“If there was a hierarchy of the victims of the Troubles, #TheDisappeared were at the bottom…”

…So Darragh McIntyre begins a truly haunting evocation of the plight of the families of those killed mostly by the IRA and disappeared… You can pick it up here on the RTE Player and here on the iPlayer…

I’d recommend watching it in full, but for now, two indicative passages. This one, in which former south Armagh IRA man Martin McAllister outs the rumour mill around post execution citings of disappeared victims as a way of stealing some grace for a deed they knew would be indefensible in the eyes of local people…

And here, where towards the end of being challenged directly on the killing and disappearing of two men McCallister has already admitted were carried out by the local IRA, Adams uses exactly the defence outlined by McCallister above, ie that “people go off. People disappear. People bring back reports of having seen such and such a person”.

It’s hard to shake off the thought watching #TheDisappeared that living through those distorted times, forced many good people to abandon more settled and generous values that an older generation retained, in spite the trauma of those early years.

In terms of what it means for Gerry Adams, and the rest of us forced to treat his various political fictions as though they were robust statements of truth it is hard to go beyond Fintan O’Toole’s oped in the Irish Times today:

It matters a great deal, on both sides of the Border. In the North, Adams’s stubborn fictions make impossible something that Sinn Féin itself repeatedly and rightly demands – a proper accounting by all the actors in the conflict for the deaths they inflicted.

That right belongs to the families of the 11 people in Ballymurphy killed by the British army in August 1971, to those Catholics murdered as a result of collusion between security forces and loyalist killers, to the families of the Disappeared – to everyone, without distinction.

That accounting simply can’t happen while a key political force is led by a man who refuses even to admit that he is Gerry Adams.
It matters in the South too. Sinn Féin is now a highly significant, and in many ways constructive part of the democratic process.

That process desperately needs a radical renewal based on accountability, honesty and morality. It can’t function if those demands apply to everyone except the leader of a party that insists on holding everyone else to account while maintaining a cult-like adherence to an obvious lie.

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  • socaire

    Two wee points. Is it possible to be high up in the Republican movement yet not be a member of the IRA? And which government party in Britain should we hold responsible for atrocities carried out by the British Army?

  • The Hierarchy…its basically true.
    But we talk about the Troubles as 1969 to 1998 but the reality is that the period from Internment 1971 to (say) 1976 was so intense that not everything was really picked up.
    Death was usually a headline…it was immediate…a certainty.
    But necessarily Disappearing had not the same certainty.
    It was necessarily not known about until news filtered out that someone had gone missing the previous week.
    It was rarely headline news.
    But the hierarchy thing rings true.
    In those days…and a lot of Slugger readers wont be old enough to get this…..TV headlines that began “A body has been found” scared us all and needed to be rationalised so that we could hang on to some shred of sanity.
    The ones that scared us most were the ones we thought “that could have been me”
    So the highest place in the hierarchy went to those “could have been me”.
    But the guys wearing uniform could not have been me.
    The guys who blew themselves up could not have been me.
    The drinkers in the country pub…not me.

    So the Kennel Club at La Mon….yep that could have been me (if it wasn’t dogs and another hotel).
    And random sectarian killings in UDA Romper Rooms….yes that might have been me.
    But the Disappeared was never likely to be me.
    (Ironically….today Remember Remember 5th November is a day I wont forget).

    Realistically very few people were fully adult in those most intense years. Totally different from 1979 or 1984 or 1992.

    And it was common currency then to believe that many more people were dying than were reported. All nonsense now of course but a very prominent person “died” in the flames at Greaves Mill on the Falls Road. UVF men from East Belfast killed at St Matthews…City incinerator at Laganbank Road. And we all heard of the baggage handlers at Aldergrove who accidently went into wrong area and saw coffins.

    Mick….the sheer intensity of that time in Belfast….I dont think anyone will really ever come to terms with it.
    And yes….the Disappeared were completely overlooked at the time….except by their families.
    Unforgivable really.

  • TheImpartialObserver

    It was the case of Charlie Armstrong that I found most difficult, he clearly seemed a kind and gentle man but was supposedly murdered because “he dallied about town” and ” someone was afraid he’d seen something he shouldn’t have.” All the cases of the Disappeared give an indication of the climate of paranoia that dominated Republican and Loyalist areas that made it possible for Charlie Armstrong or Jean McConville to be abducted and murdered due to little more than gossip or wildly unfounded rumours. Anyone who joined a paramilitary group was always looking over their shoulder or worrying that they’d been double crossed and that affected the community at large with tragic results.

  • tacapall

    “a proper accounting by all the actors in the conflict for the deaths they inflicted.

    That right belongs to the families of the 11 people in Ballymurphy killed by the British army in August 1971, to those Catholics murdered as a result of collusion between security forces and loyalist killers, to the families of the Disappeared – to everyone, without distinction.”

    How can anyone argue with or challenge the words above. The program was shocking and as for Adams, the more the truth emerges the more disgust you feel for the man.

  • DoppiaVu

    Notice the reportage around all of the attempts to expose Gerry. It seems to be widely accepted by the press that the only way to embarrass Gerry is by using victims/survivors such as Jean McConville & Mary Travers. Both Catholics.

    It seems implicit in the reportage that it’s considered to be less of an issue if it was a prod that was killed/bereaved. So there’s another way to view the heirarchy thing.

    Anyway, have to agree with Fintan’s views on the absurdity of SF’s position on this.

