One rule for the City of Belfast and another for the City of Newry?

So, another ten year battle comes to an end. Raymond McCreesh was an IRA volunteer who was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and PIRA membership. He died on Hunger Strike in the Maze Prison after 61 days in 1981.

As Henry Reilly of UKIP also notes:

“Raymond McCreesh created so much fear in the unionist community. When he was caught he was setting up an ambush for police and Army with a rifle which was used in the Kingsmills massacre.

“This weapon was used to shoot Protestant farmer Sammy Rodgers who Raymond McCreesh delivered milk to as a milkman. Our equality impact assessment in Newry and Mourne means that unionists have to live with the council formally honouring a convicted terrorist who has been officially linked to the Kingsmills massacre.”

The same report also goes on to note that:

In 1977 McCreesh was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and PIRA membership. He died on hunger strike in 1981. Last year the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team linked him, along with two others, to a string of IRA murders committed with the Armalite he was caught with, including the Kingsmills massacre in 1976.

Two days ago a new memorial to those killed at Kingsmill was attacked and defaced with pro IRA slogans. Last night Newry and Mourne Council voted twenty to five (with one SDLP councillor abstaining) to name a children’s playpark in Newry after McCreesh.

In 2008 the Equality Commission called for an equality impact assessment. When kicked over to a council subcommittee the council rejected that. Which makes the council’s statement to the BBC all the more odd:

…council formally acknowledge that the decision to rename the play park had potential to adversely impact upon good relations between people of different religious belief and political opinion.

Which means what precisely?

It all reminds me of Max Hastings’ verdict on statutory regulation of the press, “such action will resemble banning smoking in a terminal cancer ward”…

, , ,

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick did Belfast not always run the city on the basis of majority rule?

  • Ruarai

    You have to sometimes wonder if, far from not understanding each other, we understand each other far too bloody well and that we use that understanding to seek out and find the most provocative routes available to deepening division.

    I used to live on Cromwell Street on Botanic Avenue and, before that, on the adjacent one named after another total bastard, his cousin Ireton. I used to wonder, why oh why, of all the people to choose from, why would Unionists choose the most provocative names to mark the local territory? Surely that was more about being hyper-sensitive to what would ‘get through’ to Catholics than an insensitive act of ignorance.

    Around that same time at Queens, I had an increasingly uneasy feeling of foreboding as Nationalists bent over backwards to “Green” the place. Unionists were a minority around the campus but, to their credit, were better organized and had a strong presence on the elected Mickey Mouse student playground.

    Walking from Ireton and Cromwell street into the sea of Green that was the Students Union there was little to suggest that Nationalists at Queens, if presented with the option of re-naming Belfast’s streets, would behave in pursuit of a new day rather than re-enacting the tribal agenda that saw the likes of Cromwell foul our typology in the first place.

    I wonder how many of the Newry councilors learned their politics at Queens.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, they did run an equality impact assessment, and did do the work required. The fact that that was all set aside for politics is another matter.

    Newry just ignored that equality bit and moved on to using the majority to hammer through something that cannot be a great help to community relations.

    Which is fine by me, as you might tell. It’s why we elect councillors in the first place, you know, to make decisions.

    But we ought to take these things into account when we look at and report and talk about the quality of democratic decisions.

  • BarneyT

    Ye know I don’t know how hardware assets were managed by the IRA, but I am assuming they weren’t pooled and booked out in advance on and event by event basis…hence the ability to trace Raymond to the Amarlite and then onwards to the events at Kingsmill?

    Let’s look at this. We are dealing with a council with a large republican and nationalist make up…so this sort of thing is going to happen in the respective hinter lands. Whether you agree or not or believe he took part in the Kingsmill slaughter (assuming its beyond proof), he has martyr-like status in Down\Armagh because of the stance he later took and how he died. There will be facilities in East Belfast named in honour of those that have committed horrible crimes, as there is throughout the UK.

    Belfast and Newry are very different places.

  • Kevsterino

    It appears both Belfast and Newry suffer from an excess of democracy.
    Insults and epithets are chosen to maximize discord as politicians give their constituents some fresh bones upon which to gnaw.
    McCreesh’s name is on the playground because he died as a hunger striker and, in death, along with the rest of them, has come to symbolize heroic sacrifice to Republicans. But to Unionists he represents the twin demons of murderer and political tyrant.
    The likelihood those people will ever agree on his legacy is nill. But a majority vote and a playground is named after him.
    Are Republicans illustrating the shortcomings of majority rule?

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s William Irwin’s statement:

    The naming of any building or area after a terrorist is always objectionable, but there is something particularly macabre and chilling about the naming of a children’s playground after a man such as Raymond McCreesh.

    Raymond McCreesh was a convicted terrorist who was caught with a weapon used in the Kingsmills massacre. Every Councillor who voted in favour of this motion has taken a deliberate and calculated decision to insult the families of those innocent victims only days after the memorial under construction was attacked and defaced.

