Reconciliation In Derry – Remembering Messines

After a pretty heavy engagement on Slugger last weekend on the role of republicans, loyalists and the state regarding the troubles and its many victims, I was left feeling a little hopeless about how to overcome the barriers on the road to reconciliation. However, when I saw this article in the Belfast Telegraph, I have to admit my spirits were lifted somewhat.

It is only in recent years that the Irish state has moved to lift the blanket of collective amnesia that for decades smothered any official recognition of the involvement of Irish men and women in the great world conflicts of the last century. Many young Irish gave up their lives fighting in the British Army during the First and Second World Wars. These soldiers, nurses and others came from both traditions on the island and left their differences behind to confront what they regarded as a common enemy. As such it is only right and proper that their sacrifice should be remembered and that their names be preserved forever as a testament to their bravery and selfless determination.

For those of us who truly want to see reconciliation between the two traditions on this Island, seeing the Irish Tricolour and the Union flag side by side in Derry during a ceremony to commemorate those fallen heroes at Messines, lends hope that the future might not be so bleak. Attended by Sinn Fein’s Mitchell McLaughlin, Derry’s Mayor Elisha McCallion, and Glenn Barr; one of the founders of the Messines peace project.

The BBC quoted McLaughlin

“The event itself that is being commemorated, I do think is an issue that republicans should study more, should understand better, should become involved in and I hope giving a lead that is what will happen in the future.”

For me, McLaughlin’s words and the sight of both flags flying together is particularly poignant given my own personal family circumstances. There appears to have been no discord or protest due to the appearance of either flag and the crowd that gathered seemed far more concerned with respecting the memory of those who had died in the battle of Messines rather than getting hot under the collar at the two traditions uniting for the occasion. In other words, the sky didn’t fall in and a baby step forward was made in the process of reconciliation. A positive step forward and an encouraging example of what we can do when we really put our minds to it.

awm-e01649

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  • Sergiogiorgio

    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow””.

  • willie drennan

    Great to see this. Significant step forward.

  • Skibo

    Very poetic

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Significant? Only to some degree and that is because it is essentially symbolic as well as overdue. Gesture politics, even of the most magnanimous sort, can only go so far. It would have been truly significant had it happened 10 or 20 years ago. But at that time its greater significance would have compromised Sinn Fein considerably among its electorate. Sinn Fein had manoeuvred its electorate to that “space ” (rewritten history, inflated sense of oppression, all things ‘Crown’ must be and always were resisted, etc.) that it created and now is slowly manoeuvring them out of it. Smartly, they check if it’s ok first thereby minimising electoral damage. Anyway, I think it was ERII and President McAleese who made the first move here back in 2011.
    Regrettably, I can’t see this taking the wind out of Jim Allister’s sails. I predict the twittersphere will be ablaze with loyalist cries of outrage at the intrusion of the enemy, charges of crass political opportunism and accusations of who are they trying to kid.
    This is of course a step forward but no-one can claim that it is a giant leap for Ulstermankind. That wouild require pragmatism and realpolitik.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Great Post Robin, but hopefully if you can persuade the voters in ROI next year to have Republicans in Government it can decide how to bring home the 6 Irish Regiments Colours that are loaned to the House of Windsor !. Royal Irish Regiment, The Connaught Rangers, The South Irish Horse, The Leinster Regiment, The Royal Munster Fusilier, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers. My idea would be for the Irish Army to Walk them Home from London into Dublin in 2022 !

  • Zeno

    “Unionism needs to find some level of embarrassment within itself that it has been scrounging off English tax payers for decades”

    Robin Keogh, prior to his conversation to reconciliation.

    Why do you want reconciliation with these scroungers?

  • anne

    Any chance of a reciprocal gesture from Unionists/Loyalists/PUL?
    What would it entail?
    Support and attendance at a Republican commemoration?
    Refraining from sectarianism?
    Just askin’ like!!

