sadness, and indeed all those who died as a result of the Troubles.

We cannot undo the past, but we can ensure that we do not repeat it. The counter to what happened that night is the building of relationships. It is of paramount importance that we take every opportunity to do this.

The action of the FAI over the eligibility of players has had the effect of alienating a significant number of Northern Ireland football fans, such as me, from the team. So, as my small contribution to building a shared future in Northern Ireland and on this island, made in memory of those murdered in Loughinisland in 1994 and elsewhere on this island I will support the Republic of Ireland in the European Championships (as well as England, as my English nephews and nieces would never forgive me if I did otherwise!) and I would encourage all Northern Ireland football fans to do the same.

After all, some things are more important that football. – Yours, etc,

, ,

  • andnowwhat

    I really do not understand these moves by Ringland, Mc Donald and “Winkie” Rea. The FAI have said that they are commemorating all those who died in the conflict as well as those who died in the Loughinisland massacre and their families.

    The significance of the exact same fixture on the same date is unique to the Loughinisland attack. I also noted on Twitter that Ann Travers is against the team’s commemoration, whatever that’s about (she did tweet that politics has no part in sport a la Jackie Mc Donald)

  • Republic of Connaught

    Maybe the armbands the players wear for the match should have the red hand of Ulster to give respect to each and all Ulster people who died on that date during the troubles.

  • iluvni

    Are the hits that low on slugger?

    Maybe a Neil Lennon thread next.

  • williewombat

    The murder of anyone during the troubles was a disgrace and we do well to remember the terrible deed that was done at Loughinisland however there will be those who will ask if the FAI is playing again on the anniversary of say The La Mon attack or the Kingmills massacre and are asked to do the same will they respond accordingly if yes there is no problem if no then they will be guilty of selective remembrance and by implication partisian actions. Those who suggested this to the FAI deserve credit for highlighting the incident many innocent victims unfortunatley either don`t have the capacity to do so or indeed choose to deal with their pain in a different manner

  • Ann Travers

    Hi andnowwhat, I wish you would quote full tweet in which I said politics has no part in sport no matter how well intentioned especially in N Ireland where everything is so sensitive. What happened in Loughinisland was appalling and evil and the families of those murdered have every right to have their loved ones remembered, how ever I wonder if the ROI football team wearing black armbands is appropriate? Perhaps it is, but my tweet came on the back of other tweets regarding medals being handed out by Tyrone GAA to their junior teams with a picture of an IRA man killed by the SAS. Hence the politics and sport comment. Perhaps there is another way we can remember the victims of Loughinisland and indeed all who lost their lives so needlessly in N Ireland. I for one will bow my head and offer a silent prayer.

  • JR

    I am not going to get into an argument with anyone on this issue.

    It is significant that on the exact date playing the same team Ireland supporters were murdered while watching the match, dare I say it for watching the match. There is no question this deserves comemoration along with a reflection on all those who died in the troubles. We all know these murders, like all those in the troubles had a context. They did not happen in isolation but sometimes you need to look at a particular event (Kingsmill, Loughinisland, Bloody Sunday, la Mon, Omagh etc,etc) and think, My God that was awful.

  • michael-mcivor

    ” The action of the FAI over the eligibility of players has the effect of alienating a significant number of northern Ireland football fans such as me,from the team”

    Thats a real peace loving statement from Ringland- he cant hide the hate-

    ” After all, some things are more important than football ”

    Aye- except Trevor is bitter about players from the 32 playing for the Republic- hard to hide his hate-

  • lamhdearg2

    And on sat the 16th three other familys, the Hamilton Craig and Kings will remember their loved ones, their murders after all gave rise to the murders of those killed at Loughinisland. Lets all give thanks most of that is behind us.

  • Mick Fealty

    Only he did play for the 32 himself michael… so I’m not sure that one sticks…

    I’m with JR… It’s probably unseemly to get into a bloody row over this, so I take iluvni’s remark as a sensible ticking off…

    I thought it was worth marking, because those fans in the bar (one at least was a relative) were such particular people in such a particular place.

    The particular value of extending the date brings in other particular people randomly selected by nothing more than the date…

    There is something poignant about such singularity that raises it above the bigger numbers and makes it human again…

  • michael-mcivor


    ” their murders after all gave rise to the murders of those killed at Loughinisland”

    And other murders gave rise to the killings of Hamilton Craig and King- we could go on all night-

  • andnowwhat

    Hi Ann Travers

    I was merely quoting from memory. Your tweet came up when ever I did a search.