    Once again we have also seen the SDLP standing shoulder to shoulder with Sinn Fein and demonstrating just how hollow their pious lectures to unionists on equality and good relations really are. Councillors voted in favour of this motion in the full knowledge that their actions would have a serious and detrimental impact upon good relations in the area and along with my colleague Jeffrey Donaldson MP I will be asking that the Equality Commission fully investigate this issue and take the appropriate action.’

  • Republic of Connaught

    It’s pretty disgusting to touch any memorial to people murdered in the troubles from either side. The Kingsmill massacre ranks amongs the most terrible atrocities that happened, which makes the vandalism worse. You’d almost hope it was mindless kids that done it beause the thought of grown men doing it in 2012 is pathetic.

    As for the playground, I don’t agree with it while accepting their entitlement to do it.

  • Kevsterino

    Does the Equality Commission have the authority to overrule the council?

    Do all the playgrounds have names over there?

  • Politico68

    …Nationalist councils do Nationalist stuff and Unionist councils do Unionist stuff. No surprises there. Move along, nothin to see here!

  • Strange Mick that you will quote visitor opinions to Belfast City Hall but neglect to mention the actual survey of residents carried out by Newry and Mourne Council.

    Before the Patrick St Park was renamed Raymond McCreesh Park 11 years ago the Council carried out a survey on the views of the residents.

    “The result of the postal survey was as follows:
    199 survey forms to householders
    73 returned (37% response rate)
    61 (84%) agreeing with the request and 12 (16%) disagreeing”

    The objection to the renaming only came 7 years later via a complaint from Newry District Orange Order No 9 based two miles away from the park and in a different ward. The Council last night were simply ratifying an earlier decision and acknowledging facts on the ground i.e. the park was already called Raymond McCreesh Park and has done since 2001.

    Now if all of these things are to be reviewed retrospectively the logical outworking would be that we look at all of the memorials and symbols dotted around our local council and government property. Shall we start with Carson’s statue, or the RUC/UDR/B Special windows Belfast City Hall, or the Covenant table, or the UDR memorial in Lisburn? Since we’re only at the names of things, perhaps it would be better to start with Craigavon, or maybe some streets in Belfast, Wellington St., Chichester St., Gloucester St., Victoria St., Kings Bridge, Queen’s Bridge?

  • Mick Fealty

    Not strange, it’s just that Slugger does not come free on the rates… Link?

    Adds: My argument is that politicians should be allowed to be politicians and then argue it out in the public space (see this comment above). See the reference to ‘banning smoking in a terminal cancer ward’.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    So, one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter, hardly news.

  • Harry Flashman

    They named a children’s playground, a children’s playground, after Raymond McCreesh?

    Jesus wept, there really is no hope for the place.

  • BarneyT

    Have you not seen the playground? Its like an SAS training camp with assault courses and a massive shoot for the children to slide down. For health and safety reasons, the kids have to wear a standard unform (for identification) and wear protective sun glasses. Its very orderly. It has a bowling GREEN, a WHITE water slide and an ORANGery.

  • @Mick

    It’s all in the Equality Impact Assessment Consultation document:

  • While not necessarily agreeing with them, I can certainly understand unionist feeling on the Newry issue.
    Yet the consequence might be an escalation in the right to name places.
    I for example live in Craigavon…..a controversial choice of name in the 1960s.
    And it still surprises me that nobody is actively campaigning for a more “neutral” name. Not that I would necessarily agree with that either.
    (Back in the 1960s we even had a song about the naming of a bridge)

  • Mick Fealty

    Good man Ulick! Will go thru it later. Is there an appendix?

  • sonofstrongbow

    I almost feel sorry for the nationalist children using the park. When the wee ones ask ‘what did that man do Ma’ the reply will set them on the right path in life: ‘ he killed a few of themuns and then killed himself’.


    But a children’s park? What’s the connection? Now if it was a sports club the usual nationalist explanation is that the terrorist in question was being honoured for their sporting prowess and not their murderous tendencies. But a kiddies playgroup?
    [text removed – watch it! – mods]

  • GavBelfast

    He was a child once?

  • @sonofstrongbow
    “But a children’s park? What’s the connection?”

    Fairly common practise:
    “The official naming of an Aberdeen park which honours the life of a young soldier killed in Iraq has taken place.”
    “An Oregon soldier and his military working dog who were killed together in Iraq were honored Friday when a Colorado Army post named a dog park in their honor.”
    “Liverpool park to be renamed after soldier killed in Afghanistan”
    “The park is named after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest”
    “School in Olds dedicates playground to fallen Soldier”
    “the city dedicated nine playgrounds named for nine fallen soldiers”

  • Toastedpuffin

    Holy effing crap.

    I honestly don’t know how to respond, because it is literally stretching my belief to the limits in thinking there is any person, let alone an elected representative of the people, who thinks it is in any way acceptable to name a playground after a paramilitary.

    Good men must be doing nothing, because evil is prospering, and it’s hard to see this section of the community give itself a morality bypass with official sanction. Some credit to Frank feely who apparently mustered the basic human decency to abstain.