  • Turgon

    So republicans suggest that honouring the dead of a century ago in France is a gesture of reconciliation.

    Well maybe. The problem is that in the 100 years since there has not been a decade during which republicans have not been murdering people and the republican movement shows no sign of apologising for those murders.

    When those murders: those in NI and elsewhere by republicans, of people whose relatives are still with us; start to be apologised for people may begin to believe in republican attempts at reconciliation.

    Until then and even afterwards many will be more impressed by the suggestions that equality let alone reconciliation is a Trojan Horse to break the b******s.

    The critical point about reconciliation is to ask those to whom one wants to be reconciled what they want and expect.

    Sinn Fein on the other hand make a meaningless gesture. Then if unionists accept that gesture the gain is pocketed and it is suggested that this is a staging post on the way to a united Ireland. If it is rejected then unionists are “proved” again to be bigots etc.

    The reality is that if republicans want reconciliation they could start by making an unreserved and unequivocal apology, then listen for a long time and then apologise again.

    That would be a decent start. The above is hypocritical cant.

  • kalista63

    Turgon has just done the inevitable.

    There are 2 things that unionists find gtreat difficulty in addressing, that Irish repuvlicans fought in WWI and that most unionists became Irish in WWII, electing not to fight.

  • Robin Keogh

    Very nice 😉

  • Turgon

    Its centrally not about that it is that republicans spent years murdering people in order to “make” them become Irish.

    That republicans are then surprised and aggrieved that unionists and others then reject the term Irish demonstrates (if they truly are surprised) quite a stunning inability to understand people other than themselves.

    More likely this is for internal republican consumption pretending to themselves how liberal, tolerant and forward looking they are: whilst all the while rewriting history to magnify their grievances to pretend they are akin to those suffered by Black South Africans etc.

    As to unionists ignoring the Second World War. You are correct. Some unionists being in reserved occupations had entirely honourable reasons to avoid going to war: others did not (rather less honourably).

    One of my grandfathers was in a reserved occupation; one joined the RAF. My wife’s father was a prisoner of war of the Japanese for two and a half years. As such my immediate family have nothing to be remotely ashamed of.

  • kalista63

    Was there a decade when the RUC and B Specials weren’t assaulting and murdering Catholics? Has unionism ever admitted to its misrule and bigotry that continues to this very day?

    Look at how unionists react whenever Mary McAleese, Liam Neeson and James Galway tell a few home truths. Impressively, they stick their heads in the sand while screaming denial.

    We saw the Trojan horse in action yesterday and its not property of Sinn Fein but of every progressive person trapped in a land misruled by the Caleban’s eternal waving of the petition of concern to imprison NI in a constant state of shame.

  • Robin Keogh

    Turgon, thanks for the usual insult. I can always depend on u to behave in a way that reflects the very worst of the old Unionism and i have come to accept that folk like urself will remember everything, forgive nothing and always seek to destroy positive efforts by others so long as they fail to meet your own narrow tunnell vision standards. So while there maybe no hope with individuals such as yourself, the ceremony in Derry shows that many others are willing to try.

  • kalista63

    Given that the Irish, the 26 county ones, had more draconian actions against republicans since 1922, that point doesn’t hold water.

    I get what you say about WWII but in that light, I think its waaayyyyyy past time unionists stopped playing the UVF blackmail card. They served for their own selfish reasons and were found wanting in the next war as they got what they wanted.

  • kalista63

    It is and its going to be the first line in my Eurovision entry.

  • Turgon

    So after proposing reconciliation and deciding without reference to unionists what a republican gesture of reconciliation would be; you then cry foul and reject a suggestion of what some unionists might regard as real attempts at reconciliation.

    It goes to prove my thesis above that republican gestures of reconciliation to unionists are self serving, for internal consumption, and for the furtherance of their own self justifying narrative which is effectively:

    See we tried reconciliation and those dreadful unionists reject us: shows what awful bigots they are and how it was really their own fault we had to kill them.

