Peter Taylor: “Meeting Sean again was a sad and salutary experience.”



Well worth reading Peter Taylor’s own thoughts on his forthcoming film, particularly in talking to Sean McKinley, the man he met as a young boy in 1974:

And what about Sean McKinley, the little boy with the initials IRA tattooed on the back of his hand? We finally found him after wearing out much shoe leather on the streets of west Belfast. I got a shock when the once fresh-faced little boy of 12 opened the door to my knock. He was now 52 and looked many years older. His hand still bore the initials IRA.

Sean had indeed “fought for his country” and as a result had spent many years in the Maze prison for the murder of a British soldier. I asked him what he would say to any little boy who said today what he had said 40 years ago about fighting and dying for Ireland.

“I would advise him to forget it, because I know a lot of people who died, and they thought they were fighting and dying for their country, but it never worked out that way. It never worked out.”

Meeting Sean again was a sad and salutary experience.

  • Dixie Elliott

    The North is full of Seans, people who believed callous cold blooded liars and who lived to regret it. I know because I’m one. fortunately I fared a lot better than Sean…

  • Son of Sam

    Michael Henry;you must surely have a comment on the above!Would you not agree with Dixie?

  • Colm McGinn

    War and one’s part in it is a bit of a problem for the non-pyschopath

  • Turgon

    It is sad to see anyone in poor health especially when still fairly young. Sean McKinley is, however, no innocent victim. He is a victim of others lies but also a victim his own bigotry and violence. His regrets seem over his own wasted life and one can feel a certain pity for him. However it was his life he chose to waste. Whatever pity he deserves his murdered victim and their family deserve much more. He, Sean McKinley, chose not merely to ruin his victim’s family’s life but to end that of his victim.

  • sean treacy

    Mick and Dixie for some reason left out the last bit of Seans quotation in todays Irish News.Sean said “I have every faith in Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness”

  • Mister_Joe

    Very true. I read recently that USA veterans of the recent wars are committing suicide at the rate of one every eight hours. Don’t know if that is exactly true but there certainly are many of them and I don’t know how that compares with older wars. It’s certainly very sad..

  • Michael Henry

    Read Sean treacy’s reply-

    Dixie is a idiot like those that made the excuse that they followed Paisleys words- You believe in yourself and your own beliefs – Dixie will always do what others tell him to do-

  • Dan

    I’d suggest the murdering scumbag Sean, and any like him, be disbarred from receiving any British welfare benefits

  • Michael Henry

    And Dan is looking all those who will kill Civilians for the RAF next week to be disbarred from receiving pay from the state ( and any benefits they claim for in the future )-and any RAF murder Supporting MPs should be disbarred from state pay also- Good Man Dan-

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Christian spirit of forgiveness is certainly pouring out of that contribution Turgon.

  • mickfealty

    Fair criticism Sean. That is a striking part of the interview.

    I thought about adding it in momentarily, since it would certainly have added pathos. But short of time, I just went for Peter’s chosen cut in his text, rather than inserting the missing bit myself.

    [Note to others, I’ve removed comments here because they break the play the ball not the man rule here.]

  • carl marks

    yep the love thy enemy’s bit seems to have been forgotten, strange how paisley was lauded and his evils were forgotten as well, seems its easy to forgive if the evildoer is on your side.
    Christians you gotta love them!

  • Turgon

    There is no comment about forgiveness there one way or another. If McKinley repents/ apologises in either a religious or indeed secular sense I would accept it. That said such apologies would not be to me but to his victim’s family.

    Even in the absence of any such apology I would happily help him if he needed my help.

    That is very much how Christianity works.

    I am, however, grateful for the explanation from two atheists as to how to conduct my Christianity.

    As someone who has never played golf maybe I should skip church and go to the Ryder Cup to tell them all how to play golf.

  • Dan

    Selective deletion as usual on Sluggerotoole

  • carl marks

    perhaps you should take up golf, and perhaps you could consider this; one of the reasons that i drifted towards atheists was the hypocrisy dressed up as deeply religious belief,and the hatred dressed up as gospel.
    The ability of “fundamentalist Christians” to use the bible to support their own agendas is a powerful force in the creation of atheists and a wonderful weapon in our armory of debate.

  • mickfealty

    Yep, selected carefully with a view to keeping the conversation live and relevant. Sorry Dan. But the rules are clear.

    Which brings me to my old friend Carl Marks. Carl, I let you back in here very reluctantly when the platform changed.

    I was reluctant primarily because you don’t seem to understand the divide between man playing and playing the ball.

    I’m warning you because you are creeping very very close to that divide. One more time and you are out for good!

  • barnshee

    “I would advise him to forget it, because I know a lot of people who died, and they thought they were fighting and dying for their country, but it never worked out that way. It never worked out.”

    Yeats summed it up

    “Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot,
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places but the lash goes on.

    Thousands dead -the cops with villas in Spain the Provos with bungalows in Donegal and the unemployed on benefits in W. Belfast still on (now reducing) benefits in W. Belfast

  • npbinni

    Looks like Willie Frazer just got one up on SF/IRA…

    The man’s a cracker!