  • Red Lion

    I thought Darragh McIntyre was a brilliant questioner and interrogator of Adams. When he asked the difficult question, you can see McIntyre’s wide penetrative eyes and non-verbals scrutinizing Adams. One can sense Adams discomfort and the cold mask of lies uncovering.

    Surely this film will win awards. Quite brilliant.

  • socaire

    I raise the points above because although Adams may have been high up in the Republican movement, he may not have been in the IRA and may not be lying in his answer. Secondly, although in theory the British government is in charge of the British Army, Sinn Féin is not in charge of the IRA and is not responsible for their actions. Any takers? No penetrative eyes or non-verbals looking this way, please.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s at least two things against it socaire…

    One, the footage in the programme of him in full IRA uniform; and two his presence at talks between the IRA at the tender age of 23.

    It’s possible he did not actually kill anyone himself, but I think it’s beyond dispute he’s lying about his membership.

    As Fintan notes, he’s still employing the same anti interrogation techniques he used in Palace Barracks all those years ago.

    For Gerry to be telling the truth, an awful lot of people have to be lying. He’s calling an awful lot of people, who live in the same world the rest of us do, liars.

  • Mick Fealty

    In other news, no one from Sinn Fein turned up to debate the matter in the Dail this evening…

  • megatron

    We live in a world where hypocracy and lies are the oil that keeps the whole show going – com NSA spying to peace processes to capitalism itself. It is ludicrous to expect Gerry to tell the truth on his own. Not just ludicrous but misguided.

    I also believe it is ludicrous to expect anyone else involved to tell the whole truth.

    That said, Gerry should go now for many reasons.

  • megatron

    Also I was confused between McKee interview and McIntyre commentary whether or not disappearing was a tactic in war of independence / civil war? Can anyone clarify?

  • Barney

    “In other news, no one from Sinn Fein turned up to debate the matter in the Dail this evening…”

    That would be no one except Gerry Adams unless there was another debate……

  • Framer

    Does nobody else recognise the interview with Billy McKee was the most remarkable with a Republican screened in 25 years?
    I only pray it was much longer and covered more aspects of his time in charge.

  • Charles_Gould

    Mick
    Do you think that any other former IRA men will come forward to give a detailed interview? This makes for very interesting viewing.

  • Mick Fealty

    He certainly turned up for leaders questions, but made no contribution t the debate on the disappeared Barney…

  • Mick Fealty

    Meg,

    McKee claimed nothing like that happened on his watch, but it certainly did during the civil war: http://goo.gl/XE0f39

  • Barney

    I’m watching it now, saw it earlier.

  • Its not a matter of lies and an individual.
    It has to taint the whole brand that the rest of his Party stand by him.
    There cant really be a “good Sinn Fein” with pics in the Ulster Tatler and eight personal chaplains and a poet laureate….and a “bad Sinn Fein” (Adams).
    Those that fall over themselves for a photo op maybe need to look at themselves.
    I personally have no big issue with the Past.
    Nothing that happened matters that much.
    Is anybody seriously going to say that they didnt “know” this in 1998?

    But its absurd that the people sought to bring Sinn Fein into the process…..SDLP, Fianna Fáil, journalists….and who cheered when the Good Friday Agreement was signed…..cant have it both ways.
    We surely knew or assumed all this in 1998 and the whole Creative Ambiguity which underpins the flawed Process turned a blind eye.

    The only difference is that Sinn Fein being as successful as they became wasnt in the script.

  • “Is it possible to be high up in the Republican movement yet not be a member of the IRA? And which government party in Britain should we hold responsible for atrocities carried out by the British Army?”

    @socaire,

    Yes, but it is pretty rare in the Northern Republican Movement. The particular party in power–providing the prime minister and defense minister–is responsible for the actions of the British Army during its tenure. But the relationship is different that with the Republican Movement. The latter is an example of a private army with its associated political party, which used to be its public relations organization.

  • Charles_Gould

    ““Is it possible to be high up in the Republican movement yet not be a member of the IRA?”

    Do you think that it is possible to be the leader of the IRA while not being a member?

  • ” Secondly, although in theory the British government is in charge of the British Army, Sinn Féin is not in charge of the IRA and is not responsible for their actions.”

    The “armalite in one hand and ballot box in the other” speech pretty well admitted that the two are joined at the hip or other part of the anatomy like Siamese twins. Although which half of the Republican Movement is in charge at any given moment is sometimes difficult to discern.

  • Charles_Gould

    “” Secondly, although in theory the British government is in charge of the British Army, Sinn Féin is not in charge of the IRA and is not responsible for their actions.””

    Duh. The IRA were in charge of Sinn Féin and Gerry Adams was leader of the IRA.

  • “For Gerry to be telling the truth, an awful lot of people have to be lying. He’s calling an awful lot of people, who live in the same world the rest of us do, liars.”

    Like Sean O’Calloghan, Martin McGartland, Raymond Gilmour, Brendan Hughes, Dolores Price for starters and those are just the people who have gone on the record that I can think of. Once, if ever, the agent reports of RUC Special Branch, Garda Siochana and MI5 are declassified I’m sure that the list will be much longer although we probably won’t learn the names of those reporting about Adams positions within the IRA.

  • Sorry, that should read Adams’s positions.

  • megatron

    What sort of truth telling statement would satisfy everyone?

  • Charles_Gould

    megatron
    I think it would have to be something recorded by tape that could be played back to other IRA members who could be asked if they felt this was a fair assessment of the truth.

