In dealing with the past, both the state and its legal critics should stop playing games

 “The UK is still in breach of international law for failing properly to investigate unresolved killings, especially and most controversially where state agents might have been involved”.

So  states Brian Gormally the director fo the legal lobby group the Committee on the Administration of Justice, quoting the UN Committee on human Rights, No doubt Nuala O’Loan agrees.

The UK government does not take kindly to lectures from this committee. More potent pressure may come from the “ hooded men” case against the UK government brought  by the Irish government for allegedly misleading the Strasbourg Human Rights court over the five interrogation techniques used after internment in 1971. It’s now claimed they amounted to torture and not merely the “ill treatment “ admitted in the Compton and Parker reports. This could have serious implications for the British government’s reputation and it’s moral authority to criticise other regimes.

Legal activists pin their hopes on the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement which contains the pregnant little sentence

“37.The UK Government makes clear that it will make full disclosure to the HIU (Historic Investigations Unit).”

On the face of it,  that sounds hopeful until a cynical thought intervenes. There is real doubt about what the files will yield up. That presumably is one reason why the pressure continues for full inquiry into Finucane  and the Ballymurphy killings. There is no sign of budging there.  At best most results are years away.  In the meantime the British government seems prepared to grin and bear the criticism which also comes , note, from their new best friends the Irish government.

Far better than a realpolitik calculation to the point of exhaustion over the long drawn out and uncertain nature of legal process would be some disclosure of policy and leadership roles. Legal process is unlikely to deliver for those who were middle aged at the height of the Troubles –and all the more so if the files don’t have much of a story to tell. This is now a process which has become more about history than helping victims and survivors and it is disingenuous to deny it. I suspect the CAJ and their transitional justice colleagues know this full well but are going through the process, as lawyers do.

There is to some extent a counter case, that the State during the Troubles could not deal  with insurgency and communal violence on such a scale only through normal criminal procedures which require an atrocity to happen and then diligently conduct a criminal inquiry into it. Lawyers need to concede some validity to emergency action to be taken seriously across the divide and within the British establishment. They are proving quite easy for the government to brush off.   Attempts  at pre- emption were necessary and inevitable, whatever the legal risks. This was the implication in many verdicts of the Diplock courts, which were generally accepted, however reluctantly. The UK government should have the courage to make the case properly and not hide behind legal technicalities. And let an honest debate begin at last.

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  • chrisjones2

    “The UK is still in breach of international law for failing properly to investigate unresolved killings, especially and most controversially where state agents might have been involved”.

    ….but what do we do when those elected to the Assembly are directly or indirectly involved or parties have been given secret pardons or get our of gaol free cards by a former PM??

  • Simian Droog

    “There is to some extent a counter case, that the State during the Troubles could not deal with insurgency and communal violence on such a scale only through normal criminal procedures which require an atrocity to happen and then diligently conduct a criminal inquiry into it.”

    If that’s your argument, then there would have been a case for the State to treat loyalist suspects in similarly awful ways. They didn’t.

    This site is ridiculous, may as well change the tagline to “Politics and conversation, but mostly a grand aul bit of Unionist revisionism”

  • Turgon

    Important also to note that the UN human rights reports makes the following recommendation:

    Ensure, as a matter of particular urgency, that independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigations, including those proposed under the Stormont House Agreement, are conducted to ensure a full, transparent and credible account of the circumstances surrounding events in Northern Ireland with a view to identifying, prosecuting and punishing perpetrators of human rights violations, in particular the right to life, and providing appropriate remedies for victims

    That would of course include those who committed most of the unsolved murders of the Troubles: one might suggest names like Frank Hegarty or Joanne Mathers as cases worth investigating with a view to prosecution and punishing the perpetrators.

  • Redstar2014

    To be fair when it came to legal process and lawyers themselves, the state did indeed approach an abnormal situation with a particularly abnormal response- it had lawyers murdered ( Finucane )

  • Redstar2014

    You are indeed correct but after you have been on this site for a while you will learn we are not meant to take Brian too seriously

  • Zig70

    I’ve no interest in lining the pockets of lawyers when people will believe their own truths anyway.

  • Mister_Joe

    The problem, as ever, is that if there were to be a “Truth and Reconciliation” type of enquiry is that S.F. want it to be only a 50% enquiry. That is just not on; it’s all or nothing.

  • Robin Keogh

    SF agreed to the independent Haas proposals and have called for an independent truth and reconciliation commission.

  • Robin Keogh

    you get over it

  • Janos Bingham

    ‘Nail on the head’ Joe as they say in these parts.

    Despite full protection afforded by the Saville Inquiry Martin McGuinness would not give evidence about IRA activities. As I recall he cited “IRA honour” as his oxymoronic pleading the ‘5th’.

    Again at the Smithwick Tribunal the IRA were, shall we say, less than forthcoming.

    Of course Gerry Adams’ vile comments following the publication of the Smithwick report showed both his contempt for the victims and for the truth.

    However given the iconic status of Bloody Sunday for society, especially nationalists, we could have hoped that the IRA would have shown a degree more compassion for those victims’ families.

    It’s like that horse and water thing. You can bring Sinn Fein and its IRA wing to a tribunal/inquiry/commission (and they may even trot there willingly) but you won’t make them say much.

  • Redstar2014

    And what makes you think for a second that the British will be forthcoming in their admissions re all their murders and dirty dealings?

  • Nevin

    You do a fine line in irony, Robin!

  • Janos Bingham

    I have no idea what the future holds – one of the many reasons I don’t play the lottery.