    The Loughinisland families have not asked for a commemoration when Ireland play Spain or Croatia but when Ireland are playing Italy on the very same date 18 years later. I can see no politics in anything that the families or the FAI have done, it could have been the commemoration of any sort of tragedy that befell a community but it is (I repeat) the unique circumstances of the same fixture on the same day. I would say it is a safe assumption that those in the Heights Bar that nighjt were fans of the ROI team and this is yet another significant issue.

    This is about a tragedy that befell a community in highly similar circumstances to Monday’s fixture and I believe it is those, like Ringland and Mc Donald, who have brought politics in to the issue, not the families and not the FAI. Anyone who sees politics at play here needs to take a hard look at themselves.

  • lamhdearg2

    Indeed we could go no all night, and most of the going no would be about those killed by irish nationalists, however lets not.

  • williewombat


    Anyone who sees politics at play here needs to take a hard look at themselves

    your having a laugh everything here feeds into politics its just emphasising what suits your perspective when it suits to have a hierarcy of victims its ok when it doesn`t its not ok sometimes we don`t even realise we are doing it

  • michael-mcivor

    Mick Fealty-

    ” only he did play for the 32 himself ”

    True in Rugby whilst he was picked for the team- not true in football because he is not on the team-

    Do as i say not as i do is Ringlands motto-

  • Ann Travers

    Hi andnowwhat, I completely agree with you and sorry if tweet mis understood. Every family and event unique and important to them and should be treated as such and respected. If this is the families wishes then it is absolutely correct.

  • andnowwhat


    You’re right IMHO.

    If this was a Welsh mining community (I know that saying Wales would be in such a tournament is stretching belief. Sorry Dewi) who were watching their team play Italy 18 years previously and something like the Aberfan tragedy befell them, would a commemoration be fitting?

    IMH, the shooting of the victims is a crime, what befell the community was, like Aberfan, a tragedy

  • andnowwhat

    Hi An Travers;

    Not to worry, things often come over wrong on the interweb (ask a premier league footballer).

  • andnowwhat


    Ringland and his likes remind me somewhat of those eejits who are still trying online markets, years after the internet bubble burst.

    Whilst many of the social problems we have today are through a prism of paramilitarism, they are replicated the length and breadth of GB and to some extent, in the South. Society is fractured throughout the isles and (for example) issues of detatchment between the working class and the police are actually worse in parts than they are here. Anyway, I digress.

    I think a day of commemoration is a great idea but it would be so difficult to for all the usual reasons that need no rehashing.

  • derrydave

    Pathetic reaction from some is so typical of much of the nonsense that outsiders find completely crazy about NI. A particularly poignant anniversary is to be commemorated by a simple gesture from the FAI – and idiots with nothin better to do jump up and down shouting ‘what about us ?’, ‘what about our lot ?’

    Utterly depressing.

  • Submariner

    lamhdearg2 (profile) 15 June 2012 at 2:52 pm
    And on sat the 16th three other familys, the Hamilton Craig and Kings will remember their loved ones, their murders after all gave rise to the murders of those killed at Loughinisland. Lets all give thanks most of that is behind us.

    Its hard to know where to start with this.

  • andnowwhat


    Yep, I’ve seen Lamhderg’s logic applied to Kingsmills who seek to justify it. Maybe Lamhderg would agree with them?

  • Arguing that politics should be kept out of sport is a bit pointless, particularly in international sport. They are intrinsically linked. Arguably, international sport IS a political system – one of power relations, economics and so on.

  • andnowwhat

    ….and as for the Eurovision……

    Don’t get me started

  • lamhdearg2

    andnow, if you think i am trying to justfiy these killings, you are wrong.

  • Mick Fealty

    Right. I had taken a selection from the letter, but since an awful lot of the reaction here seems have missed the rest of the letter, I’ve posted it all now…

    I hope some of you will take the time to re-read it all…

  • lamhdearg2

    Mick what are we supposed to discuss here, the act of barbarism, the fact the the RoI national football team is being used to highlight this act above all others, or the writings of Ringland an irishman at heart.

  • andnowwhat

    It all sounds so sincere until he blows the gaff with that last paragraph and shows his true colours. There will be commentators throughout Europe and beyond who will, no doubt briefly, explain why the players are wearing the arms bands. Is that Trevor’s problem?

    It’s a childish game he’s playing akin to a young sibling huffing at the attention given to another.