  • megatron

    The key Charles is does he have give a full account of all his actions (i am guessing people will start at did he order the killing of jean mcconville) or just a general “I was in a senior position in the IRA from 1969 to 2009 and I said I wasn’t because I thought that was the best thing to say for the republican movement and most of the movement agreed”

  • Mick Fealty

    My mistake. Adams did contribute to the Dail debate…

  • Dixie Elliott

    I posted this elsewhere after watching the documentary…

    When you look at the caliber of the men and women now willing to point the finger in Adams’ face and call him a liar, you realise the sense of betrayal that sweeps through what was the heart of Republicanism.

    It’s hard to accept that terrible things were done in the name of Republicanism but accept it we must. Who couldn’t help but see that tonight?

    How galling is it to watch and listen while the likes of Adams and McGuinness try and wash their hands of their past and the leading part they played by hiding behind the rhetoric of the peace process and claims that it’s all a plot by those who are anti- Sinn Fein or opponents of Gerry Adams and their so called strategy?

    It wasn’t us we were trying to bring it to an end…

    Yes while urging the IRA to fight on time and again, by lying as men and women died for what the so called leaders knew to be nothing more than the time needed to undermine them.

    Those who saw this, like Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price knew they had to speak out and expose the lies. Others like Billy McKee are following suit.

    What Adams and company have to fear is from which direction will the truth strike them next?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Another telling moment was when Darragh McIntyre told Adams that a former leading member of the Movement had backed up what Brendan Hughes said about the disappeared.

    I saw the hint of recognition in Adams’ eyes. The realisation that others are not for letting him off the hook must’ve struck him at that moment.

  • megatron

    Dixie, is it not more instructive that the vast majority of the republican movement still support him?

    The hard truth is that those who have fallen out with him for the most part fell out over the cease fires or peace process related activities rather than lies or any of his actions to 1996.

    Is there anyone who now supports the PSNI, was a IRA volunteer and does not support Adams?

    Anyone?

  • Charles_Gould

    megatron

    “The key Charles is does he have give a full account of all his actions (i am guessing people will start at did he order the killing of jean mcconville) or just a general “I was in a senior position in the IRA from 1969 to 2009 and I said I wasn’t because I thought that was the best thing to say for the republican movement and most of the movement agreed””

    Good question.

    First of all I think he would have to stand down from his party, as he has to make statements that would affect his party if he were still leader.

    Second I think he begins with this statement you made above.

    He then has to detail all the things he did in the IRA and give full disclosure.

    He would of course have to go to prison, but he would have made a huge contribution to the truth process, the reconciliation process, and would have achieved redemption for his past wrongs.

  • Charles_Gould

    I have just watched Darragh McIntyre documentary (repeated on BBC4) and I have to say it was excellent – very, very well done and very, very moving.

    It did make me think about megatron’s question and I think it was good of Gerry Adams to take part in the documentary.

    Gerry Adams is in a position, still, do do a lot of good at the end of his life by coming clean and giving a full account of his activities in the IRA. By giving a detailed and accurate statement of all activities, he would be able to achieve redemption, and he would have made an enormous contribution to the peace process in Ireland, and the reconciliation of the people who live in Ireland.

    He could do this in a series of interviews to be taped and recorded for future historians to work on and it would have to be the complete truth.

  • Charles_Gould

    “Is there anyone who now supports the PSNI, was a IRA volunteer and does not support Adams?”

    There seems to be a great effort to keep them on payroll; look at the likes of Ian Milne who was co-opted into Mid Ulster or those who work as spads and other related work.

  • Dixie Elliott

    megatron said…

    “Dixie, is it not more instructive that the vast majority of the republican movement still support him? ”

    If you mean SF then of course, but if you mean those who fought during the Struggle then definitely not as a recent edition of the View bore out.

    SF struggles to get anyone to attend their so called commemorations, even those for the Hunger Strikes. In Derry this year they personally handed out invites to a commemoration and laid on buses from various areas yet only about 200 turned up. Earlier in the year they asked people not to attend the Bloody Sunday March, thousands turned up.

    When you have 5,000 marching through Belfast with people lining the streets you know in what direction Republican support (not to be confused with electoral support) has swung. It becomes even more embarrassing when those marchers stop outside the local SF watering hole and play ‘Take it down from the Mask…’

    Not only that SF needs British funding to keep what ‘loyalty’ they have left here in the North otherwise their numbers would be depleted.

  • Charles_Gould

    DoppieWu

    “It seems to be widely accepted by the press that the only way to embarrass Gerry is by using victims/survivors such as Jean McConville & Mary Travers. Both Catholics.”

    The Darragh McIntyre programme interviewed Dame O’Loan, who said that the reason Jean McConville was murdered was because she was protestant.

  • Alias

    “Gerry Adams is in a position, still, do do a lot of good at the end of his life by coming clean and giving a full account of his activities in the IRA.”

    Sociopaths aren’t motivated by the prospect of ‘doing good’; they enjoy doing the opposite of what society considers being the decent thing or the right thing. The enjoyment is compounded if they can also do the wrong thing while leading society to see it as the right thing.

    That’s one of the reasons that trading justice for truth will ensure that their victims receive neither. They will give false testimony simply for the enjoyment of doing malice while pretending their malice is truth. You also won’t get these people to tell the truth where the truth gives society a view of them that they do not want society to hold.

    These people enjoy the sense of empowerment that concealment of their victim’s bodies gives them over their victim’s families. Adams, for example, lied to Jean McConville’s daughter’s face about his involvement in the murder of their mother. He could have lessened the children’s suffering anytime he chose by revealing what happened to her as they requested but such an act would have ended his sense of empowerment over them, just as ordering his lackeys to prove their loyalty to the cult leader by abducting and murdering her gave him that sense of empowerment.