    Yet I would hazard that the state, and indeed the Irish state too, may withhold evidence on the grounds of national security. Living in the real world as I do I can understand that in particular the British state, facing contemporary terrorist threats, both domestic and international, may wish to protect aspects of security modus operandi.

    The recovery of several nationalist terrorist bombs and weaponry over the past few days underlines my point.

    But when it comes to the IRA what can be the concern?

    We are often told that they have now ‘gone away ye know’. So, given that any process will most probably protect witnesses from prosecution, they can have nothing that needs protection in this modern era of the ‘Peace Process’. Can they?

    However Saville and Smithwick, ‘two strikes’ already, strongly suggests that Sinn Fein and its IRA remain ‘out’ on this subject.

  • Mister_Joe

    Was it Gerry Adams who called for that, you know, the Gerry Adams who was never in the PIRA.

  • Redstar2014

    Love it!!! You accuse one side of not stepping up to the plate and coming clean re the murder and mayhem they carried out- yet when it comes to the murders and mayhem by the British its ” errm, they can withhold the info on “security” grounds- Classic!!!

  • Robin Keogh

    I am not sure. Unless of course you are referring to the Gerry Adams who has the same history now as he did in 1998 when unionist negotiated a political deal with him despite all his supposed sins of the past.

  • Mister_Joe

    Straw man alert. I was talking about truth telling.

  • Robin Keogh

    Failure

  • Janos Bingham

    Being purposefully obtuse, and focusing on whataboutery as you have, I’ll just take it that you are incapable of engaging in meaningful debate.

  • Redstar2014

    Lol. You are solely the one engaged in whataboutery and a one sided view. What you accuse SF of is EXACTLY the same as what the British are guilty of

  • PeterBrown

    Try saying that into the mirror then Robin assuming that you are not going to take the party line as outlined above that only one side of the coin should be examined.

  • PeterBrown

    That’s not lawyers that’s a lawyer who is believed to have been an active member of the republican movement – add in Rosemary Nelson and you have 2 lawyers killed by loyalists and then compare that to republicans and see whose response was more abnormal…

  • NotNowJohnny

    There will be no truth from a commission. Only versions of truth. Versions which are just as likely to be rejected as accepted. And we don’t need a commission to provide reconciliation. Reconciliation can start now. The truth is that some want a commission but not for the purposes of truth or reconciliation. Which is probably just as well as it is unlikely to deliver either.

  • Robin Keogh

    The problem for the British state is that its own Citizens (those it is supposed to protect) are challenging them officially to answer questions regarding the alleged murder of citizerns by way of collusion. Its an inescapable quandry and not comparable to the situation regarding victims who suffered at the hands of others. The legal state has astructure, framework, historical records, officials in charge etc. In other words the state has an operational recourse facility within its structures that citizens have paid for through votes and taxes.

    The state also has a legal procedure to deal with those deemed as offenders against the state or the person. it is called the judicial system. Therefore if anyone should have information that can lead to arrest and prosecution, society is at the mercy of the willingness of such people to come forward. Simply believing or hoping such people exist is futile. Unless you can pinpoint and prove individuals are culpable then there is no avenue of redress. This is not the fault of Sinn fein who have offered to engage as part of a collective with a truth and reconciliation process. However, the british Governemnt and Unionists have refused time and again.

    British citizens have a right to hold their governemnt to account and fight for discovery through the states legal processes.

  • Mister_Joe

    Disingenuousity seems to have no bounds.
    McGuinness at least did admit to a once membership of the PIRA and hasn’t suffered because of it. Now, if only his main buddy were to be so honest, perhaps we might get a start to the “TRUTH”.
    Incidentally, I believe that the “real” roles have been reversed. McGuinness is the actual leader of S.F. and Adams is his underling. That’s why McGuinness is DFM and the other guy has scurried off to another jurisdiction. Perhaps he is unaware that the inability to extradite if the accused offence is “political” no longer applies.

  • Redstar2014

    Ah yes, the State assisting in murdering lawyers. No where else on earth- save a few other tinpot regimes like the failed Stormont one- would accept it was ok for the State to murder lawyers

  • Redstar2014

    And when Mister Joe do you reckon your lily white British state is going to own up in full regarding the murders it committed? Your own PM has admitted they worked hand in hand supplying the UDA with info to murder innocent Catholics. In any other decent nation on the planet there would be resignations, prosecutions etc at the very highest level. But here, well it was only Catholics And that’s acceptable to you???

  • PeterBrown

    Nowhere else in the world is it accepted that it was OK for anyone to murder lawyers or indeed anyone else never mind the state Redstar in case you missed my point the first time

  • PeterBrown

    Robin

    To decipher your Connolly House press release style statement – there were rules for the Brits, they broke them, should confess all in public in sackcloth and ashes and should be hung out to dry. Ignoring international and indeed local laws there were no rules for us so everyone can ignore everything we did and we can continue to have selective amnesia about it.

    Redstar perhaps Republicans should take the log out of their own eye before pointing out the splinter/ stick which is undeniably in the eye of the British state?

  • Mister_Joe

    I don’t know what to say to that little rant. I have never said that the UK state is lily white, nor do I believe that.

  • gendjinn

    “There is to some extent a counter case, that the State during the
    Troubles could not deal with insurgency and communal violence on such a
    scale only through normal criminal procedures…”

    And now that the stench of proof of British terrorism in Ireland reaches high heaven, we see the first green shoots of defense of that terrorism as necessary. It wasn’t enough for you to refuse to cover British criminal acts during the Troubles, now you’re advancing justifications for terrorism.