  • andnowwhat


    Fair enough. Sorry for getting it wrong

  • Tochais Síoraí

    The last paragraph detracts from the rest of the letter. Whether or not one agrees with it or not it’s out of context with the rest and I think should have been kept seperate.

    As for the main subject matter, I think most people recognise that the FAI were asked to commemorate Loughinisland as the match in question is on the exact same date and they did so on the basis that the attack on the Heights Bar was deliberate in its timing i.e during the Ireland / Italy match.

  • andnowwhat

    Tochais Síora

    It really is that simple. The FAI have already taken a step further and said they will also extend the commemoration to other victims too.

    I see the letter is also in the Tele http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/lets-stand-up-to-recall-this-day-of-sorrow-for-so-many-16172176.html

  • Those of us who have actually lost someone in the Troubles, or merely know someone who died in the Troubles often remember them in quiet ways.
    Several people died while watching a football match. Their memory is being honoured by the successors of the team they were watching. Seems reasonable.
    Some of the outrages in the Troubles were specific….because people were Protestant, because they were Catholic, because they wore a RUC uniform, because they were on a Civil Rights march, because they were doing contract work for RUC.
    While it would be true to say that an outrage perpetrated on any individual is an outrage perpetrated on civilised society…the reality is that specific groups are recognised on specific days by those most affected.
    Monday is such a day.
    People were murdered because they were supporting a football team. It dilutes the memory of the outrage to make it any “broader” just like memory of the not very different outrages at Teebane or Kingsmill would be diluted if it was made broader.
    The rhetoric says they were attacks on us all…..but they were not…..and the victims are entitled to remember the event without the likes of me trying to be involved at other than respectful distance.

  • galloglaigh


    All night? All year! in the end but, it’d be their fault. We all know that :p

  • galloglaigh

    I liked the comment where “most of the going on would be about those killed by Irish nationalists”. Surely that’s very narrow and shortsighted. By the time ye’d get back to Cromwell, ye’d kinda think ‘ fair enough, just forget I ever opened my stupid mouth about an armband’.

    Nobody is asking people to be commemorated over anyone else. Get over yourselves. This has so much symbolism, as has already been outlined. Move on, and wait till the next time, to pounce on anything Irish, or anything the Ireland does in resemblance to what Northern Ireland does.

  • Turgon

    Remembering specific incidents from the Troubles is entirely valid and yet also difficult. The incidents remembered tend to be the murder of large groups of people: McGurk’s Bar, Loughinisland, Teebane, Enniskillen etc. etc.

    It is very valid to remember these events but I know at times it is a little difficult for the majority of relatives of victims as their loved one was murdered alone in the incident where they died and as such few are specifically remembered by the wider community.

    Clearly, however, the Loughinisland murders were relevant to the RoI football team and as such it seems reasonable for the RoI team to note that.

    I confess to finding Ringland’s letter a bit odd. I suspect he is trying to promote the “Day of Reflection” which is poorly supported mainly because it is a highly politicised “letsgetalongerist” event sponsored by the professional peace process industry of the likes of Healing Through Remembering and of course Eames Bradley which has been so comprehensively rejected.

    Ringland may well have been trying to make a valid point about remembering people from the Troubles, was no doubt trying to promote the day of reflection and also seemed to be trying to make a possibly valid point about football eligibility.

    However, telling people he is going to support the RoI team as part of his own small contribution to building the future is simply idiotic. I suspect very few people care whether Ringland supports the RoI at football. His supporting it or not supporting it has no actual relevance and indeed tying it to Loughinisland looks utterly tasteless. Would Ringland not have supported the RoI had Loughinisland not happened?

    Ringland’s letter conflates a series of essentially unrelated issues and events and damages all of them as well as making him look foolishly obsessed with sport and somewhat politically naive: especially in view of his self promoted liberal unionist credentials. I doubt one would have seen the likes of Peter Robinson make such an amateurish error.

  • lamhdearg2

    missed the, “however lets not” bit then,
    I regret commenting on this thread, as i do not want a perception that I am belittling the deaths, so i shall withdraw.

  • galloglaigh


    I didn’t miss anything. What I did was widen your goal posts to reflect reality. Irish history doesn’t start in 1966, or 1922!

  • antamadan

    I have no problem at all with Ringland’s letter.

    At the time of the murders though, I was gobsmacked that the team went out and played the next game without black armbands simply to recognise the supporters deaths.

    I presume that, in that era of censorship (the south being frightened of an overflow) , that the decision not to wear black bads then WAS THE political decision; and now in more normal times, the FAI attempted to rectify things -which of course is a bit jarring.

