“Price of peace must not be a psychological amnesia about the past, nor a ‘post- truth rewriting of history…”

I recall our 1st year history teacher telling us in the wake of the bombing of the Abercorn Restaurant in March 1972 how one of her friends had lost a leg. We’d had bombs before, most memorably for me at least, McGurks which went down particularly hard with us.

That year also saw bombs wreak carnage in Aldershot, in Belfast on Bloody Friday and Claudy. In retrospect, there weren’t that many fatal bombings, but their unprecedented scale of human tragedy fed a paranoia that led to 496 fatalities in that Telling Year.

Yet very little of the legacy conversation runs to how we ran from civil rights to what was by any measure a ferocious internecine blood feud. Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Phillip McGarry in the News Letter notes:

It is instructive to note that 30 years ago the IRA and the loyalist paramilitaries were routinely described as ‘ maniacs’, ‘crazy’, ‘blood – thirsty’ or ‘psychopaths’. This was nonsense.

Politically motivated violence/terrorism is by definition mindful; it is designed to achieve a political end. Few paramilitaries are mentally ill; indeed the mentally ill would make highly ineffective paramilitaries.

Of Martin McGuinness…

…always a thoughtful, intelligent strategic thinker who understood that every current generation of physical force nationalists is roundly condemned, by people who simultaneously condone the previous generation who did exactly the same things!

Mr McGuinness illustrated this himself by persistently condemning the ‘New IRA’ as ‘criminals’ for attacking police officera and shooting young men in the legs.

I have been a consultant psychiatrist since 1991, for much of that time in West Belfast. I did see a few patients who had suffered ill treatment by the army and police.

However this was overwhelmingly dwarfed by the number I saw who were shot or beaten by republican paramilitaries, which were – in a truly Orwellian phrase – deemed by the two governments to be ‘on ceasefire’. And we think Donald Trump invented ‘alternative facts’!

It is entirely correct that Northern Ireland, prior to 1969 was in many ways a partially sectarian Protestant state; equally the Republic was a partially sectarian Catholic state.

However, no respectable independent body has ever argued nor could argue that the violence of the loyalists and republicans was a legitimate or remotely proportionate response to those wrongs.

It is deeply regrettable that it took so long for that basic concept to be accepted, and it should have us hanging our heads in shame that we had to endure the Abercorn bar, McGurks bar, Enniskillen, the Greysteel massacre and so many other relentless, tawdry killings over so many years.

We should indeed be thankful that large-scale violence is unlikely ever to return. Two cheers for that. But the price must not be a psychological amnesia about the past, nor a ‘’post- truth’ rewriting of history.

Our young people must not be brought up to believe that the violence was other than totally wrong.

To murder human beings and secretly bury the bodies, to cut a man’s throat because he happens to be a Catholic, to use men as human bombs; these are such obviously foul and cruel deeds that no society can function properly without openly acknowledging and dealing with them.

We should indeed be thankful that large-scale violence is unlikely ever to return. Two cheers for that. But the price must not be a psychological amnesia about the past, nor a ‘’post- truth’ rewriting of history.

Indeed. Lest we forget, here’s James Simmons:

  • Korhomme

    When I referred to ‘neutral’ I meant, as surely you know, the attitudes of medical and nursing staff. Mostly, the neutrality of hospitals was accepted during the ‘troubles’.

  • Gopher

    I am not playing the whataboutary card. I am dealing in facts, Bombing, whether McGurks or the Abercorn bar is not a defensive action. As there were 1300 bombings in 1972 it is quite obvious “offensives” were being waged..

  • johnny lately

    I remember what happened to the other parent who’s daughter shared the same ward as Nigel Dodds son, they were the only two in the ward at that time and shortly after that attack on Nigel that other parent was murdered in his own home in front of his children by the UDA all in full view of a British army watch tower at the bottom of Broadway. That man was John Slane and curiously enough those involved in murdering him were murdered by their own years later.

  • Gopher

    It is one thing to shoot at loyalist mobs in self defence, it is quiite another to engage in the process of a sustained bombing campaign which requires a hell of alot of sinew and a very conscious decision.

  • Granni Trixie

    can you explain away the taking of twins of 15 from St Pats on the Glen Rd, murdering one of them and putting the label tout around his neck? Local people spoke out against it – the family had broken up after their father was murdered by paratroopers in the fortnight of the Ballymurphy Massacres – the original sin.

  • Granni Trixie

    see my example above – how did the murdering of a 15 year old boy do anything but be an exercise in control – it certainly did not help “overthrow the state”.

  • Granni Trixie

    and more like the civil rights (non violent) movement was exploited too.

  • eireanne3

    how did the RUC killing nine-year-old boy, Patrick Rooney, as he lay in bed in one of the flats in Divis Tower help “protect/save the state”?

  • eireanne3

    I don’t think NICRA was exploited – non violent marches were beaten off the streets, the RUC and Loyalists attacked catholic/nationalist ghettoes in London/Derry and Belfast and events took over

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I don’t believe Granni is arguing that it did.