    Good on ya Brian, true blue to the core.

  • John Collins

    And Ken McGinnis, when a Unionist MP, stated in a recent TV programme that he supplied the names of 3 three men, he heard were suspected of been IRA men, to Mrs Thatcher and were shot by BA a few das later

  • PeterBrown

    Shot dead a few days later (too soon for the incident to be in response to anything Ken Maginnis said) whilst they thought they were themselves about to ambush what they mistakenly presumed to be a lone off duty UDR man in distress armed with no more than his sidearm personal protection weapon against three of them all armed with automatic long arms – that’s hardly shoot to kill or collusion, it is as the current MP for the area Francie Molloy termed the Mull of Kintyre crash “poetic justice” and in no way anything less than lily white.

    The only tragedy given their alleged involvement in the Ballygawley bomb which was just as cowardly and unlawful under domestic and international law as their ill fated final ambush was that they were alive long enough to carry out previous attacks – and before I am accused of being partisan I would say the same about Brian Robinson and loyalists killed on active service (terrorist double speak for criminal activities). It never ceases to amaze me that the operation they thought they were on was a glorious and courageous act but when they got a taste of their own medicine their brothers in arms cry foul and claim the rules they themselves were flouting are being bent or broken….

  • PeterBrown

    Still waiting for a response to this one Redstar or do you not have one (you have contributed elsewhere to this thread in the interim)?

  • PeterBrown

    Those who broke the law whether they be security forces or terrorists are all equally culpable – whether you have sworn to uphold the law or not if you commit murder and it is unforgiveable. The law of murder is not a British imposition on the people of Northern Ireland which did not need to be observed if you opposed the foreign power, it is a universally abhorrent act.
    Terrorists who choose not to abide by the laws of war forfeit the right to be called soldiers and those who choose not to observe the internationally accepted laws which govern armed insurrections lose the right to be called freedom fighters and all become what some of the security forces became – common criminals.
    The absence of any coherent response to the posts above about the double standards applied to the security forces and to terrorists for example in relation to shoot to kill should tell you all you need to know about the ability of their apologists to defend the indefensible when confronted with the facts as opposed to revisionist fairy tales. Once again they become I R(an) A(way)….their loyalist counterparts frankly have an even harder time defending a position of defenders of their community when their policy was almost invariably any catholic will do….
    So actually I see no disparity of culpability just a disparity of killing…

  • PeterBrown

    You whole framework for this assumption appears to be based on the fact that the use of violence was justified by “discrimination to a degree which leaves them with little option other than to acquiesce or rebel”.
    Of course what actually happened was a peaceful and non violent civil rights movement was overtaken by a violent campaign that significantly never claimed to be about rights but was always about seeking reunification irrespective of the rights and wishes of the majority of the population then and now. it should be noted that this campaign did not cease even when any discrimination did. You appear to be a bigger fan of Malcolm X than Martin Luther King which I suspect leaves you and not me in the minority and needing to think again…

  • PeterBrown

    The first fact is true in the first attacks and indeed the first murders of the Troubles were carried out by loyalists (though the Battle of the Bogside was is not the start and to the best of my knowledge the role of the RUC in the first loyalist violence was nil). The rest are facts and I would add that the first police woman to be killed was also killed by so called loyalists. I’ll defer to you on these issues which happened before I was even born….

    These three facts and my fourth contribution do not change the facts of the statistics about who is responsible for each of the deaths during the Troubles, that none of those deaths were inevitable or justified and the fact which I stated above and which you have consciously or unconsciously ignored – that Republicanism was never about civil rights and therefore continued after these were achieved within a few years of the start of the Troubles – to claim that they were is at best disingenuous and at worst downright dishonest…

  • John Collins

    Well Ken openly stated that his input was the catalyst in a TV programme recently

  • PeterBrown

    He would say that but I’m sure the SAS did not target individuals purely at the request of Ken Maginnis (who in a book I once read was described by a British Army office to think that every other person in Tyrone was an active member of the IRA and therefore not taken seriously at all). Even if that was the case their deaths occurred 10 days after the Ballygawley bus bomb which he also referenced in the programme and if you think this incident was planned and executed inside 10 days assuming Ken spoke to Thatcher the next day you are even more deluded about that than you are about the fact that anyone Ken named was targeted.

    I find it more interesting you have either not got the ability or the inclination to tackle any of my other points about this incident…..

  • John Collins

    Well Peter I was 18 in ’68 and I feel some dreadful mistakes were made by what one might call the Establishment and Loyalism in relation to the troubles
    (1) The brutal reaction of the RUC to a Civil Rights March in Derry in October 68. This was televised all over the World and the sight of uniformed policemen baton charging unarmed protesters certainly struck a chord. I can still visualise one aged policemen with spittle down the front of his uniform wading into protestors.
    (2) The election of Paisley to Parliament around this time, despite the fact that police reports, quoted by Terence O’Neill in Stormont, identified him as being associated with the UVF, who murdered Catholics as early as ’66 and blew up electrical installations on both sides of the border and blamed in on nationalists with the sole intention of creating trouble in NI. (Sadly they only succeeded too well). Now we have the other side of the coin with McGuinness being democratically elected despite his violent history.
    (3) The fact that RUC and USC stood by and allowed Catholics to be burned out of their homes in Belfast in 1970
    (4) Bloody Sunday was bad, the outcome of the so called inquiry that followed disastrous
    (5) The constant announcement of the fact, for years, that the IRA were beaten, during periods of relative quite. This inevitably led to some spectacular or other being performed, as a form of rebuttal, as one might say.
    (6) The refusal of the GB authorities to accept their mistakes in high profile miscarriage of Justice cases involving Irish people. Worse still when they did some clown said any time spent wrongly in prison over ten years did not merit any consideration for compensation purposes
    Basically if they were trying to recruit people to the IRA they could hardly go about it better.
    Let me say finally that I feel that all terrorists on both sides of the divide were nothing but murderous thugs.