  • DC

    Mick, I take a different view than your analysis, I think all that can be taken from this black armband remembrance by the RoI team is to remember the Loughinisland atrocity itself, nothing more.

    Remember, the remembrance is fixed to that game against Italy and to extend remembering out wider is without basis, the relevance of the remembering is linked to that game of football alone. That is why a football team is wearing an armband. A football tournament brought together Irish supporters who were killed when watching Ireland play Italy, the Irish footballing community is remembering its supporters and the families concerned. It is for this reason why I feel that this act of remembrance cannot power up the memory of other incidents.

    As is well known there is no emotional support from unionists for the RoI team and Ringland’s appeal will be lost on much of that community.

    Clearly if something is so particularised it will be near impossible for it to become generalised, if you know what I mean.

    There is no shared remembering process in place at the moment, I doubt using the Ireland team on a football field can achieve a collective cross-community remembering event, for the obvious reasons.

    It is certainly a nice touch for the families and will go down nicely with all those that are Irish.

  • SK

    ” their murders after all gave rise to the murders of those killed at Loughinisland”


    What a repugnant line of thinking.

  • DC

    ‘What a repugnant line of thinking.’

    That’s terrorism for you.

  • andnowwhat


    Brilliant post. I’m unsure if we are meant to discuss Ringland as part of the debate or if that would be regarded as man playing.

    Anyway, suffice to say that I think the man’s sense of himself is completely out of wack with the reality. I’ll leave it at that until further instruction from Fealty Towers

  • SK

    “That’s terrorism for you.”



    I’m always intrigued by the desire of seemingly intelligent unionists to provide such moral cover for Loyalist terrorists, as if they are mere victims of circumstance who had their hands forced. The point has already been made, but imagine someone trying to justify Kingsmills (“response to Reavey murders”) or the Shankill bomb (“terrorist meeting-place”) in the same manner. Folks like lamhdearg would be choking on their own rage.

    The terrorists murdered because they are scum, not because “themmuns” made them do it.

  • Ringland is all over the spot on this.
    If they’d been murdered for being ROI fans anywhere elsewhere in the world this thread wouldn’t exist.

    The FAI is not my favourite sporting organisation but even I will admit it’s not responsible for Teebane, Kingsmills, Enniskillen etc etc.

    Those murdered in Lougnisland were targetted for the fact that they were supporting the ROI, end of story. The ROI plays on the same date, families ask for some kind of recognition, again end of story.

  • DC


    Cause and effect.


    Cause and effect (also written as cause-effect or cause/effect) refers to the philosophical concept of causality, in which an action or event will produce a certain response to the action in the form of another event.

    Now you mightn’t like it neither do I, but that was terrorism for you.

  • SK


    You say cause-and-effect, I say cop-out.

  • DC

    Well you might do SK, but cause and effect can have positive repercussions too, as it did lead to the peace process and winding down of the troubles in the end, by those culpable in ramping it up in the first place.

  • Mick Fealty


    The instruction from Slugger Central (we don’t do towers in this particular parallel universe) is to follow the rule of the site, no more and no less.

    I have been surprised though at the tetchiness its brought up. That may say more about me than anyone else..

  • DC

    Mick – re tetchy, unrelated but still relevant to that i think, it is a bit unfair that you can edit your own comments in the comments zone whereas others can’t.

    Most forums I know of are now sophisticated enough that you can edit or even delete your comments should you wish to. I think that makes a lot of sense, as what you give you should be able to take away yourself, than having to rely on you. I also think it may well encourage other people to chip in, knowing that they had the tool to edit or delete should they make a rash comment or misjudge something.

    Why can’t that happen here?

    So what about putting the same power into the hands of the commenters here, to edit and to even post youtubes videos as well?

  • Turgon

    I am trying to ensure I avoid man playing but I think the mild hornet’s nest Ringland has stirred up is unsurprising.

    Loughinisland was a terrible and wicked set of murders. The RoI football team was right to remember them as they and seemingly the families wished. Ringland’s comments whether they were well intentioned or not look like trying to make something else of it. Commenting on he other deaths was fine. Moving on to talk about the day of reflection looks like trying to advance his own pet (and highly politi

  • Turgon

    iticised) agenda. Commenting on how he is willing to support the RoI team looks very arrogant. Trying to add the issue of the football eligibility is really quite unacceptable.

    Ringland probably meant good by this but the effect has been to weaken both himself and he causes he espouses.