    As for “redemption”: sociopaths don’t have a conscience and therefore are beyond that irrelevant Christian concept.

  • Charles_Gould

    “That’s one of the reasons that trading justice for truth will ensure that their victims receive neither.”

    I didn’t propose that, as I said he would of course have to go to prison. He would achieve redemption however, and that is very important and could be very healing for all of us.

  • Alias

    Yes, and day that happens is also the day that four purple polka-dotted pigs will fly out of a gold-horned unicorn’s ass and prune the hedges in my back garden…

  • Charles_Gould

    Alias – you are I expect right, in which case history books will take a very very dim view of Mr Gerry Adams.

  • “Sociopaths aren’t motivated by the prospect of ‘doing good…”

    @Alias,

    Since I don’t know Gerry Adams personally I can’t say whether or not he is a sociopath or just has the normal quota of narcissism and entitlement that is common among politicians. But to posit that most republicans or even Provos are sociopaths is to be sadly mistaken. Republicans operated from a certain received concept of history and values that justified and in fact demanded their actions, as did many loyalists. This would be like defining Pashtuns as psychopaths because they operate according to traditional codes that are in conflict with those of the modern world.

  • Alias

    The percentage of the population who joined these murder gangs is related to the percentage of the population who are sociopathic. The overwhelming majority of the population (99%) did not join these murder gangs so those who did were profoundly abnormal, reacting to shared circumstances in a way that was not shared by that overwhelming and normal majority. In fact, so-called republicans did not exist in any numbers in Northern Ireland that was capable of producing a culture. These murder gangs were engineered for the express purpose of creating mayhem but it is true that they also proffered propaganda that was designed to justify murder and create an environment for the gang leaders to prosper. The sociopathic, given their lack of empathy, moral code, and other dysfunctional attributes, would be more susceptible to using the readymade cover provided by these gangs to engage in various anti-social practices. The normal members of society – the overwhelming majority – would not. The normal person would concern himself with such factors as the harm done to others, the likelihood of success, the concept of a just war, the moral and legal legitimacy of murder, the necessity of murder, the viability of alternative means, ect, whereas the sociopath would not. On the balance of probability, a thug who sneaks out from behind a bush and shoots an unarmed man in the head – delighting in pleasing his gang bosses by his act – is more likely to be a sociopath than not.

  • gendjinn

    Disappearing people is an incredibly cruel and malevolent act, especially for those from the Gaelic tradition given how important the body, funeral & wake are to the grieving process and the grieving family.

    Disappearing punished the family who, regardless of whatever justification is constructed for murdering the individual, are by definition innocent.

    In my opinion disappearing victims is up there with the Shankhill Butchers and murdering children for some of the most heinous acts in the Troubles.

    Mick,

    your vendetta with Gerry derailed a really important documentary and topic. Please get over it because it is really damaging your objectivity and the value Slugger can make to Northern Ireland and Troubles narrative.

  • MrPMartin

    Alias makes a good point

    In societies where there is consensual agreement on the way society is run or not run, a very large number of that society actively partake in activities whose aims are to change negative aspects of society. For example, the French Resistance. It was nearly universally accepted both within and outside France that the German occupation was illegal and immoral and evilly executed. Therefore a very large number of French people joined the resistance and took part in things they would not have taken part in in a normal peaceful society

    In NI on the vast majority of Catholics did not share SFs assessment nor interpretation of history or its strategy. Had the British state been seen as evil or as completely immoral and more importantly, UNABLE TO CHANGE/ADAPT, then most Catholics would have taken part in the Provo campaign activity or tacitly.

    But they didn’t as the Provo campaign was immoral and unjustified except to the small sociopathic extremist minority who conducted and organised acts of terror.

    Its also telling that many ex IRA members said they joined after witnessing acts of brutality by British soldiers. Eg Gerry Kelly

    Does this imply that he and others like him only joined the IRA to exact some form of revenge as opposed to seeking the sainted United Ireland of their dreams? Had the army not been on the streets or had the army behaved less like trigger happy numpties on occasion, would the IRA have even persisted ?

    I believe people like Kelly and others then had to apply retrospective justification for their organisations evils actions otherwise I believe they would have had a breakdown.

    There will be a lot of deathbed confessions in the coming years and Adams and co will have to set place settings for many many ghosts of Banquo

  • MrPMartin

    Slightly off topic but if there was anything that would make me anti English is their complete and utter ignorance of what we went through. Many don’t even know we exist. Many think Ireland is all one. Many don’t want to know and bury their heads in the sand

    Even the dumbest person in France knows what’s is in and not in France. How come English people don’t? What are they taught in school? Leninism for Toddlers?

    That’s the one thing that would dissuade me of unionism – loyalty To a country that doesn’t know we exist or is ambivalent is undignified

  • cynic2

    “complete and utter ignorance of what we went through”

    Most of which was self inflicted here not manufactured there

    And why should they know about us. Most Scots don’t know about us. What do you know about Wales? Most people in London know little north of Watford or west of Reading unless they commute or emigrated from there to London. Try asking a native Dubliner whats the main town on Offally

  • DoppiaVu

    Charles_Gould

    My understanding is that she was born Protestant and converted to Catholic. But you’re missing my point. The point is that it appears that Gerry can only be properly held to account by asking about Catholic victims. The implication is that it’s less of a deal that he should be involved in killing innocent protestants.

    And your comments about redemption? I’d prefer to wait to find out exactly what he did or was responsible for before I speculated about what the reaction will be. I certaintly don’t think redemption is a given. Indeed, I’ve occasionally wondered what would happen to Gerry if he was to come clean about his past then retire from public life.