    When Sinn Fein said that child abuse is endemic in Irish society they clearly weren’t suggesting that anything should be done about it. What hope has any child in the face of such indoctrination in the ways of violent hate?

  • iluvni

    any word from the leader of the sdlp on this latest affront to decency from his elected representatives…or perhaps he is currently re-writing the sdlp ‘vision statement’ to more accurately reflect the nasty sectarianism bursting forth from within his party this year.

  • dodrade

    Slightly off-topic but is it Kingsmill or Kingsmills? I often see both used, which is right?

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

    struggling to believe that the SDLP voted in favour of such madness. Sick actually.

  • Toastedpuffin


    The only two examples of naming playgrounds after soldiers there in in the USA. It’s certainly not “standard practice” to name playgrounds after paramilitaries.

    Have you any examples where elected representatives have endorsed the naming of a playground after a member of an illegal organisation?

  • @Toastedpuffin
    “Have you any examples where elected representatives have endorsed the naming of a playground after a member of an illegal organisation?”

    Go ask an Iraqi or Afgan if they reckon the UK and US armies were legal organisations while in their country.

  • Toastedpuffin


    I’ll take that as a no then.

    Unless you’re suggesting that Iraqis have named a playground after a US or british soldier… have they? And are they illegal in Iraq? So many questions, so much avoidance of the morality bypass underway under our noses…

  • @Toastedpuffin
    “The only two examples of naming playgrounds after soldiers there in in the USA. It’s certainly not “standard practice” to name playgrounds after paramilitaries. ”

    Two links citing 10 examples of the practice and that’s only after a minute or two Googling. Looks like “fairly common” practice to me.

    Raymond McCreesh willingly gave up his life to improve the living conditions of his friends and comrades. In doing so he inflicted violence or harm on no person other than himself. No greater love can a man possess than to lay down his life for his friends, to paraphrase a quote from the Bible. Certainly looking around this city and seeing streets named after British cut-throats, gangsters and murderers the naming of a small Newry park in memory of such a sacrifice is a small beacon of light.

  • Greenflag

    @ ruarai ,

    ‘I used to live on Cromwell Street on Botanic Avenue and, before that, on the adjacent one named after another total bastard, his cousin Ireton.’

    ‘Surely that was more about being hyper-sensitive to what would ‘get through’ to Catholics than an insensitive act of ignorance.’

    I somehow doubt it . They have to give a place a name and I guess they eventually run out of the Victorias , Charlottes , Alberts etc .

    I recall at school we had in our class a kid whose surname was Cromwell . He did’nt enjoy the history lessons and was forever the butt of epithets with the ‘b’ word attached for emphasis .What did’nt help his case was he never defended himself but just took the crap as a given . Not a fighter alas .

    On the county line between Wexford and Wicklow the town of Arklow is regarded by the Wexfordmen with some disdain . I recall being surprised to hear a Gorey man refer to the Arklow folk as that shower of horse feedin Cromwellian ‘b*****rds”

    When I enquired as to how they had merited this less than praiseworthy epithet the Wexfordman told me I should know that the Arklow folk were known to have fed Cromwell’s horses with fresh fodder before they marched on Wexford Town to slaughter the inhabitants .

    Ironically a couple of days later I had a car problem somewhere on the main road near Gorey and I pulled into a local garage.mechanic’s shop which sported the name ‘Ireton ‘

    Coming so soon after the Cromwellian horse fodder stroy I asked the mechanic was that his name i.e Ireton . Yes he said . I then cautiously asked him did he know of General Ireton . Indeed he did he replied and what’s more he claimed he was a direct descendant of said Ireton’s although the family had turned Catholic a hundred and fifty years ago – .As he sounded like a solid individual I asked him had he any difficulty carrying a name like that in his schooldays in Wexford . He said he did but after a couple of jibes he layed into the jiber with his fists and doled out a bloody nose and a black eye and that was the end of that .

    Oh and he did a great job on the car too and he or his children may still be in business in that neck of the woods .

  • @Toastedpuffin
    Better still why not ask the 84% of residents who responded positively to the consultation whether they reckon McCreesh was a member of an illegal organisation.

  • Toastedpuffin


    You’re conscripting Jesus into the paramilitarist cause? As I was saying, the moral bypass is underway. He was just about the Lord’s work when he was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder and just so happened to have an assault rifle used in mass sectarian murder. Suffer the little children indeed. No wonder Atheism’s on the rise.

    BTW, a quick google of “playground” turned up 192,000,000 results.

    2 ain’t that common, no matter how poor your maths – or is it “math”;0.

  • Toastedpuffin


    It’d be good if you could summon your thoughts and make one post rather than all these afterthoughts.

    It would also allow time for reflection.

  • Weren’t after-thoughts, I was getting a ‘bad gateway’ errors when attempting to submit comments. Blame Mick for that.