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

    The victims were watching a game involving these sides so it is clear why the FAI want to ackowledge their loss. I think it’s a fitting tribute but can understand why some people are calling for it to be a bit more inclusive.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Most certainly no to that!

    I suspect most readers/contributors come upon threads already partially formed. Most do not follow threads blow-by-blow so to speak.

    To allow posters a tool to delete/edit posts and so alter the timeline of an online discussion/argument would be a nonsense.

    Rash or inappropriate comments are part and parcel of human interaction, particularly so when the matter at hand raises emotive issues. As one types enough time is already allowed for reflection. Let it be at that.

    As to ‘unfairness’: I hold no candle for this sites powers-that-be. However I accept the site’s structure/ rules. At the end of the day posters are all accepted/tolerated ‘guests’ and they open the door to enter by their own choice.

  • DC

    The main reason and usage would be to clean up the comment/s if needed, or if the person wanted to, to delete them. Whether it might disrupt is another thing, but still the person should have the option. It’s just an opinion spawned in response to comments about ‘slugger towers’.

    Without that I think relying on one person – who incidentally can do an edit to his own – can indeed give the impression of ‘slugger towers’.

  • sonofstrongbow

    My 1051 was in response to DC’s 1032.

    However my comments placement after others who addressed the thread topic more precisely illustrates the difficulties that would ensue from a deleted/edited post option.

  • DC


    I understand your point but that doesn’t address the person’s right to withdraw a comment he or she made, and of having to rely on Slugger Towers to remove or worse still email the Towers to get it removed, a case in point.

  • galloglaigh

    For once I agree with SOS. It’ll end up like a facebook thread if comments can be deleted or edited. A preview box is available to view your comment before posting. If you don’t like your comment you can change it. To start editing and deleting would diminish the debate, and would give people a chance to escape the scrutiny that comes after the post. Keep it as is. It works!

  • galloglaigh

    And for those of you claiming counter attacks etc (Hamilton Craig and Kings), will be mindful, that the next time a republican attack is mentioned, I’ll go onto the Cain chronology, and pick out the previous loyalist or security force killing. That’s a dangerous game none of us want to play. This thread is over. Most are in agreement. Those who feel left out; that’s their problem. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but hey…

  • DC

    facebook is popular, slugger can be rigid and a tad paternal.

  • SK

    “Well you might do SK, but cause and effect can have positive repercussions too, as it did lead to the peace process and winding down of the troubles in the end”



    Would you view, say, the Shankill bomb in a similarly “positive” light, or is it only the Loyalist terrorist cloud which has a silver lining?

  • DC

    It was the process of cause and effect i was talking about, which can have a negative cycle as much as it can have a positive one. Murderous events would of course fall into the negative.

  • SK

    I see it a murderous spree of sectarian one-upmanship in which scumbags on both sides plumbed the depths of depravity in a bid to out-do eachother. Your “yin-yang” craic serves only to give the people that pulled the trigger a sense of purpose that they do not deserve.

    John Taylor called it “putting manners on them”, you call it “cause-and-effect”, I call it sneaking regard.

  • Mick Fealty

    The cause and effect meme here is a response to one post by one poster who pointed to the immediate context of the killings.

    There was no attempt by that poster to use that as justification for the Loughinisland killing, it may have been what he was accused of but it was not what he said.

    He even followed it with a supplication of thanks that that endless cycle of tit for tat is finally over.

    It’s yet another sign of the tetchiness surrounding this subject of past murders. There are added sensitivities around this case as the families want a proper investigation into the events surrounding it.

    But that does not mean that we work on the simple majoritarian idea that those who refuse to fall in with the consensus should therefore shut up!

  • Mick Fealty


    One of the legacies of the C4 funding period is a complex word press architecture. I’ll need to see if it can be done simply (ie with no added cost).

    An email would have sufficed.

  • Mister Joe

    Perhaps we need to have an annual day of recollection (reluctant to use the word “rememberance”).

  • Mick Fealty

    Like the one mentioned by Trevor above Joe?

  • Mister Joe

    Sorry Mick; low attention span with, perhaps, reason.

  • ranger1640

    A little diddy form the Whingetown news. ” This week, however, angry (Irish) fans have been telephoning the Andersonstown News complaining that they can only watch British TV coverage of Euro 2012″.

    At lest the Irish fans don’t need to get all wound up and send any more death threats ex-Rangers player Nikica Jelavic, he is going home at the same as the RoI.