    Ultimately, I think that Fitzjameshorse is right to bring this all back to the creative ambiguity that lies at the heart of the process. We’re most of us complicit in turning a blind eye to Gerry’s past. But – Gerry needs to wake up to the fact that any republican push for transparency on the British side can only ever lead to the Brits pushing back and expecting transparency on the republican side.

  • Charles_Gould

    “The implication is that it’s less of a deal that he should be involved in killing innocent protestants.”

    He killed both protestants and catholics in large number. For me it does not matter what their religion was. I was just pointing out that he was said (by Dame O’Loan) to have killed Mrs McConville explicitly because she was protestant by community background.

  • Charles_Gould

    “And your comments about redemption? I’d prefer to wait to find out exactly what he did or was responsible for before I speculated about what the reaction will be. I certaintly don’t think redemption is a given. Indeed, I’ve occasionally wondered what would happen to Gerry if he was to come clean about his past then retire from public life.”

    I think he should retire first and then admit his past, and that his tapes should be played to a number of republicans who could verify the accuracy of his account.

    Of course it may be he has calculated that the large number of deaths that he was involved in means he is beyond redemption. However if he were to admit to them, and go to prison, he would I think have made a large contribution towards his redemption.

  • Charles_Gould

    “We’re most of us complicit in turning a blind eye to Gerry’s past. But – Gerry needs to wake up to the fact that any republican push for transparency on the British side can only ever lead to the Brits pushing back and expecting transparency on the republican side.”

    I think there is a need for some of the truth to start to come out. The ball needs to roll and all people need to admit to their wrongs. The fact that Gerry Adams was leader of the IRA and his role in many deaths does need to be scrutinized and will be more and more given he now seeks high office.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Cynic 2:

    “And why should they know about us. Most Scots don’t know about us. What do you know about Wales? Most people in London know little north of Watford or west of Reading unless they commute or emigrated from there to London. Try asking a native Dubliner whats the main town on Offally.”

    The English don’t care what’s happening in the north of Ireland because in their hearts and minds it’s a different country and an entirely different people with a different history. It isn’t English people killing each other, so it’s not really their concern, even though they have a political responsibility to the place. All unionists know this very well, despite denials. The English care as little about the north of Ireland as they do about the Faulklands. They won’t be bullied out of a place by violence, but that doesn’t mean the place matters to them.

    They’ve always made it clear they have no interest whatsoever in Northern Ireland remaining in existence if the people there voted for unification. They won’t be making political arguments to keep the place going, because it has no relevance to them.

    You cannot make an Englishman an Irishman or a Scotsman an Englishman, whatever propaganda is proffered. Calling them ‘British’ will never change the fact they are different countries and peoples.

  • carl marks

    It’s hard to see that GA can survive this, I doubt there is anyone who believes that he was not in the IRA , if when Jean McConville was murdered he was one of the leaders of that group then like the Commanders of the Para’s on Bloody Sunday and Ballymurphy he was responsible for what his foot soldiers did.
    I am willing to give SF the benefit of the doubt in so much that I believe that they are trying to assist in the recovery of the bodies, of course this does not excuse the murders in the first place,
    How many disappeared are there, during the period of “the troubles “this place like every other country in the world every year people disappear, some commit suicide, some end up sleeping in a shop doorway somewhere, some are murdered and I don’t doubt that more victims are buried in lonely fields than we know about.
    There were more people than the IRA killing people ,we know of at least one loyalist disappeared and I suspect there are many more of those, how about the various security agencies, like doctors these people have a habit of burying their problems.
    I don’t think we have got all the names of these murdered and not returned to their families and I don’t think ever will.
    As a parent I can think of nothing more terrible than to lose a child and not to know the way of their passing and not to be able to bury them.

  • tacapall

    “These murder gangs were engineered for the express purpose of creating mayhem”

    Alias you really do have a short memory, was it not you who claimed the IRA and the murder gangs were British agents, controlled and directed by British intelligence to bring about by stealth the subjugation of the Irish nation. There is mountains of evidence out there that British intelligence ran murder gangs on both sides but you seem to ignore that fact when it suits.

    Make up your mind.

    “Sociopaths aren’t motivated by the prospect of ‘doing good’; they enjoy doing the opposite of what society considers being the decent thing or the right thing. The enjoyment is compounded if they can also do the wrong thing while leading society to see it as the right thing”

    Obviously your definition above could be a label that also applies to all those British soldiers, RUC officers and successive British governments who have in one way or another played their part in the murder of innocent people, colluding in the murder of innocent people or ensuring the murderers of those innocent people evaded justice.

    Lets not pretend Gerry Adams and the IRA were the only party in the past conflict to carry out terrible deeds and lets not forget that the puppet masters were just as sociopathic as their puppets.

  • socaire

    Never hear of the IRB, Mick? They were not necessarily all IRA members. Many colour party members are not volunteers for security reasons. It’s a pity that Slugger wasn’t about when WW2 finished because it would have been fascinating to see Winnie ripped to shreds. People here vote for the party – there is no personality cult. Are you sure Charles Gould is not really John O’Connor?

  • Mick Fealty

    socaire,

    Yes of course, and you may right. Except people who served with Adams seems to think he was in the Ra. Little of what Adams has to say about himself can actually be believed. You believe in him, or you don’t. He’s a secular/ideological icon, not a reliable witness.