  • OneNI

    The reason nationalists esp SF ones have to name things in honour of the likes of Mccreesh is the same as the reason why they keep ‘promoting’ ex IRa folk into the Assembly.
    They have failed to come to terms with the fact that their campaign of violence was wrong.
    Personally I hope they continue with this fallacy as their bizarre twisted moral logic keeps them cut off from the majority of NI citizens (Prod and Catholic) and means they can never be politically successsful!!

  • PaulT

    so unionists have issues with a playpround called after a ‘paramilitary’ yet has any unionist politican stood up in the House of Commons and questioned the governments support for ‘paramilitaries’ in several Middle Eastern countries, TBH sounds a bit of a load of bollix to be supporting paramilitaries planting carbombs in Syria and condemning honouring ‘paramilitaries’ in NI.

    Someone mentioned Cromwell earlier, wasn’t his corpse dug up and put on trial for treason before been executed.

    Oh and wasn’t King Billy a terrorist until he won (Robbo, mentioned his multi-national army in his speech a few days ago, neglecting to add that King Billy didn’t bring English troops as he was afraid they might be loyal to the rightful King of England)

    The only different thing in NI, is that normally regime change takes place before the ‘terrorists’ become heroes, in NI regime change is still happening.

  • babyface finlayson

    Undoubtedly there are people still living who were directly affected by Mcreesh’s apparently Christ-like actions,who live or work in the Newry area.
    The same could hardly be said of American soldiers being honoured in their home towns a continent away from where they fought.
    If someone erected a statue to McCreesh in Boston, say, it would still be offensive to the families of his victims, but the degree of hurt would be considerably less.

  • Mick Fealty

    I used this on the Billy Hunter thread, but reckon it is just as appropriate here…

    Henrik Ibsen (1881):

    “There must be ghosts all over the country. They lie thick as grains of sand. And we’re all so horribly afraid of the light.”

  • SDLP supporter

    Based on the limited information I’ve seen, I think it is indefensible for Newry SDLP councillors to vote to name a park after this man.

  • “You’re conscripting Jesus into the paramilitarist cause?”

    I guess that makes those who desecrated the Kingsmill Massacre equivalent to St Paul then. Stiill spreading the good word decades after their Messiah went onto greater things.

  • @SDLP supporter
    They didn’t vote to name the park after him, look again.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sorry U, guilty as charged. I need to put another few coins in the slot…

    For what its worth, here’s my honest thoughts on the matter…

    The people who always come to my mind are the victims rather than the perpetrators. So my sympathies lie with the McErlains, rather than the Hunters of this world. I’ve seen the results of their work and see nothing praiseworthy in it, however tragic their eventual ending.

    As for the naming of the play-park I think it says a lot about the evils of prohibition. This took more than ten years to get past the various censors (political and others). Ten years ago it would have fitted the fractionalised landscape (think Holy Cross, Sept 2001)

    I’m pretty sure it is fine with locals, but it’s not the message Newry wants to be sending out about its future. And this was the point of the headline, it sits poorly with the party’s learned submissions about the importance of creating a great shared working environment at the City Hall in Belfast.

    Newry is a far different town to the one that saw some pretty nasty action back in the 70s and 80s, and one with a potentially bright future. To do that it needs to encourage talent back, Protestant talent ‘in a measc’.

    My feeling is that that sheer struggle to get the name officially recognised became the object of its own mission and took on a significance out of all proportion.

    McCreesh had no local association to the area that I know of. But the local Sinn Fein Cumman (and councillors) owe him and his fellow hunger strikers a huge debt of gratitude for giving their whole project a serious political valence (something generally ignored or discounted by the Republican critics of the way that Hunger Strike was handled).

    This was the payback to his memory and to his family.

    Yet judging from the photos, the council might have been better working out how to maintain the facility in a decent state than rowing over a name. There’s something depressingly dismal and reductive about it all.

  • Jack2

    Cant understand why the SDLP voted for this.

  • BluesJazz

    Naming a play area after a guy who committed suicide seems bizarre, but it seems to be a common phenomenon in a depressing hole like Newry.

    The disparity is stark. In Newry, Northern Ireland, where the economy is more than 5pc below the pre-crisis peak, Damien Quinn, from one of the neighbourhood community associations, talks of a sharp rise in suicides. Worn out by years of trying and failing to get work, young men (it is almost always young men) are killing themselves to escape the alternative: permanent unemployment, drug dependence and poverty. The latest funeral was just the week before he spoke to us.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    I s’pose Mick to go back to your OP title, is it really different laws, it seems to be the same situation, while unionists spend expend their energy ramming it down nationalist throats that the Union is safe thanks to the GFA, nationalists seem to be in the driving seat in determining what the Union will actually look like.

    You accuse others of pointing at trees but are you sure you’re not doing the same these days, outrage at council votes to support IRA prisoners, removing the union flag, renaming playgrounds, save some energy for the Maze project which is around the corner, not to mention further erosion of OO marching ‘rights’

    Why haven’t unionists questioned their politicians in a bit more detail on exactly what the union is. Is it just the largesse of HM Treasury, cos it’s beginning to look like it might be.