  • PeterBrown

    John

    1-4 Are all 1972 or before and I have conceded that based on what I read rather than what I experienced maybe everything in NI wasn’t perfect. Having said that the Republican campaign was more about civil war than civil rights

    5 is one of the most unique statements I have ever seen about the Troubles – atrocities (or spectaculars) as you call them were a response to being told you were defeated so those who made that statement are at least partly responsible is like something Billy Wright would have come out with

    6 seems to refer to cases where confessions were signed in a time before audio recording and subsequently through forensic advances they were shown to not to have been obtained lawfully whereupon those involved were released alive after sometimes significant periods of incarceration and all who were entitled to it received compensation for that (contrast with those who experienced the courts of the terrorist groups – I see Kenny Donaldson is asking Amnesty to and I would add the CAJ to that).

    You left our the Hunger Strikes which is possibly the most obvious recruitment tool and given recent revelations about that period it appears that those involved have their colleagues to blame rather than the government for needlessly killing themselves.

    I don’t take issue with much of what you say and share your view about terrorists but was merely pointing out to AI that there is scant evidence that the IRA campaign was about civil rights and righting past wrongs…unless you include partition…

  • PeterBrown

    That result was brought about in 1974 before I was born and in 1982 when I was still at primary school – it was only a combination of war weariness on the part of the republican leadership and British government, more effective anti terrorist countermeasures, the exporting of terrorism to GB by republicans and possibly though I hate to give them any credit to republican areas by loyalists that brought about the endgame 24 years / 16 years and immeasurable grief and heartache later. An attempt to bomb and shoot NI into RoI against the will of the majority of the population was never justified….

  • John Collins

    Peter
    Generally I agree that the IRA were not about achieving Civil Rights. However I think you rationalise the savage injustices perpetrated on the likes of the Birmingham Six too easily and the conclusion that periods spent wrongly in prison over ten years were not subject to any compensation was truly breathtakingly mean spirited. If one has to minimise these injustices by comparing how a group of ruthless criminals might have mistreated their prisoners to how these people were treated at the hands of a so-called civilised justice system one is on shaky ground indeed.
    Finally I actually left out the biggest mistake of all. The failure to intern any Loyalists on the initial internment day

  • PeterBrown

    “Manufacturing an unnatural entity out of a country which had been accepted as a whole by everyone for over a thousand years”

    Ireland has never been a single entity (correct me if I am wrong)…and partition has worked elsewhere and failure to partition has been bodged up – there is no one size fits all solution (check our the now former USSR and Yugoslavia if you want to see how badly the other solution to the double minority problem can work out).

  • PeterBrown

    The same rules applied to ODCs as the system used to refer to them and have been upheld by the courts even beyond the UK in Europe – should they have had special treatment? Besides reverting to why you referred to them in the first place the injustices were not clear until the mid 1980s and by that stage most of the damage was done….

  • PeterBrown

    Ireland is an island (even I will not dispute that) but it has never been one country under one ruler (certainly not by or with the consent of the entire population) prior to the seventeenth century. Ireland has only always been Ireland as an island in the sense that Britain has always been Britain but has managed to accommodate three separate countries on the island so I accept it was and is an Ireland but unless as colony or part of the British Isles it has never been a unified country. Am I wrong about that because if I am not then a united Ireland is a new concept and it is not unionists who are breaking new ground and should be a little (very?) uncomfortable…

    As for partition are you not proposing the very thing you deem the USSR & Yugoslavia were for Ireland? Whereas there are islands all over the world which accommodate different countries sometimes with different races in the different nations without issue – it is usually when different peoples are forced together in the same country that that they tear it apart….

  • PeterBrown

    In answer to your questions:

    Did all the occupants of Ireland/Eire refer to the whole of the country by the same name?

    Probably not – your kingdom appears to be ignore the fact that Ulster for different reasons never really succumbed to the High Kings and indeed maintained close links with their Scottish pictish counterparts (although I do not profess to be an expert on the subject) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A1l_Riata#The_last_century

    Were there different races or were they all Celtic, did they have different religions and cultures or were they the same?

    See above but in short no

    Were they all subject to the same Brehon law?

    See above but in short no

    Was there an agreement, however reluctant it may have been accepted by some of the population that the High King was the overall ruler?

    See above but in short no

    How does that square your circle of Irish national life? The Celts were invaders who drove the picts to Scotland and but they quickly returned to the NE of Ireland and not long after the Normans came to the south east and consequently Ireland as country has never really actually existed…You may not like this but that’s the way it is.

    Unionists will never be former unionists and consequently like the Scots under international law and the Belfast Agreement (who knew you were anti agreement?) they are entitled to self determination and even Republicans accept that they will not be in a minority here any time in the near future….

  • PeterBrown

    I supplied you with a link about the Kingdom of Dalriada and its origins in my last post – the picts or cruithin were in Ulster throughout the Celtic period so Ireland was never homogenously celtic, governed by the high kings or subject to brehon law (not even your link seems to explicitly claim that it was). In short prove I and the sources I have linked to am wrong…

    The Normans were invited at least initially and created the Pale with or without the belssing of the Pope but were motivated by polictics not religion and there always prominenent catholic unionists.