    Take how McCallister describes the MO of declaring ‘no one knows where the victim has gone’ and then planting rumours of them being spotted in Carrickmacross with two women, or skipping to England. And then Adams casually suggests ‘there’s always rumours’, to which he might then have added, ‘because we made sure there were to put you guys off the scent, and alienate the victim from their own communities…’

    gendjinn,

    If you don’t talk about Mr Adams, then you are effectively ignoring the contemporary problem of his general and passing acquaintance with the truth. We all have to make decisions about what’s important here, and I’m going to say to anyone they have to share my analysis. In fact I am always grateful to people for pointing out my own no doubt many blindspots.

    For me if you are going to ignore or arbitrarily absolve Mr Adams of the need to explain his actions and his erratic inconsistency over time, then you are ignoring a major problem in the system.

  • socaire

    As a last note, it was always accepted that the Green Book forbade any volunteer from admitting membership. We are now at the position where Martin McGuiness will soon be denying that he is ‘that’ Martin McGuiness. For some reason ole Gerry seems to attract a lot of personal vitriolic attacks. Maybe they are deserved – maybe not. But what really shines out is the source of these attacks. From Conchies and under achievers and general anti-nationalists.

  • son of sam

    Socaire
    Who is John O ‘Connor?

  • Mick Fealty

    It was ever thus socaire.

    No one who is still in the movement has the ‘cead’ to speak on the matter, which is why I often struggle to make sense of the movement as a democratic organ.

    I suppose simply put, it ain’t one.

    It still has a mandate though, and I do admire it in the sense that politically it has never asked its critics rivals or friends permission to exist. Some of its more whinging rivals could learn from that.

  • megatron

    Dixie,

    I dont dispute the numbers you quote. There are two separate points here though which you confuse: whether he/SF “sold out” and whether he is a liar who should own up to murders and on reflection his actions during the “war” make him unfit to continue.

    The fact remains that I dont see ANY former volunteers who dont think he sold out but think he should now go.

  • Charles_Gould

    “The fact remains that I dont see ANY former volunteers who dont think he sold out but think he should now go.”

    They would get cut off from support networks were they to do so.

  • Charles_Gould

    “it was always accepted that the Green Book forbade any volunteer from admitting membership”

    Politicians have a responsibility to the electorate, especially if they aspire to high office, of being honest. I would argue that this responsibility should not be subject to secret society oaths, etc.

  • megatron

    Charles,

    Disappointing as it may be to you, most of them don’t rely on support networks.

    Bad case of a narrative.

  • socaire

    Mr Gould, you show a breathtaking naivete about the world of politics. Son of sam. He was a poster sometime back who espoused the cause of the SDLP and Catholicism. In fact he seemed to view them as interchangeable. Very anti SF but could be witty. Much like Cathal without the self deprecation.

  • foyle observer

    Gerry Adams is an innocent man.

    Fact.

  • son of sam

    Socaire
    I think you may be referring to John O’Connell(from Derry) if memory serves me right.

  • Alias

    “As a last note, it was always accepted that the Green Book forbade any volunteer from admitting membership.”

    And what does it say about assisting in the internal administration of British rule? I think it’s safe to say that the so-called Green Book is for the muppets.

    But this part of it is amusing:

    “Socially and Economically we will enact a policy aimed at eradicating the Social Imperialism of today, by returning the ownership of the wealth of Ireland to the people of Ireland through a system of co-operativism, worker ownership, and control of the industry, Agriculture and the Fisheries.”

    No mention of implementing Tory cuts then…

  • socaire

    son of sam, you obviously have a younger nimbler memory than me. Alias. Are you not mixing up SF and the IRA?

  • Alias

    No, I’m referring to your apologetics for PIRA member, Mr Gerry Adams, i.e. that he can’t admit he is a PIRA member because the Green Book forbids such an admission. I merely pointed out that the Green Book forbids plenty of other stuff that is now everyday practice and, therefore, it is not the book of absolute commandants that you deem it to be. And, oddly enough, I must have missed the bit where PIRA’s so-called Army Council expressed disapproval of such everyday transgressions.

    Which reminds me of what Brian Cowen said to Gerry Adams when Adams said he’d “have to consult the IRA on that”. He said, “You can use the bathroom over there to talk to them. There’s a fucking mirror in it.”

  • Charles_Gould

    “Mr Gould, you show a breathtaking naivete about the world of politics.”

    It’s called standards in public life. Compare and contrast Gerry Adams and Conal McDevitt.

  • Charles_Gould

    Sinn Féin was always the political wing of the IRA: run by the IRA for the IRA. Gerry Adams was leader of the IRA and hence ran SF.

  • babyface finlayson

    Alias
    I reckon you are pretty much right about those with sociopathic tendencies finding their way into paramilitary groups. No doubt there were a few reluctant warriors but many would have relished the excitement and power.
    Something which may be true of many soldiers I would say, though regular armies may be better at weeding them out.
    Where Gerry went wrong in my humble opinion was in his outright denial of membership. He should have found a form of words such as;
    “I will never discuss my role in the war due to loyalty to the cause”. And stuck to it in every interview.
    We would all still believe he was in the ra, but he would not look like such a blatant liar.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Charles Gould:

    “It’s called standards in public life. Compare and contrast Gerry Adams and Conal McDevitt.”

    But Gerry Adams isn’t a normal politician like McDevitt. Where Adams goes, follows the shadow of a gunman. That shadow protects him from things no normal politician could survive.

    The only thing that will bring him down is old age.

  • Charles_Gould

    He is not normal because his standards are abnormally low. A low level of moral integrity. Compare and contrast Gerry Adams and John Hume.