  • kalista63

    I’d a great uncle murdered by the Shankill Butchers, Conn Neeson, a man I knew as he and my granda were great friends and his brother, the infamous Charlie Neeson, I knew well as he and my mum were great mates (he also taugt me how to run properly). Nolan did a great documentary on the butchers and revealed that they did receive protection. Currently, the PSNI are protective of the RUC.

    Now, I coud borrow a high horse from Turgon’s stable and reject policing, demanding that SF and SDLP pull out of policing and justice but I don’t. I don’t for several reasons but I’ll just give 2. Firstly, we simply will have no future while the past his clung on to, for various reasons. Secondly, to yap about what happened here when we see the actiions of ISIS, Boka Harem, America, israel, Assad is frankly pathetic. Even the perspective of what happened on these shores in the war of independence and te civil war should make people think on.

  • Gopher

    I must admit I’m a bit cynical about this its just appears to be a photo bomb. I think the penny is dropping that 2016 will revolve around the Somme not the GPO and by the time the DDAY centenary comes round we will be comemorating the Irish Republican Army splashing ashore on the beaches of Normandy

  • kalista63

    Republicans fought, organised republicans, in WWI. Its our’s, Sinn Fein’s as much as it belongs to anyone, insomuch as it belongs to anyone.

  • kalista63

    The flags of the regiments republicans joined flying on the Shankill and in Rathcoole?

  • Turgon

    Clearly it is utterly wrong that your relative was murdered. I and all right thinking people should and would condemn it utterly.

    However, the RUC which colluded with the Shankill Butchers? That being the RUC which investigated, caught and brought them to justice. Awful and unequalable though you loss is to claim that the RUC colluded with them is simply incorrect. You do a grave disservice to the memory of Detective Chief Inspector James Nesbitt and his team.

  • barnshee

    An excuse to wave the murder shroud flag and try to legitimise-it by assocaition with WWI (and II)– it won`t work

  • peepoday

    Lets not forget the sacrifice made by Irishmen, both unionist and nationalist,during this terrible war.It is fitting that all of us remember, free speech has a high price.

  • kalista63

    Watch the programme. The claim came form an ex cop. Its on Youtube

  • Turgon

    Right so a claim on a television programme from an ex police officer versus the known fact that Nesbitt and his team investigated the Shankill Butchers, gained the evidence, arrested them, charged them and helped ensure their long (entirely appropriate) gaol sentences.

    Or are you denying that Nesbitt’s team did the above in catching the Shankill Butchers?

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Null points Kal.

  • anne

    whatever you like kalista!!

  • Gopher

    Some further research and my cynicism is rewarded. It was an event organized by a EU “funded” group and not the Royal British Legion. Interestingly attendance and non attendance of this and future commemorations is turned into a political points scoring exercise. Basically the whole thing had naff all to do with reconciliation. I have to admit the standard of journalism is in a death spiral in this part of the world.

  • anne

    “The reality is that if republicans want reconciliation they could start by making an unreserved and unequivocal apology, then listen for a long time and then apologise again”.

    Here you are Turgon – your attitude explained for you. Just so everyone understands where you’re coming from!!!

    “besides complacent moral superiority a guilt factor underlines the insatiable demands of “sack-cloth and ashes” from the NI Unionist population. Since every communication is perceived as symmetric (for or against/good vs. bad etc.), NI Unionist institutions or organisations communicate via “guilt” and are locked into in a “guilt-loop”.https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/unionist-rules/

  • anne

    Was there a decade when the RUC and B Specials weren’t assaulting and murdering Catholics?

    Don’t think so Kalista but you can check it out here https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/hallmarks-of-orange-loyalism-then-1795-and-now-then-2013/

    The late Andrew Boyd’s Holy War in Belfast is also worth looking at

  • anne

    your personal family background is irrelevant except insofar as you believe it absolves yourself of belonging to the majority of unionists who ignored WWII.
    Do you know how catholic veterans were treated after WWI and WWII when they were demobbed to NI?
    have a look here https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/catholic-ex-servicemen-dont-count/

  • anne

    link? gopher ? on the lines of pics or it didn’t happen!!!