    Do you think the constant republican calls for a border poll might be a red herring, and that actually the demographics aren’t important for a all or nothing border poll but rather supply the votes for councils (and the assembly) to chip away at everything unionists expect the ‘union’ to be.

    Could it be that in a decade unionists will actually be calling for a border poll preferring to be ruled by Fine Gael or Fianna Fail in Dublin rather than Sinn Fein in Stormont.

    They’ll need a hell of a poker face to get anything other than that from the deal.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Just to add (I’m not sure) but I don’t believe any playgrounds or public places are named after recent IRA volunteers in the South and people down there seem a lot more relaxed about the OO, and the Union Flag.

    Come on in the water’s lovely and listening to the DUP they seem to be already dipping their toe in….

  • Mick Fealty


    You”re accusing me there of sins I have yet to commit… 😉 You must know more about me than I do myself.

    The points I’ve made are pretty tightly circumscribed. And for the record, I’m pretty sure that anything can happen in the next ten years.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Sorry Mick if I accused you in the wrong, but trees or otherwise, I get the feeling unionism will continue to be outraged on a regular basis in the coming years and I think they will question the benefits of ‘securing’ the union if it turns out the ‘sharing’ bit results in a major makeover.

    PS as a major airport has already been renamed after a soccer player can we have one named after a GAA star?

  • iluvni

    Wednesday morning, and still nothing from the sdlp leader.
    Quite a list of press releases on the website on a variety topics from the MLAs, including the thuggery outside the city hall, but not on the issue of the playpark.

    Come out come out Alasdair wherever you are, we await your thoughts…

  • “But the local Sinn Fein Cumman (and councillors) owe him and his fellow hunger strikers a huge debt of gratitude”

    Mick, I’d have thought the best way to do that would be within the structures of their own organisation, not in publicly funded projects.

    Some of this money comes from the pockets of their own members and supporters, some of it from the victims and their families, most of it from everyone else.

    What sort of message is being sent out? Self-sacrifice in defence of the lives of others is one thing but Raymond was part of a paramilitary organisation that often spilt other people’s blood, including that of children.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    “Some of this money comes from the pockets of their own members and supporters, some of it from the victims and their families, most of it from everyone else.”

    sounds a bit like the funding for the OO and various organizations on the other side of the fence, so the point is?

    Before you launch into any spiel, Glasgow council recently apologised that a poster of Diamond Dan was accidentally put up in a primary school, so why are nationalist taxpayers (indeed all UK taxpayers) forced to fund an organisation so toxic it’s banned in Scottish schools.
    Not long ago Baggott warned unionists not to try to claim ownership of the PSNI as they did with the RUC, yet the DUP are proud of the taxpayer handouts they’ve secured for the ex-RUC.

    so a null argument, apart to point out a brass plate is a lot lot cheaper

  • Mournemanukip

    some interesting comments, its actually disturbing to note the degree of support that exists for Raymond McCreesh from some commentators – the simple fact is that the IRA in South Down/South Armagh implemented a very successful ethnic cleansing campaign against ordinary Protestants who they regarded as the enemy, the Protestant community in places like Middletown, Newry, Warrenpoint, Rostrevor has decimated by a relentless sectarian campaign, many of the remnant of Protestants still feel unsure of the welcome that exists in those areas and keep their heads down and mouths shut, Raymond McCreesh was a major player in the campaign against Protestants during the ‘troubles’ and it is clearly despicable to name a childrens play park after him, its notable that the area were the park is located was once home to significant numbers of Protestants but is now exclusively Catholic, the Republican ‘movement’ has rarely done things out of impluse and the decision to name the Patrick Street play area after a man who instilled fear in Protestants is a clinical and calculated message to Protestants saying we got you out and you need not ever think about coming back.

  • RFTS, loyalist paramilitaries are the flip side of the coin from republican ones. Are there any play-parks named after deceased UDA and UVF members who died during the Troubles? I don’t know of any; perhaps there are.

  • Kevsterino

    I don’t think so, Nevin. The loyalists play a different game, such as paint the faces of murderers on their big drums and march them in religious processions so they can witness their faith to their heathen neighbors.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Nevin, generally accepted that the weapons used in the Murder Triangle were imported by the state and distributed by the British Soldier Brian Nelson

    However, this thread has predictably descended into whataboutry with a huge dollop of unionists imitating Victor Mildrew with constant utterances of “I don’t believe it”

    Sauce for the Goose is sauce for the Gander, and like I said it’s fair enough for Robo to rattle on that the Union is safe, but this is what the union will increasingly look like, possibly not what you were expecting but heyho

  • Kevsterino, the guns and bombs used by loyalist and republication paramilitaries killed several thousand people and injured tens of thousands more. The comparison of like with like is fairly straighforward; the details can be found in places like the CAIN archives. You’ll certainly find expressions of paramilitarism in the Loyal Orders, the marching bands and the GAA and the Troubles/constitutional question enhanced that.