    Finally “NI is an artificial construct which has divided a nation for 93 years and it needs to be returned to it’s rightful owners” is contrary to the Belfast Agreement which is about self determination not forced (re?) unification….

  • John Collins

    If ‘it was clear’ in ‘the mid 1980s’ why did it take until 1991 to release them and then only after savage pressure from abroad and at least one MP stating that he regretted the death penalty was not in operation in 1975, as then they could have executed, on the wrong of course, and nothing more would have been heard of them. Just like the RC Church and Church child abuse the image of the institution was more important than admitting mistakes.
    I doubt very much anyway if it was the mid eighties before the innocence of some of these people became common knowledge. The most vicious shower of bombers ever to attack mainland GB, when apprehended, gave details of many of those bombings to the authorities, that only the perpetrators could have known but nobody listened
    BTW the no compensation over ten years issue has not been addressed. But then I suppose the indefensible cannot be defended.

  • PeterBrown

    The issue of comepensation is a universal one for ODCs too as I have pointed out and whilst not seeking to defend the miscarraiges of justice I would point out that most occurred on the mainland and not at the hands of the RUC – I would also contrast the usually effective criminal justice system with that applied by the terrorists themselves – capital punishment without trail or even representation.

  • PeterBrown

    Thsi presumes that one law is inevitably an indication of one country which of course it is not – contrast Scotland (civil) v England and Wales (common) and numerous other examples where historically one law has fragmented and numerous laws have united, nationhood is about government not law and Ireland has never to date had one government.

  • PeterBrown

    The point about countries is that it really doesn’t matter what and where the forebears of the people in the country originated from providing the people themselves accept that they belong to that country.

    And unionists don’t because they are descended from Britons (who themselves are from various differnt parts of the word) – are you seriously suggesting that French Canadians and the other recognised minorities in the many ethnically diverse countriesaround the world just assimilate as well or are you singling out NI unionists because to take the blinkers off and look at the may other examples of this around the world doesn’t suit this rather stretched “if you live there now no matter where you came from you need to put up or shut up so unionists are totally unreasonable” agenda?

  • PeterBrown

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_Ireland#Assemblies

    “Like Britain, Gaelic Ireland consisted not of one single unified kingdom, but several.”

    If Scotland can have its own laws but be part of the UK or nindeed Great Britain then why merely because gaelic Ireland had a common law does that make it a country if it was amde up of several often warring kingdoms – was it in a state of perpetual civil war even then?

    Where is the evidence for one high king of Ireland other than someoe who had temporarily overcome the rival provincial kings?

    Monarchy is a form of government but it requires one monarch – point me out a country with more than one king….

  • PeterBrown

    Erm we live in thw UK so its the nationalist minority that refuses to use the name of the country they live in whether that be the UK or Northern Ireland (the 6 counties, the north etc…).

    The majority was not gerrymandered by the way – if anything is gerrymandered it is the current Assembly with its qualified majorities and forced coalition.

    And if unionists were unchristian what about republicans more than equal and opposite reactions (remember the Troubles deaths statistsics?).

    If the 2 governments and international law recognise the democratic wish of the country to remain the United Kingdom and not unite for the first time the island of Ireland – the issue for republicans is not civil rights or uniting Ireland in a way that has never happened before it is the removal of the British presence on the isalnd and what concerns unionists is that this cannot be achieved while we remain even if Northern ireland leaves the United Kingdom voluntarily or otherwise

  • PeterBrown

    The isalnd has been known by one name but that does not make it a country any more than North America, Europe or Asia – land masses are not countries!

  • PeterBrown

    I have not said Malaysia is not a country so no need to berate me for something I haven’t actually done (pleas epoint out where I said it was not a country) though I would point out that Malaysia is a consitutional federal monarchy which is very different from your portrayal of the absolute sovreignty of the high kings of gaelic Ireland. Even their wiki entry points out that “While the High Kings’ degree of control varied, Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state” thereby toally undermining your whole argument.

    I said that islands are not the same as countries (unless you are claiming that each and every one of the inner and outer hebrides is a country so just because “the island has been known by one name and one name only for well over a thousand years” it is not necessarily country either…

    So if it had no ruler and no government by what other criteria ither than being an island with a settled name was Ireland ever a unified country?

  • PeterBrown

    Your confirmation for Northern ireland being gerrymandered is a Google search and an article about the history of the BBC – well that’s pretty conclusive! The creation of Northern ireland was with the consent of the government of the then Free State now the Irish Republic – is it not an oxymoron to gerrymander by consent – as for in NI itself “Some geographers and historians, disagree.They have argued that the electoral boundaries for the Parliament of Northern Ireland were not gerrymandered to a greater level than that produced by any single-winner election system, and that the actual number of Nationalist MPs barely changed under the revised system (it went from 12 to 11 and later went back up to 12). So let’s deal in facts not hyperbole….