    She asks legitimately why a group determined to overthrow the state/protect the Catholic community (delete as applicable) saw strategic or tactical gain in murdering a teenager .

    It’s a fair enough question and pertinent to the discussion.

    The answer to your question is ‘it didn’t’ and as we all know helped fuel the fire.

    But as we all know that then why ask it and furthermore how is it a suitable rebuttal to Granni’s question?

  • Korhomme

    I found it very depressing, reading through the comments here. Threads start from the ‘partial sectarianism’ referred to in the original quote.

    To my mind, both the protestant statelet in the north, and the state to the south — call them what you will — were for the first half century or so of their existence, both narrow-minded, bigoted, nasty, censorious, infected with religiosity (but not Christianity) miserable places, in which sectarian bigotry was accepted as ‘normality’. A difference was the influence of a particular brand of ‘Christianity’, and the subtle or overt way in which the sectarianism expressed itself.

    Critics of the ‘north’ might well say, for example, that Craigavon’s pronouncement about a ‘protestant government for a protestant people’ is evidence of such bigotry; but they remain quiet about the statement being a riposte to de Valera’s one about a ‘catholic country for a catholic people’.

    As for the funeral of the first President of Ireland; well, Dr Douglas Hyde was an Irish speaking son of a Church of Ireland rector; and he was the agreed (and uncontested) candidate between the political parties. When he died, some years after leaving the presidency, it’s correct to say that the then President, the Taoiseach and most of the cabinet were not inside the protestant Cathedral for his funeral service; they waited outside. They were forbidden to attend by the Catholic church. (At this time, members of the Orange Order were forbidden to attend a Catholic mass.) Yes, really. Go check.

    One of the functions of a head of state is to receive the letters of credence of ambassadors of a foreign power. It seems that Dr Hyde’s position did not permit this; it sounds amazing, but during this time, the authority to do this was vested in the ‘King of Ireland’, George VI. Yes, the ‘King of England’. Again, go check. As so often what we think we know doesn’t really reflect the reality.

    I said below that hospitals in NI were neutral places, and was taken to task by Brian O’Neill about this in relation to the murder of Marie Drumm. He’s right, of course; she was murdered as an in-patient as she recovered from eye treatment. Such incidents were, thankfully rare; but on one occasional at least there was a ‘rampage’ by (IRA) gunmen through the RVH.

    My point from these stories is this; we can all quote selectively from history to support our or any position. Yet I for one am really fed up with the way in which such selective quotes, such selective memories distort what really happened. By themselves, such gobbets aren’t wrong, but they are incomplete. Yes, I know the theories about ‘truth’ and that it’s impossible to know certainties about ‘truth’, but I think you know what I mean; and that includes an openness and willingness to expose our secrets, to expose our souls if you will.

    And this ‘incompleteness’ is, I fear, an expression of cognitive bias to the extent of wilful blindness; if a story doesn’t fit with the narrative that we accept, we either ignore it, or manipulate it to our own ends.

    Surely, the time has come for us all to accept a ‘truth’ commission; not just here in the ‘north’ (six counties/occupied Ireland, remnant of Ulster, call it what you will if it makes you feel better) and perhaps also in the ‘south (ditto). It might make us all feel distinctly uncomfortable; but such an expurgation, such an exorcism, is surely necessary before we can move towards something like ‘reconciliation’. How many years is it since ‘bloody Sunday’; how many years did Lord Saville work to try to discover what happened? How many generations must pass before we can put some of these daemons to rest? At this stage, sadly, I doubt if I will survive to see it, but I hope that my successors will

  • Charlie Farlie

    The comments on this thread and the premise of the article actually depresses the life out of me. Denial of human rights abuses against the Catholic community and, equating what the Govt did here to what the Govt did in the South is quite frankly the biggest case of skewed revisionism I’ve ever came across. Even my Unionist history lecturers did not attempt that level of revisionism, and Unionist they were.

    I honestly despair of this place sometimes, By all means disagree with the IRA, deplore them even I don’t care. But to try to tell people that they were not subjects of discrimination, when they actually lived through it is actually insulting.

  • john millar

    According to “lost Lives” – whose detail I invite you dispute – ” the unionist murder gangs ” or the RUC if you prefer are responsible for some 100 deaths- all most all when under attack from elements of the community. check the (inconvenient) facts

  • john millar

    Certainly a continuing sectarian. Campaign

  • AntrimGael

    I totally respect Dr. McGarry’s point of view. In an ideal world full of morality, justice and humanity he is correct. The events of the past 40 years in the here and now cannot be justified. However it’s the old cliche, in hindsight everyone has 20/20 vision.
    As someone who lived through a good part of it in North Belfast it was a time of ‘events begetting events’. It was a hamsters wheel of atrocity following atrocity. There was massive anger, sense of injustice, desire and demand for action/revenge; rationale just did not come into it. I recall as a child in the early 70’s respectable, decent people saying “our lot WILL have to hit back for X,Y, Z.
    So yes we cannot go back there but they were horrible, awful times AND horrible awful things happened. It was descent into a bloodier version of Lord of tbe Flies where society breaks down, normal rules go out the window and animalistic tendencies took over.