  • “what you were expecting but heyho”

    RFTS, perhaps you’re confusing me with someone else. I rejected the partisan Hume analysis and put forward my own less partisan one. Unsurprisingly, neither of the two main camps has rushed to embrace it 🙂

  • Kevsterino

    Thanks, Nevin. I’m familiar with the CAIN site and have used it many times since its inception. The means used by the various factions to provoke their neighbors appear to vary from place to place, but it seems to me, looking from thousands of miles away, that the means are always found, be it a plaque, a memorial, a building, a mural, a song (with or without lyrics) etc. And, of course, a flag.

    Then much is made of the incident, and focus is put upon whatever item has caused offense. Nothing is done about the motive behind it, time moves on and another means is found to start trouble all over again.

    Is that close to accurate?

  • Mick Fealty

    William Irwin has just released this from the DUP:

    ‘Many people across Northern Ireland will traditionally have recognised the difference which existed between the SDLP and others who sought to justify, excuse and even honour those who engaged in terrorism in Northern Ireland.

    Unfortunately in recent weeks we have seen SDLP Councillors in Dungannon call for the release of a man convicted for the attempted murder of a Council colleague and now Newry & Mourne SDLP Councillors have backed the naming of a playpark after IRA terrorist Raymond McCreesh.

    Some twisted republicans attempt to glorify McCreesh because of his terrorist activities and his participation in the IRA hunger strike. When he was caught he was in the act of setting up an ambush against police officers armed with a rifle used in the sectarian murder of 10 innocent workmen at Kingsmills. People living across Northern Ireland, but particularly in the Newry & Mourne area now deserve to know if this is also the stance of the SDLP.

    Alasdair McDonnell must step forward and state clearly whether the SDLP Councillors in Newry & Mourne who voted for this proposal will face any disciplinary action or whether they were acting with his full blessing as party leader.”

    Free money anyone?

  • Kevsterino, I’m up on the north coast of Co Antrim, had the good fortune to be at QUB in Belfast in the early 60s during a relatively liberal era and, whilst a teacher, I was very involved with Corrymeela and other ‘open-community’ stuff in the 70s and 80s.

    The constitutional question always creates problems in politics here. Neither tribe is really prepared to work with the other for the good of all; slight can be taken where none is intended. Open conversations with party political folks often show a great lack of empathy with the other tribe and the media’s fixation with ‘bad news’ does little to educate or inform or ameliorate.

    Politicians are quite good at winding their own or the other tribe up but they can easily and quickly lose control.

    I don’t know the background to the Newry park naming but it seems to me that it was done by SF in recognition of one of their own and, probably to a lesser extent, as a way of marking out territory. I don’t think it’s done with any great thought for the consequences elsewhere. For example, I recall a lady here being more or less forced out of business because of the knock-on effect of events in north Armagh in the mid 90s.

    The Troubles have definitely hardened attitudes and the abnormal becomes normal. I’m told that one ‘good relations’ enabler was taken aback when it was explained, “We don’t have a problem with A, B and C here; we burn them out.” This might contain an element of macho-speak but it will still strike fear in A, B and C.

    I’ve gone a lot wider than your question but I hope it gives you a flavour of my own somewhat limited understanding of our ‘interactions’.

  • tacapall

    “Then much is made of the incident, and focus is put upon whatever item has caused offense. Nothing is done about the motive behind it, time moves on and another means is found to start trouble all over again.”

    The founding fathers of America were once labelled terrorists by the British, so was Nelson Mandela, Gandi, De Valera, Micheal Collins, the Stern gang, Irgun were labelled as terrorists but today they are all classed as hero’s, its all down to different faiths, different visions. In the past conflict here it was called a war on terrorism by the British and Unionism and they used terrorism to fight terrorism, there are victims on both sides and if truth be told no side gives a flying fk about the other sides victims, the Unionist reaction to the Bloody Sunday findings or collusion between the security forces is evidence of that fact.

    In years to come no-one will remember Raymond McCreesh as a terrorist, just like De Valera, Collins and Henry Joy McCracken he will be remembered by all as someone who give his life for his country.

  • Kevsterino

    @Nevin, thanks for sharing that, and it pretty much fits into what I’ve observed over the years. Politicians here are getting just as bad at winding their people up, but thus far, without the attendant violence that can be expected of such irresponsible sloganeering. *knocks on wood*

    @tacapall, our founding fathers were indeed a mixed bag, but were all sure of one thing: We are better off with self-government. One thing independence granted us was the prerogative to write our own history books. I’m sure John Hancock is described differently in the book I learned from (patriot) than one published in London (smuggler). In south Armagh, I am quite certain McCreesh et al will be remembered differently than, say, Portadown. I don’t expect that to change, ever.

    Unionists protest that Republicans are “rewriting” history. How can it be rewritten when it isn’t even written yet? Reliable, unbiased accounts of the true events of the past 40 years are quite difficult to find, unless you folks have access to materials unavailable to foreigners like myself.