    In any case if ” It was an event organized by a EU “funded” group” why had “the whole thing had naff all to do with reconciliation”?

    isn’t/wasn’t the EU making serious funding available for reconciliation?

  • Gopher

    I’m not sure a Mass is a Mass unless an ordained priest celebrates it. If a EU “funded” yahoo takes it, its not a Mass. A Rememberance event is not a Rememberance event unless the Royal British Legion are involved. You know like those Orange Order commemerations of WWI or II they dont count either. just like our EU “funded” group.. Nice opportunity to justify your wages, Nice opportunity to have the DUP standing beside a tricolour if of course they did not “smoke” the “photo bomb” and tactfully have prior engagements. Nice opportunity to criticize the DUP for not turning up, a nice opportunity to welcome the mayor to take part in a “proper” rememberance event. All in all like I say naff all to do with reconcilliation.

  • Robin Keogh

    I never did any of the above, that’s all in your head. Turgon, what sort of actions or words do u think Unionism might initiate in order to further the cause of reconciliation?

  • Robin Keogh

    I get where u are coming from, my own gran was shot at by the black and tans as a teenager because she was out after curfew. We all have some experience of the difficulties of the past. And i could not agree with u more, the past will always hold us back, the future offers goodies for all if we can learn to move forward.

  • Turgon

    Except of course the moral superiority is entirely legitimate though it is not the preserve of those unionists who opposed terrorism. Rather it is the preserve of all those of both communities and none who opposed terrorism.

    Those, the vast majority of the people of Northern Ireland / North of Ireland / Ulster (call it what you will), are in this case vastly morally superior to the terrorists. Get down into the gutter with the Shankill Butchers, Loughinisland killers or Enniskillen bombers, Kingsmills killers by all means. The vast majority of all our peoples reject being tarred with that brush and will not whitewash the thuggery and murder of the past.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Annie for making this important point and for the link. Another ingrained myth that needs to be seriously re-appraised claims that the 36th Ulster Division was entirely composed of UVF members. This was far from the case, with many battalions getting only half the men they actually required, others from the seed UVF formations holding back just as their children would do in WWII also. In the event, the 1914 battalions were made up from serious local recruitment efforts from outside of the UVF. Although the local Irish Volunteers as a group tended to join the Connaught Rangers, a sizeable number still joined the 36th Division battalions, alongside protestants they knew, although there were efforts to discourage Catholic recruitment in a few situations. However, after the Somme a good number of the new replacement volunteers were Catholic and few seemed to complain then. Some of this is documented in Tim Bowman’s “Carson’s Army.”:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carsons-Army-Ulster-Volunteer-1910-22-x/dp/0719073723/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434350826&sr=8-1&keywords=Carson%27s+army

    Regarding the woeful recruitment locally in WWII, as child I remember standing with my family at the 11th November commemorations, and having Unionist politicians who had conspicuously avoided service pointed out to me as they laid wreaths. Their example was widely followed. My grandfather, a decorated soldier who had been in 107th Trench Mortars on the Somme and at Wytschaete (I never heard any local old soldier ever use “Messines”) and beyond, was particularly incensed at the great numbers of those who had shirked service now claiming some share in the labours of those who had served in both wars simply because they were”culturally protestant”. He had also been very active along with Jack Beattie (google him) in finding work for ex-service men both Catholic and protestant during the lean 1920s. Your link brings back stories I heard from him about the ugly sectarian treatment of many of those Catholics who had served in the forces in both wars.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    In reply to Annie above,kalista63, I’ve attempted to show just how weak a hand the old UVF/36th Division canard really is. Tim Bowman’s researches (“Carson’s Army”) clearly show that the direct link between the Ulster Division and the UVF is grossly overstated in the rather mythic version of events that has grown up over the past hundred years.