    Ireland has not ever been anything other than an island – it has as we are discussing above never been a single unified country and like Sinn Fein you are equating catholics with nationalists – you have yet to rebut the point that unionist votes are actually increasing…and under what circumstances would it be favourable to join RoI and not UK which do not already exist? Even Sinn Fein are refusing to put a date on it having got badly burned by predicting 2016 a decade ago, the second coming will be postponed more times than it has been for JWs…

  • PeterBrown

    Except as I have pointed out above it didn’t have a ruler – even the historians accept that as I have quoted and you have strangely ignored Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state (which in laymans terms is effectively saying it was never a single country)

    To claim Ireland was a country united under the High Kings according to their Wiki entry’s description of them as

    “The corpus of early Irish law does not support the existence of such an institution, and scholars now believe it is a pseudohistorical construct of the eighth century AD, a projection into the distant past of a political entity which did not become a reality until the Normans. Rulers like Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid declared themselves as King of All Ireland but such claims did not gain the political support of other kingdoms (i.e. Munster), the Norse and Norse-Gaels and was unable to maintain peace with his own Uí Néill kinsmen. The traditional list of High Kings of Ireland is thus a mixture of fact, legend, fiction, and propaganda. The individuals appearing prior to the fifth century AD are generally considered legendary, and the application of the title to individuals before the ninth century is considered anachronistic.

    The annalists frequently describe later high kings as rígh Érenn co fressabra (“Kings of Ireland with Opposition”), which is a reference to the instability of the kingship of Tara”

    is to put it mildly overstating matters slightly. Perhaps you could deal with this fundamental flaw in the core of your argument isntead of simply ignoring it?

  • PeterBrown

    Let’s take these one by one:

    Malaysia is a modern federal parliamentary democracy with no high king – the analogy with gaelic ireland is of no value whatsoever. England’s joint monarchy might be more appropriate but involved an acknowledgement of the superiority of one throne by the other never present in Ireland, the rapid subsequent merger of those kingdoms and and a further 800 year absolute monarchy which was never present in Ireland.

    An island having one name does not make it a country – that is quite frankly worthy of no further comment (never mind repeating the fallacy of the acceptance of a high king which I have already rebutted despite the fact that no evidence was produced for it). None of the federal governments you refer to were in place in the gaelic times you claim when ireland was one country (most were in fact made up themselves of separate kingdoms and did not emerge as countries for several centuries) and none are currently a monarchy – Ireland has never had a stable universally acknowledged all Ireland government and consequently has never been a country until unified under British rules in the late 16th century. If you have evidence to the contrary other than myths and legends let’s see it (Brehon Law does not make a country if it had numerous different rulers all of whoim claimed to be an absolute king when none of them in fact was!)

  • PeterBrown

    Malaysia’s monarchs – ” the rulers do not participate in the actual governance in their states” – they are not High King(s)…

    A country is a region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated peoples with distinct political characteristics. Regardless of the physical geography, in the modern internationally accepted legal definition as defined by the League of Nations in 1937 and reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, a resident of a country is subject to the independent exercise of legal jurisdiction

    Ireland has never fulfilled this definition – common laws (Scotland v England & Wales) language (Switzerland) land mass (USA v Canada or an island basis Haiti v Dominican Republic) do not define a country a national single head of state is required – Brian Boru subdued the whole of the island for abut a decade before he was killed suppressing a rebellion from those who had only ever reluctantly accepted his authority – to remind you of the quote While the High Kings’ degree of control varied, Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state, as the High King was conceived of as an overlord exercising suzerainty over, and receiving tribute from, the independent kingdoms beneath him. Within a hundred and fifty years of the high point of the high kings – a decade of one king managing fleetingly to keep all the other suppressed simultaneously – the Normans replaced the Vikings as the fly in the ointment of the all island state and so it has remained.

    Occupation by force does not create a state – and that is a bigger problem than unionists (PS the bigotry mask slipped right at the end there – better readjust it)

  • John Collins

    What ‘trial or even representation’ did Pat Finucane or Rosemary Nelson get. Those involved in any way in those murders were no better that the IRA and if anything they were worse, as they had the machinery at their disposal to bring those people to justice if they had any proof of misbehaviour. If defending suspected criminals was a capital offence then a whole of lawyers would have been shot.

  • PeterBrown

    Let
    me make a few (hopefully compared to that rant) relatively rational points –
    Malaysia is a modern parliamentary democracy where the elected and therefore
    acknowledged “high” king is merely head of state not an absolute monarch imposed
    by force and therefore in no way a valid comparison.

    I am not disputing that Ireland has been called the island of Ireland for some time, that its gaelic people shared a common language and law which was almost universal with some exceptions in relation to immigrants and I’ll not dispute that they
    may even have invented surnames – but none of these define them as anything
    other than a race living in a particular place.

    To be a nation or a country is a not only a geographical, legal or cultural issue but is most importantly a political or governance issue -ask the Palestinians and the Kurds for example. The High Kings were not
    ever as far as I can tell as their own Wiki entry concedes acknowledged rulers
    of a unified island – some may have achieved this briefly at the point of a
    sword but if that occupation against the will of the people constitutes a
    country then we are going to have to redraw a lot of modern boundaries. And that
    is the point – Ireland always had internal boundaries until the English swept
    them away and the Irish people found common cause (eventually) in removing the
    English. But they had never found it before
    that…..

  • PeterBrown

    I was not referring to those cases but to the miscarriages of justice – I’m not sure to what extent there was collusion in either of those murders as both were prominent public legal figures who could have been targetted without any help from the security forces.

    Both killings like all the others except terrorists on active service were wrong. Finucane has been alleged to have been an active member of the IRA by a fellow traveller (also subsequently murdered of course) and there has been nothing mroe than innuendo about Nelson (much like the murder which took place yards fromwhere I now live in Ahoghill much of that can be proven to be ill founded which also undermines the rest). The problem is the proof of misbehaviour and everyone who was involved in any way in any murder is equally culpable – no murder is worse than any other just ask the victim’s familes…

  • PeterBrown

    Let me make a few (hopefully compared to that rant) relatively rational points – Malaysia is a modern parliamentary democracy where the elected and therefore
    acknowledged “high” king is merely head of state not an absolute monarch imposed by force and therefore in no way a valid comparison.