  • Kevsterino, I’d think that perception here is possibly more important than reality when it comes to folks understanding of the recent past. The more distant past is filtered through the ‘opaque’ lens of the historians, the teachers, the parents and the learners 🙂

  • Neil

    One rule for Belfast and the same rule for Newry. Democratic majority rules, simple enough. Unionists are raging because the demography looks like this is going to be a one way street. Bear in mind you guys like to ridicule the demographic game regularly so it’s a bit preposterous to take it so badly to heart when it plays out against you.

    Belfast has a Catholic majority in reality and in the council. I would anticipate (as most already know) that the Catholic majority is going to grow from here.

    If it’s petty, then it’s also petty to have parades glorifying your army heroes through mixed towns as well (that will no doubt rankle, but try to bear in mind they have a significant body count behind them here too) but you go ahead an do it. So I wouldn’t be too surprised when Republicans come along and say that you had it your way when you were in the majority. Magnanimity being thin on the ground then, why on Earth would you expect it now.

  • “Could it be that in a decade unionists will actually be calling for a border poll preferring to be ruled by Fine Gael or Fianna Fail in Dublin rather than Sinn Fein in Stormont”


    It is an interesting theory and a couple of weeks ago, I said here that Unionists and protestants generally have a lot less to fear from either FG or FF in a 32 county state than they do from a rampant SF in NI.

    The last few comments from republicans on this thread kinda prove that point and the greatest fear for many unionists I know is not being chased onto the next Seacat for Scotland by blood thirsty ethno-nats the belief that the likes of La Mon, Frizzels, Kingsmills, Enniskillen, Teebane will be whitewashed by the “winners” into receiving the titles of “unfortunate accidents of war” rather than the true one of “sectarian attrocities” which will be reserved for the likes of McGurk’s, Sean Grahams etc.

    To be perfectly fair, if more Republicans were as honest as tacpall and say “Slap it up ye, 50 years misrule, we won’t couldn’t give a fuck about your dead when we’re the majority” then probably as a wider society we would be in a much better place…. but we are where we are

    Now…a Dublin government would not change the facts on the ground; an isolated hun living in South Armagh would still be an isolated hun keeping his head low and his voice down in the 32 county state. Republican run councils commemorating the murderers of Brits and local huns would still exist in a 32 county state so I am interested to know how you think that would change, on the ground, for northern protestants in a “United” Ireland.

    As I said, FG and FF work in an entirely different moral dimension compared to our local republicans but their control over Ulster is never going to be to the level where they can neutralise the kind of toxic sectarianism presently seen on an everyday basis in NI.

  • babyface finlayson

    “So I wouldn’t be too surprised when Republicans come along and say that you had it your way when you were in the majority. Magnanimity being thin on the ground then, why on Earth would you expect it now.”
    Yes but do you think it was right?

  • RegisterForThisSite

    oneill, hadn’t realised someone had beaten me to the concept, great minds etc….

    Regarding Tacs attitude, growing up on the border I can understand the thirst to give back some of the same, up to the 90’s we used to get swamped by Nationalists in July escaping from the North, and everyone had neighbours who had been burnt out and never returned.

    However, there has always been the attitude that we were better human beings than that and I hope Nationalists in NI live up to that ideal.

    The war is over, Nats have as much right to honour their dead as anyone, and one day it will all be mostly forgotten and I think the frightens unionists, the thought of just being ordinary like everyone else, not special, not the chosen

  • JR

    Mourne man,
    Rostrevor and Warrenpoint have always had good community relations. Could you post any links to support this relentless sectarian campaign?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Tacapall,

    “The founding fathers of America were once labelled terrorists by the British”

    The term terrorist only came about during the French revolution. Therefore, it’d be highly unlikely they were labelled terrorists as the French Revolution happened after the American War of Independence. Unless they’d access to a De Lorean and a flux capacitor.

    BTW, if nationalist posters are so convinced that unity is virtually upon us, would it not be a good idea to behave in the way that they would expect the new unionist minority to behave?

  • Toastedpuffin

    “but this is what the union will increasingly look like”

    Nationalists fouling their own nest in a prolonged, petty and bitterly sectarian dirty protest? Enjoy!

    I think something we’re missing here is the genuine intent to cause offence to Unionists that this represents. People in Newry couldn’t give a toss about this fella McCreish. His value (for too many) lies in sticking it to the huns in the most obscene and tasteless way possible.

    The response to the completely reasonable Unionist objection to naming a playground after a loyal member of a paramilitary death squad has been a mix of brass neck and shuffling of feet. Michael Carr’s comments on why his party had given official sanction to this bizarre example of Nationalism’s rotten soul had all the composure of a fella caught masturbating to televised sheep trials.

    One gets the feeling the SDLP know they’ve done a shitty, shitty thing, but tribal loyalty (and an eye to the bigot vote) prevents any form of reasoned comment, let alone principled stance.