  • son of sam

    One might indeed contrast Gerry Adams and John Hume.Sadly where did Humes moral integrity get his party?The majority of the “nationalist” electorate who care to vote clearly prefer a party led by a man clearly lacking in the moral integrity department .It shows you can fool most of the people most of the time!

  • “In fact, so-called republicans did not exist in any numbers in Northern Ireland that was capable of producing a culture. These murder gangs were engineered for the express purpose of creating mayhem but it is true that they also proffered propaganda that was designed to justify murder and create an environment for the gang leaders to prosper.”

    @Alias,

    You should read what Martin Dillon wrote about Lenny Murphy in the preface or introduction to “The Shankill Butchers.” Dillon wrote that individuals who were psychopaths could take advantage of the unique opportunity to kill that existed in The Troubles. But he certainly did not consider them to be typical, and Dillon covered the early murders as a journalist for the Belfast Telegraph. There were also individuals on all sides in WWI who enjoyed the opportunity to kill presented by trench warfare. So psychopaths have always been attracted to war, but that doesn’t mean that most soldiers or warriors are psychopaths and this applies to irregular warfare as well.

    Republicans were/are a subculture within nationalism as a whole and writers on The Troubles often refer to republican ghettoes i.e. West Belfast, North Belfast, South Armagh, the Divis Flats, the Markets, the Bogside, etc. where groups of poor nationalists were grouped who for various reasons had felt more ostracized and vulnerable than ordinary nationalists as a whole. The same could be said of loyalists in places like the Shankill, Sandy Row, North Belfast, and parts of East Belfast. These ghettoes would have a “hyper-culture” an intensification of the believes of the wider culture.

  • That should read “of the beliefs” . Sorry.

  • Dixie Elliott

    megatron those former volunteers who don’t think he sold out rely on him for the average industrial wage, others have done immensely better out of their continued association with SF so I doubt they’d say anything or it would be they who would be going.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Marty attempts to deflect the blame yet again…

    “I make that appeal again today to anyone with any information to bring that forward. I understand that these killings happened decades ago and those involved may be dead, may not have been active in Republicanism since that time or indeed may well be hostile to Sinn Féin and the Peace Process….”

    In other words it could be ‘dissidents’…

    http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/23543

  • sean treacy

    Dixie, what about those who did “immensely better” by not being associated with SF.Seem to recall a Dublin based property developer and his “commentator batman” who did alright by being anti SF.But maybe they were “sound republicans so that’s fine.

  • Alias

    “So psychopaths have always been attracted to war, but that doesn’t mean that most soldiers or warriors are psychopaths and this applies to irregular warfare as well.”

    I was actually referring to sociopaths, not psychopaths. Here’s a good illustration of a sociopath in action.

    “These ghettoes would have a “hyper-culture” an intensification of the believes of the wider culture.”

    Yes, but they came into existence after the most recent murder gangs so they don’t explain how those gangs came into being. There was no ‘republican’ culture in Northern Ireland. There were a small number of so-called republican families in Belfast but no “culture”. The gangs engineered support for their crimes – and that is very different to a societal culture giving rise to it.

  • Dixie Elliott

    sean treacy I seem to recall you mentioning it several times…

    Could you tell me whereabouts in Portugal Mackers has a holiday home, or how many properties does he own?

    Or even better give us a link to one of his bars and we’ll go there for a drink and see if you can come up with something better.

    In fact tell us how he did alright given he doesn’t even own the house he lives in….

  • Alias

    Eamonn McCann makes the point about the absence of a republican culture better than I did:

    “Moloney rightly identifies Adams’s 1983 election to Westminster from West Belfast as one of the most significant plot points in his narrative. He might with advantage have directly quoted the new MP’s exultant first words to cheering crowds on the Falls Road: “Even De Valera couldn’t win the Falls.” De Valera had been hammered in West Belfast in the seminal election of 1918. It was one of only two seats in all of Ireland where constitutional nationalism defeated Sinn Fein. This fact, of which Adams was obviously acutely aware, might usefully be kept in mind by commentators who lazily identify the Falls, or the Bogside in Derry, as “traditional republican” areas. They are not. What gave Adams’s election its sharp significance was that he was the first republican ever elected in the area. What he meant was, even De Valera couldn’t win the Falls for the republican movement.

    The Catholic working-class anger that gave rise to the emergence of the Provos as a major player in the early 1970s did not represent a new flowering of republican ideas, an old, authentic, long-repressed tradition suddenly gushing forth again through the cracks caused by the seismic impact of the 1960s civil rights movement. It’s truer to say, as Moloney does, that the tiny republican movement of the time, embodied in Belfast in a few families, like the Adamses, the Hannaways, the Prices and the MacAirts, provided an organizational framework, a channel for expression and a readiness to fight that matched the sudden mood of the Catholic masses and offered a ready-made ideology to lend their struggle seeming resonance at a time when their communities were under siege by Protestant loyalist mobs, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the British Army.

    One of the most revered rural leaders of the IRA in the 1980s observed a few years ago that “those fellows from Belfast were never really republicans. They were only fighting for their streets.” Fighting for your street, of course, is not necessarily an ignoble thing to do. In certain circumstances–Belfast 1969–it can be no more than neighborly duty. But the impulse to defend one’s locality doesn’t automatically harden into a clear set of ideas. What had pitched whole Catholic working-class communities outside the constitutional arena was not mass conversion to an -ism or a particular conception of history but immediate, material considerations. Most who joined or came to support the IRA did so not out of a sacred duty to “free Ireland” or in pursuit of a historic mission to vindicate the Republic but because they wanted the bigot’s boot off their necks and the British Army off their backs. If these grievances could be remedied short of the achievement of the Republic, then there was the basis of a settlement within existing constitutional structures.”