    I am not disputing that Ireland has been called the island of Ireland for some time, that its gaelic people shared a common language and law which was almost universal with some exceptions in relation to immigrants and I’ll not dispute that they may even have invented surnames – but none of these define them as anything other than a race living in a particular place.

    To be a nation or a country is a not only a geographical, legal or cultural issue but is most importantly a political or governance issue -ask the Palestinians and the Kurds for example. The High Kings were not ever as far as I can tell as their own Wiki entry concedes acknowledged rulers
    of a unified island – some may have achieved this briefly at the point of a sword but if that occupation against the will of the people constitutes a country then we are going to have to redraw a lot of modern boundaries. And that
    is the point – Ireland always had internal boundaries until the English swept them away and the Irish people found common cause (eventually) in removing the English. But they had never found it before that…..

  • PeterBrown

    AI

    I have already posted numerous times the quotes from the High Kings of Ireland Wikipedia entry which you yourself linked to but here they are again:

    “While the High Kings’ degree of control varied, Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state, as the High King was conceived of as an overlord exercising suzerainty over, and receiving tribute from, the independent kingdoms beneath him”

    “The High King of Ireland was essentially a ceremonial, pseudo-federal overlord (where his over-lordship was even recognised), who exercised actual power only within the realm of which he was actually king. In the case of the southern branch of the Uí Neill, this would have been the Kingdom of Meath (now the counties of Meath, Westmeath and part of County Dublin). High Kings from the northern branch ruled various kingdoms in what eventually became the province of Ulster.”

    Here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Kings_of_Ireland

    it states

    “Rulers like Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid declared themselves as King of All Ireland but such claims did not gain the political support of other kingdoms (i.e. Munster), the Norse and Norse-Gaels and was unable to maintain peace with his own Uí Néill kinsmen. The traditional list of High Kings of Ireland is thus a mixture of fact, legend, fiction, and propaganda. The individuals appearing prior to the fifth century AD are generally considered legendary, and the application of the title to individuals before the ninth century is considered anachronistic.

    The annalists frequently describe later high kings as rígh Érenn co fressabra (“Kings of Ireland with Opposition”), which is a reference to the instability of the kingship of Tara from the death of Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill in 1022. Máel Sechnaill had been overthrown by Brian Boru in 1002, and restored in 1014 following Brian’s death, but the example of Brian’s coup was followed by numerous other families in the century following 1022, and the High Kingship was effectively ended by the Norman quasi-conquest of Ireland in 1171.”

    It also states

    “The whole succession is based on the legend of the rapid and complete subjugation of Ireland by the sons of Milesius. Modern historians do not accept this and prefer to think of the Celtic “conquest” as being more cultural than military and taking place over a period of many centuries rather than in a specific year.

    It is highly unlikely that any High King ever really had absolute power over the entire island.”

    here http://www.heraldry.ws/info/article12.html

    There is consequently no evidence Ireland was ever a single geo political unit until at least the complete English conquest and by this I mean Elizabethan not Norman – prior to this it was a series of individual kingdoms / fiefdoms with no all island entity.

    If I am wrong about this feel free to correct me and post the evidence to refute this otherwise it is your knoweldge of historical facts makes you yet another plastic paddy recounting myths and legends which have as much basis in reality as Finn McCool creating the Giant’s Causeway and the Isle of Man / Lough Neagh…

  • John Collins

    Well I broadly agree but when officers of the court are murdered with the help of the states security forces it is especially bad as it undermines the justice system- it is just a very bad move politically

  • PeterBrown

    Let’s deal with your own definition of the formation of England just below:

    “The English accept that England became a country when the King of Wessex received the oath of loyalty from the King of Northumbria in 829.

    That still left two kings but as one accepted the overall sovereignty of the other it was officially one nation from that point.

    No difference to the High King situation in Ireland which dated from a long time before 829.”

    You now appear to accept that you were incorrect before and that at no point did this happen in Ireland – in other words the point at which England became a country has never happened here in Ireland. When you state in your last post

    “It was divided into provinces which is little different to today’s regions or states.”

    That is simply not true because they were perpetually at war with each other – it is at best disingenuous to draw that parallell

    “It had a High King recognized by the other kings. They combined to fight invaders. No one called the country by more than one name.”

    There was no recognition of the High King by by other kings – that too is at best misleading. England unified with an accepted hierarchy of kingdoms which subsequently unified Ireland never has never had an accepted hierarchy and never unified. Despite the scholarly wisdom that

    “While the High Kings’ degree of control varied, Ireland was never ruled by them as a politically unified state, as the High King was conceived of as an overlord exercising suzerainty over, and receiving tribute from, the independent kingdoms beneath him”

    “The High King of Ireland was essentially a ceremonial, pseudo-federal overlord (where his over-lordship was even recognised), who exercised actual power only within the realm of which he was actually king. In the case of the southern branch of the Uí Neill, this would have been the Kingdom of Meath (now the counties of Meath, Westmeath and part of County Dublin). High Kings from the northern branch ruled various kingdoms in what eventually became the province of Ulster.”

    You now rely on a time lapse video by boofapples to trump this (where Ireland is subdivided into 4 provinces by the way and is green only until 750AD – check your High Kings link to see the status of the High Kings at this time – is up there with fairytales!