  • “However, there has always been the attitude that we were better human beings than that and I hope Nationalists in NI live up to that ideal.”

    An attitude that somewhat lost its direction at Darkley, Teebane and Kingsmills, no?

  • RegisterForThisSite

    sorry if you misunderstood oneill, the attitude was when the shoe was on the other foot nationalists would behave better.

    Of course you could say it’s out of knowing what can happen when you treat a minority very very badly, thats when Darkley, Teebane and Kingsmill happen, and of course all the events, Bloody Sunday, Ballymurphy, the Pogroms etc

  • Toastedpuffin

    “nationalists would behave better”

    Is it not past time this lie was dealt with within Nationalism? The notion that they’re a more enlightened form of human being has been behind more of Nationalisms excesses than enough, and I suggest it’ll be behind a hell of a lot more.

    Decades of power down Mexico way resulted in mind-boggling corruption, sectarian domination and industrial scale paedophilia that these ubermenschen either turned a blind eye to or activley participated in.

    Five minutes of limited power in NI and they’ve already been found guilty of sectarian discrimination and abuse of said power.

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Well there you go Toastedpuffin, as I said we’ll need to wait and see once the shoe is on the other foot.

    And really…

    “Decades of power down Mexico way resulted in mind-boggling corruption, sectarian domination and industrial scale paedophilia that these ubermenschen either turned a blind eye to or activley participated in.”

    Those hoary old chestnuts were dropped quickly by slugger once the stories started breaking in dear old blighty

    As for abuse of power, well they learned from the masters

  • oakleaf

    Did these poor oppressed unionists of south Armagh include the Glenanne gang of ruc/udr/uvf members?

    Gave it a rest please. All recent events show how much unionist cherish democracy when it does not go their way.

    Regarding Mr Brush in Dungannon was he not a member of the udr?

  • iluvni

    I see the sdlp leader has been quick out of the blocks to rush a comment onto his website condemning the trouble in Carrick.

    We wait in vain for the massive coward to comment on the sick sectarian decision his party took in Newry which has helped to stir the pot.

  • Mick Fealty


    You are new to this place. Just lay off the needling. It’s not for you to tell people what they can and cannot talk about.

    Register, etc… You should know better!

  • RegisterForThisSite

    sorry Mick, : (

  • SK

    If their was a playground in, say, Bangor called Lenny Murphy park there would be uproar.

    The fact that it allows unionists the opportunity to provide a bit of whataboutery in the face of what their political representatives have instigated in Belfast makes it all the worse.

  • oakleaf

    Half of Belfast is going to be renamed I take it?

  • streetlegal

    In the case of the Newry playpark – I believe that it would be open to any council park employee to take legal proceedings against Newry Council if he is required to carry out any duties within that park.

  • “Did these poor oppressed unionists of south Armagh include the Glenanne gang of ruc/udr/uvf members?

    Gave it a rest please”.

    Congratulations for pretty much proving my point about Republican whitewashing.

    Two things to bear in mind.

    First of all, we are not quite yet living in your dream future where the inconvenient memory of Kingsmills has been quietly pushed into the dustbin. Slugger is not the equivalent of a Sinn Fein run council so, as Mick pointed out, attrocities carried out by the Republican movement may be commented on here. If it embarrases you or disturbs your conscience (which I somewhat doubt) or even if it is bad for Republican self-image… then that’s your problem, not mine.

    Secondly, you really don’t want to go down the road of contextualising attrocities nor indeed using the concept of collective communal responsibility to blacken the names of innocent victims. Follow that logic and those murdered on Bloody Sunday got exactly the bullet they deserved.

  • tacapall

    Mick its doing the general public a disservice to censor the truth about the DUP and its members lecturing others about the wrongs of honoring terrorists yet the same people have no such reservations about insulting Catholic victims by paying their respects to dead loyalist terrorists. The fact is Nigel Dodds and his wife Diane a member of the European Parliament and Stormont minister Nelson McCausland attended the funeral of former Red Hand Commando prisoner Bobby Moffet murdered by his associates in the UVF.

    “Among the attendance were Northern Ireland’s Minister for Culture Nelson McCausland, along with two DUP colleagues, MEP Diane Dodds and her husband North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds.”

    The RHC is/was a cover name for the UVF and between the two groups they have murdered hundreds of Catholics, are those victims not entitled to the same level of respect from Unionist politicians as they believe Sinn Fein and the SDLP should have for Protestant victims ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I took it down because I know at least one detail was wrong (which you have now corrected).

    You went on to make more serious allegations about something else I was not aware of, but I didn’t want to take my chances in the High Court.

    Err to the side of caution. Real life is full of enough shocks, I don’t need any extra on top of that..

  • tacapall

    I understand your position Mick but concerning that other detail you believe was wrong, a simple search of the internet would bring you up dozens of websites including newshound saying what I said, if they are untrue it seems no effort has been made to challenge those revelations.

  • otto

    What a horrible hole that links to. Not going there again.