  • Reader

    That wouldn’t be reciprocal. WW1 remembrance commemorates both unionists and nationalists who served in WW1. Republican remembrance only ever commemorates nationalists. Check out the speeches.
    But if you can find a symmetrical situation, let us know.

  • barnshee

    Dreadful people these protestants –attack them and they have the temerity to retaliate –dreadful

  • Robin Keogh

    What u suggest is a one sided effort which will never run. Apologies are a part of the reconciliation effort for sure but it needs to be a collective effort with all sides of the conflict involved. In the meantime, efforts such as messines commemoration in Derry bringing both sides together under both flags is as good a starting point as any. You will never get sack cloth and ashes Turgon.

  • John Collins

    So you claim that kicking a six month child and then pouring petrol over her and burning her (shades of loyalism’s lovely treatment of the Quinn children) is something loyalists should be proud of. These were no better than republican murderers and no attempt should be made to sanitise their odious conduct. It could be said that the IRA had no better recruiting officers that the corresponding monsters on the ‘other’ side

  • barnshee

    “So you claim that kicking a six month child and then pouring petrol over her and burning her (shades of loyalism’s lovely treatment of the Quinn children) is something loyalists should be proud of”

    Nothing at all to be” proud of ” simply the facts –violence begats violence as day follows night

  • kalista63

    Yeah. I don’t know if it’s available on audio but I recall Eamonn Pheonix making that same point about the 36th, that it was far from exclusively UVF or even
    close. It was broadcast during the centenary period, a couple of years ago.

  • kalista63

    Loyalist violence begat loyalist violence?

    Interesting.

  • kalista63

    Thanks for that” my dad told me about the hassle he and his friends would get from the peelers because they were carrying hurls. It was like time travel when the PSNI were doing the same thing recently.

    I once found a link regarding Catholics who were killed by the police in the years after partition. As I recall, it might have been by Jimmy (Samus) Graham. It was strange how often a revolver just went off by itself and a bullet just happened to kill someone. Of course, this nonsense was accepted by the court.

  • John Collins

    And Loyalists never started the violence. What about Gusty Spence and his friends in 1966 or shooting an 85 year old unarmed man drinking a pint in Loughlinisland? These were all cowardly murdering thugs whatever side they came from and we should not shy away from describing them thus. The mobs that hunted 8,000 workers out of their jobs in Belfast, including over a thousand ex service men, have also a lot to answer for as that is hardly the way to promote cross community respect.

  • kalista63

    The nerds on here will put me right but loyalists killed several ex world war service men in sectarian attacks.

    Then there’s how unionists treated OWC’s only VC cross recipient.

  • james

    Interesting
    So when Republicans churn out the old ‘murdering and raping British imperialism’, they are actually including themselves within that?

  • james

    If I may paraphrase an old line: In the history of Ulster, when it is finally written, all the terrorists will have been rendered decent men, and all the decent men will be gone.

  • John Collins

    Don’t worry you have plenty scroungers on your own as shown in the RTE programme COLLUSION this evening.

  • anne

    thanks Seaan – you’ve just backed written reports by oral sources and traditions. Well done

  • Gopher

    I really had to put my own common sense to the test with regards Seaan’s oft repeated comments.So for the sake of objectivity on a subjective board I did some cursory reseach. It seems Seaans Grandfather only knew the Unionist politicians who shirked surprisingly, because I imagined it would be a pre requiste for an Ulster Unionist MP to have had war service after the Second World War. My hunch being thats just the way of the world. Lo and behold every single unionist candidate for parliament in 1950 served in either the first or second world war. In fact the record of Northern Ireland premiers in that field like or loath them stands up pretty well.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I had much of this orally too, anne, and not just from family. When people nowadays try and infer the myths that sustain their current acrimonious polarities back into the early decades of the twentieth century, they simply cannot fit without really serious qualification.