    Civil Wars only start when there is a country with a unified government and the country divides along 2 or possibly more lines as to who it should be next – Ireland never has that unified government and when the wars you refer to finished the country was united again (unlike Ireland)

    So I have evidence in the many quotes above – you have the video by boofapples in Beverly Hills. The deabte is indeed over but not because of my intransigence you have just been hoisted on your own petard….

  • PeterBrown

    As bad as officers of the court abusing that position to assist those who seek to overthrow that justice system and murder their fellow officers of the court?

  • John Collins

    Peter is not accurate to say that if there was evidence there to support your contention then Pat Finucane was guilty of what you suggest he should have been prosecuted. Or is it the case that like Thomas A Beckett of old, ‘turbulent’ lawyers,who were a thorn in the side of prosecutors, were fair game to be viciously murdered. I am afraid it wa not just the IRA who were cowards and thugs.

  • PeterBrown
  • PeterBrown

    I’m sorry I didn’t realise that you had the right to stop me contributing – oh wait you don’t!

    The need for a country to be not only a geographical unit but to have a common government is not my own rules it is the accepted definition of a country – you conveniently ignore this because Ireland can only fulfil one of the two prerequisites. Afghanistan fulfils it by having a common government – 7th century Ireland did not and just because Hitchens writes something and you agree with him does not mean it is going to happen at all never mind in my lifetime especially when the number of unionist voters and people who identify themselves as British or Northern Irish in the census is on the rise. Unfortunately you have neither the right nor the ability to prevent me pointing out again as you have ignored it the first time that Ireland has never fufiled your definition of a country – acknowledged common sovreignty. So something which has never been united cannot be reunited…..

  • PeterBrown

    let me try to summarise this AI

    A country is a nation or state according not just to me but to dictionaries and to constitutional law when I studied it decades ago but I suspect it hasn’t changed much if at all. A nation or state has a geographical area and a common government – see for example the Montevideo Convention:

    The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications:

    (a) a permanent population;

    (b) a defined territory;

    (c) government; and

    (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

    The island of Ireland has at no time been totally encompassed in a single defined territory but was made up of a number of defined territories each of which met these criteria but at no time did Ireland as a whole become a nation with a common government. It might have come close at the peak of the High kings but as I have illustrated with numerous quotes at no time has one government king or elected had sovreignty over the entire island of Ireland. Consequently Ireland has at times been made up a number of countries but never one unified country. Please point out where I am wrong calling these facts my opinion without actually contradicting any of them….

  • PeterBrown

    According to this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England the political unification of England came about in the 9th century not the 7th – even your link about Egbert doesn’t support your claim that he created the country of England and the BBC here seems to dispute it by supporting my assertion that only when the kingdoms were united did England become a country here “The various kingdoms set up by Germanic settlers in the 5th-6th centuries were finally united into the Kingdom of England between 927 and 954.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/country_profiles/7327029.stm

    So in fact its you who has been giving an opinion with no support so far when the sources I have just referenced agree with me – England became a country when its kingdoms united which never happened in Ireland.

    I cannot find the primary source of the League of Nations / UN definition though this might help for modern definitions http://www.economist.com/node/15868439 but in the period you want Ireland to be a country it appears that united kingdoms is a prerequisite for England (although not in your opinion) and therefore should be for Ireland too.

    You link is to nation in Wikipedia – try linking to country instead where the definition is as I have stated region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography.

  • PeterBrown

    AI
    Having read that I assume Wiki and the Beeb aren’t giving Egbert the title other than his embarrassing name is because they view the formation as taking place upon unity by consent.
    Ireland never had submission at all and if you can find someone who says it was a country prior to Elizabethan conquest (I’m not even conceding Norman times as they only has the east coast) then I’ll take it on – what I have on my side at the moment is that it meets neither the Egbert (forced submission) nor 927-954 (by consent) criteria applied to England – so if Ireland was England it would never have been a country if you follow my logic despite that being bad news for Dore!

  • PeterBrown

    I was aware of some of that and the link refers to the land not the country – close but no cigar.

    Land and country and clearly 2 different things – I’m not disputing they were all one people but that does not make them all one country (ask the arabs or the slavs and the numerous races then and now who are synonymous with any country or sometimes more than one country.

    There is a certain amount of subjectivity in the judgment as to what makes a country as we can see in the dispute about England but it not a homogenous racial profile…

  • PeterBrown

    We are going round in circles and they aren’t even decreasing or increasing for that matter – I take little issue with your facts (I have yet to see evidence that they all called it Ireland but that is the island not the country) but these facts make those individuals a people not they place they live a country.

    To be a country nowadays you require a place with a common government and it appears from the definition of England as a country whether under Egbert or subsequently that was the catalyst for England becoming a country too – unified government.

    It is indisputable that the island of Ireland first has unified central government in the Elizabethan era and consequently does meet the country test (though its population are equally indisputably a people but with fractured government long before this).

    Frankly the facts you quote are irrelevant because the English had none of them when they became a country – what they had was a king and that was they needed…neither of us is going to be able to produce a quote about it because it is like England decided with 20:20 hindsight but apply your criteria or the BBC’s criteria for England becoming a country to Ireland and its first applicable in the late sixteenth century. There is a certain amount of subjectivity in the test (bias?) but I am happy to be corrected…

  • PeterBrown

    An obscure passing reference from a Greek and Latin classicist referring to the status of the island but to the knowledge of the classics – well I’d better give up despite the fact that you claim England became a country at a time when the kingdoms united and it never happened in Ireland – Google when did Ireland become and the only answer is 1922 – because its so bleedingly obvious?