  • gendjinn

    Mick,

    you misunderstand me. I’m not absolving Adams but the topic of the Disappeared is an important topic all by itself!

    Including your hobby horse has naturally derailed the conversation onto him.

    But you know, I give up, you are absolutely blind when it comes to the topic of Adams and you are only doing yourself and the blog a disservice by wedging him into every conceivable topic.

  • fordprefect

    I asked this question on Slugger a few months ago and I’m going to ask it again (believe me, I am not into whataboutery, I don’t go in for that crap!). Is Lisa Dorrian one of the Disappeared? Seems everyone (especially politicians, no surprise there) have forgotten about her. No-one answered me the last time I asked that on Slugger (go back and check). I listened to the Nolan Show yesterday morning and her Mother and sister were on it, it was hosted by Lisa McAllister, and I think the only reason they were on it was because Michael McConville had mentioned about their plight on the same programme a few days previous.

    tmitch
    When you mentioned all those touts names (don’t know why you put Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price in there), you mentioned O’Callaghan, McGartland, Gilmour etc., why didn’t you put Adams and McGuinness in there as well?

    Socaire
    You talk about people’s naivety, quite a lot of people I speak to now about SF’s stance laugh at the “conchies” (as you call them) who are supporting SF and in retrospect the IRA, the same people would have ran a mile at the mere mention of SF and/or the IRA. As for your take on these attacks are emanating from anti-nationalist quarters, where did you get that idea from? Did Gerry or Martin tell you to post that? you know, in case it’s against the peace process or securocrats made it up! On a final note on what happened to the people who were disappeared, it was despicable and should never have happened.

  • fordprefect

    gendjinn
    How can anyone have a blog, discussion or debate about the disappeared WITHOUT bringing Adams into it? One example, when asked (not accused of having anything to do with it), about Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright’s disappearances, Adams said he heard rumours about it, couldn’t recall etc. FFS, he was a leading republican in the ‘Murph when Kevin McKee went missing and the cats in the entries, never mind the proverbial dogs knew there was something wrong, and he didn’t!? I will leave it up to Mick to answer your other queries, as I’m sure he’s quite capable of doing it himself, but like I said at the start of this post, how can you have a narrative about the disappeared without Adams being brought into it?

  • fordprefect

    I would also like to add that I saw Pat Sheehan on the news last night and he described Adams as “a man of integrity”, I only kept the vomit coming out of my mouth by putting my hand over it and then rushing to the bog! Isn’t there anything that this “man” could do to have even one SFer query it?

  • Alias

    Coincidently, tmitch57, Eamonn McCann has a ‘follow-up’ article to the one I quoted above on Anthony McIntyre’s blog. He explains more succinctly why so-called republicans weren’t actually republicans.

    This paragraph is particularly sharp:

    “The former republican hunger striker Tommy McKearney once explained that it was only after some time in prison, when he had space to discuss the struggle with a sizeable number of other volunteers, that he realised that not only were republicans in a minority in the Catholic community but they appeared to be a minority in the IRA. The intransigent ideology of republicanism matched the mood of potential IRA members and of many in the communities they came from. But mood falls far short of embrace of an ideology.”

    McCann repeats his former explanation for why an ‘internal settlement’ was so acceptable to the PIRA members and argues, not unreasonably, that it can’t of be a betrayal of a shared ideology when so few of them actually shared that ideology:

    “On the basis of this understanding, his embarkation on the road to the 1998 agreement did not represent a betrayal of the movement but an attempt to bring the movement into alignment with the consciousness of the people in whose name the struggle was being conducted.”

    Dixie Elliott also has an excellent post just below the blog. His post begs the question as to why PSF/PIRA, under the agents of influence that led them, made such a sustained effort to claim ownership of republicanism when that ideology was essentially irrelevant to its membership. It wasn’t, however, irrelevant to the British Intelligence Services’ pre-planned “historic compromise” with republicanism.

  • Mick Fealty

    Lis Dorrian IS one of the disappeared: http://www.lisadorrian.co.uk

  • Alias

    Technically, she isn’t. There are 15 ‘disappeared’ people as named by the ICLVR (established via a treaty between the UK and Ireland) whose deaths occured before 10th April 1998.

    She is a missing person, presumed murdered, whose body has not been discovered.

  • Red Lion

    Alias is shining a light on the links between sociopath tendencies and the liklihood of joining a paramilitary organization.

    From memory prison populations generally have up to 60-70% of its population with personality disorders i think, mostly borderline or antisocial personality disorders.

  • DC

    ‘whose body has not been discovered.’

    and i think it’s reasonable to assume that it never ever will be?

    it was a nice touch to mention lisa dorrian among all of this.

    hearing on the radio the mum of lisa and hearing how she would take her place to bring her back was very moving as well.

    http://audioboo.fm/boos/1709204-mother-of-disappeared-lisa-dorrian-i-would-take-her-place-if-i-could#t=12m56s

    an emotional week, very sad, one where brian rowan’s slow and sombre style matched the circumstances. you just wanted to give all those affected by it all a big hug and see them comforted in some way.

    (on a lighter note, gerry adams’ teeth, does he think he’s a movie star or something, what is it about politics and showbiz for ugly people? He’s forgotten to get the bottom ones done, maybe they match his character on the surface bright and plausible, under a bit darker?)

  • DC

    *bright and plausible – in the eyes of those that have voted for him and continue to do.