    For anyone interested Tim Bowman (and others) will be speaking at an historical symposium at Trinity, Dublin at the weekend titled “The North Began…..” There look to be some very interesting papers on 1900-1920 in the north:

    http://www.tcd.ie/history/thenorthbegan/

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Every single Unionist councillor in the post war years, Gopher? Every single candidate for Stormont and Westminster? And does this record of MPs with war service continue right through into the 1960s? My own recollections date from the 1960s and by that time the balance had shifted strongly to those who seemingly believed in Irish neutrality. I’d have been surprised if the 1950 candidates did not have a majority who served in one or either war in some capacity, but even so I’d value some source for your research that I can check for myself to evaluate what your sources are actually saying. And I’d never questioned that (other than John Miller Andrews) the PMs of NI serviced in both wars. Sir James Craig served in the Boer war and was in khaki during WWI (four of his brothers served in WWI) even if he adorned the benches at Westminster rather than the mud of Flanders. Brookborough served in the trenches at the begining of WWI even if he was offered a Chateau posting as ADC to Byng in May, 1915. Captain Terence (“Lundy”) O’Neill and his family have the strongest service record. His father Capt, Arthur O’Neill was killed in action in November 1914 and the son saw some very active service in the Irish Gurads in WWII. Two of his brothers died in that war.

    Now, I know what I was told, and not only within my family. Major Bob Hynds (google him) was a most staunch Unionist but with a similarly scathing wit about the shirkers in hs own party, including the shirkers in uniform. He was a ranker who became a decorated officer in WWII. Simply being in blue or khaki is not a final test in itself of a mans value in the opinion of old soldiers who had been at the hard end.

    And I still hold out the challenge for anyone to find any great number of “patriots” at Stormont today or amongst those representing NI at Westminster who have either professional military service in the armed forces (not the Ulster Defence Regiment, please), or have family from a few generations back who served as did O’Neill’s family. Danny Kinahan is one notable exception, a man who has served in the armed forces and whose fine generosity of spirit puts to shame most of those other politicians of whatever hue in the Wee Six today.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Its been well known by anyone who actually researched the Ulster Division but Tim’s book and his essays on the subject are serious “chapter and verse” on all of this, something that takes proofs well out of the anecdotal. Next time I meet Eamonn, I’ll ask him about it all. We’re both active in the field of “F.J, Bigger” research.

  • Gopher

    The source being spending a few minutes of my time looking at the bio of each. Some actuallly were quite interesting a RFC officer who became a reverend, an inteligence officer who worked on the evidence of Katyn Wood massacre. Like I say I wanted to test my common sense and the blanket assertion which you now admit it might just be councilors.

    Dont know why UDR service dont count in your eyes as the risk of death or serious injury was much greater than serving in the regular forces during this period. Perhaps because numerous unionist poiliticians did serve and it does not fit with your arguement.

    I dont know how lack of service of ones ancestors can reflect on today. Your Grandfather (Should I asked for a link?) actions are your Grandfathers not yours. It would be non sensical to judge a nationalist politician on his ancestors if they were in the IRA today just as the criteria you are trying to impose on unionist ones is bloody stupid.

    Off course I find it nauseating when unionist politicians abuse remeberance etc (and at times they do) but that is their actions and the mugs that dress themselves up in it not the wider community who despise this as much as anyone else.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Bless you, Gopher, I’m simply repeating what I heard from old soldiers expressing their contempt for politicians of all hues, even those who wore khaki to the Commons while others wore it to fight. And it was certainly not just councillors whose sudden discovery of a belief in Irish neutrality in the early 1940s prevented them from serving, not by a long shot. And please remember, its not the Unionists (along with some “nationalists”) with excellent war service that I’m critiquing, its those who avoided service in both wars. I do not see what the fine service of others does to diminish their hypocrisy, quite the opposite!

    When current politicians politically appropriate the actions of others I feel it’s perfectly legitimate to question their family credentials. Lord Bannside was very much a case in point, and the DUP in general. I’m very interested in how many of them may have had ancestors in either war. Anyone stridently claiming Britishness should at the very least be able to make a fist of this little test. I make no claims of any great personal virtue from my grandfathers service (107th Trench mortars, incidentally, few enough officers to choose from) but I do feel that his opinions and those of his peers in both wars are significant as we enter a year in which the Somme will loom large, and will engage many contemporary politicians in attempts to bask in the reflected glory of “the men who really did the job”.

    Your own research looks interesting and certainly very publishable. Please put something together and perhaps either try the “Irish Sword” or at the very least some website, perhaps even Slugger. Its the very thing Unionism needs to highlight, something actually positive instead of an endless culture off complaint. But regarding your claim “In fact the record of Northern Ireland premiers in that field like or loath them stands up pretty well” while the wars certainly found three of them in Khaki, as I’ve described at a little more length above, I look in vain through Appx II of Cyril Falls rather boring book on the 36th. Div to find any actual decorations worth noting……not that I would ever claim that many Unionist politicians from the inter war years there, but few in the inner circles.

    Oh, and I entirely agree with your last paragraph, but then I would. And as you say above “A Rememberance event is not a Rememberance event unless the Royal British Legion are involved.” I’d go further and feel that only those in the Legion have any serious “claim” on such events, everyone else is a spectator.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh Gopher, I forgot to ask, did you simply check the Westminster MPs of 1950 or work your way through the entire Stormont contingent? I note from my quick check that musical chairs among the Westminster crowd has ensured by the 1964 that most of the new Unionist MPs all seem to have been born in the 1920/30s and it is instructive to cursorily check their family histories. Delve deeper……….

  • barnshee

    Get the stats out then—- the right of the prods to avoid the fate of their co religionists has been under attack for 100,s of years murder them and they reply in kind —- the penny will eventually drop

  • barnshee

    Yea republic murder gangs 1640 _2015 provide a good reason for prod response

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Gopher, “I really had to put my own common sense to the test.”

    Checking through:

    http://www.election.demon.co.uk/stormont/biographies.html

    and looking for members who stood successfully at the 1945/1949/1953 elections I find amongst those who took the Unionist whip, having only reached the “B”s

    Robert Brown Alexander
    John Edgar Bailey
    Thomas Bailie
    James Brown

    I exclude those who were “too old”, and certainly far too important, to effectively serve:

    Rt. Hon. Sir John Milne Barbour, Bt.
    Sir Richard Dawson Bates
    Rt. Hon. Arthur Black

    I’ll coming this wet morning from what I can find on the net, but am going into the McClay later, so can perhaps check them out in some greater depth. But none of these men mentioned above served in either war, and I’ve not so far started examining into either the “c”s onwards or looked at the 1960s, where a number of new “under B” Unionists appear who could have served in WWII and did not.

    So your limiting your examination to “every single unionist candidate for parliament in 1950”, using the Westminster election only, leaves out many of those local Stormont MPs I’d have seen at the local Commemorations and accordingly with you I can now say in turn, “some further research and my cynicism is rewarded.”

    And it would be perhaps highly instructive to start looking at the local councillors also, especially to see how many may have had UVF membership, but did not serve in either war. A can of worms……….

  • submariner

    And yet again we see the unionist myth that unionist violence was reactive. It was unionists who introduced the gun into modern Irish politics. It was also unionist who committed the first murders of the recent troubles,planted the first bombs and murdered the first policeman. Unionist terror was never reactive and its not all themmuns fault.

  • barnshee

    “And yet again we see the unionist myth that unionist violence was reactive. It was unionists who introduced the gun into modern Irish politics”

    And (amongst others) 1640 1787 /8 the continuous attacks on prod separation (1920 to date ) never happened?

  • submariner

    The first world war had nothing to do with free speech.