  • andrewjohn

    Mr Cudgeon is a lonely voice in his views.

    Children need to be housed regardless of who is breeding.

    Tell me why 17,000 Protestants left Derry. Were all of them burnt out?

    For employment you might consider official employment stats. Oh and that sentence “not have a catholic about the place”

    ROI prods either opted for jobs in London or within the six county abomination, taking their families with them.

    Consider the oak tree in your own eye first.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Out of the 116 comments on this thread (to date) how many commentators have pushed this version that you despair of?

    I count one so far….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I know the temptation is to simply look at material which supports your own concerns, John, but Dr Graham Gudgin’s research was considered quite controversial in many academic reviews at the time, and since, and requires an historical critique before it may be employed as unchallenged fact. That many Protestants were equally disadvantaged by a Unionism which was (even under O’Neill) very much to the right of contemporary British Conservatism was self evident to anyone politically active in local Labour politics in the 1960s, but this did not in any way cancel out the very real endemic discrimination of Unionism against the minority community which was evident to anyone cared to examine actual cases. To quote Gudgin’s own article:

    “Perhaps the best summary of the housing issue was made by Charles Brett, the first chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive

    ‘ It is my view that the majority of councils did not consciously or deliberately engage in any kind of discrimination; but a minority did so and thereby discredited the whole.’ ”

    So yes, even if a majority of Councils by the 1960s were turning away from the blatantly discriminatory allocation of housing which had marked the first forty years of Unionist control, there was still a significant group of Unionist controlled councils actively discriminating into the Civil Rights period, and confirming the validity of NICRAs work, which Gudgin elsewhere seeks to deprecate. His failure to analyse deeper than bald figures disguises the manner in which, while Catholics in the west may have been given more houses, they were carefully segregated in particular wards to ensure ongoing “Unionist majorities” in certain other wards. Those voting Unionist in Antrim and Down might have been personally disadvantaged (in regard to previous practice) by the incoming policies of fairness in allocation, but for a significant portion of the minority community the active discrimination of Unionist controlled councils to ensure Unionist seats were not lost was very much a current experience in the late 1960s.

    CAIN has a decent list of material which you could examine for a rather rounder picture of the realities of that period.


  • T.E.Lawrence

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p4sE4HuwAk Great song for the ordinary people of Belfast who maintained its dignity and civilisation during its darkest days !

  • grumpy oul man

    This is a difficult post for me. I went to school and played with both victims and perpertrators.
    Twice i was unlucky enough to be close enough to large incidents to be involved in assisting survivors and locating those who didnt survive.
    By chance both were loyalist bombs but republician bombs do the same thing to people.
    A friend was a guest of the Shankill butcher’s and others i knew were murdered by loyalist death squads.
    I remember being shocked when a friend who i respected was found guilty of murder. I still find it diffucult to square his actions with the person i know.
    My mother said the rosary every night and we were obliged to join in and everynight she said a dacade for those suffering and if someone, Protestant, Catholic,police or army died she prayed for their souls and for their familys.
    I dont think it took long for us to realise that killing was wrong , most of us knew this (or things would have been more like what we see in many parts of the world today.
    What happened is that NI became a place were it was safer to keep your head down, being deemed a collaborator or a Lundy was dangerous.
    We came close to being something like what Syria is today, we avoided it because most people simply were not up for it.

  • grumpy oul man

    Gusty spence, orange vols, burntollet bombay street, brookfield st all before the provos existed.
    How do they fit into your theory?

  • grumpy oul man

    I cant speak for red but yes thier is a very big difference between defence and murder.
    But their is a constant thread in he comments of many unionists on this site to pretend that the provos appeared from nowhere and kicked of the troubles.
    They chose to ignore the place NI was and the tactics (including murder)that unionism used to maintain it.
    As i have noted before according to some posters unionist/ loyalist violence has causes but no effect and nationlist/ republician violence has effects but no causes.
    To a certain degree this is mirrored inside the nationlist/republician community.
    Gopher seems to be putting it all down to a provo plot which not history but propaganda.
    Unfortunately in this place the mistake of believing your own propaganda is quite common.

  • grumpy oul man

    Are you saying that these two incidents are related or two wrongs make a right.
    Try answering the question without blaming the brits.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I agree with much of that grumpy.

    What gets me is the ‘Mark of Cain/O’Kane that we all seem to bear when criticising an aspect of the violence, e.g. Granni Trixi (who I ‘think’ is of West Belfast nationalist origins and was in the midst of the crucible back in the day) was immediately hit with a whataboutery regarding the death of an innocent Catholic whenever she criticised the Provos violence (regarding an innocent Catholic).

    Personally speaking, if I criticise the Provos for their violence and mistakes then that is what I am doing.
    I am not saying “the UVF – a great bunch of lads” or “butter wouldn’t melt” and this applies to many critics of various ideologies (yourself included, I’ve seen you been labelled with some ridiculous brands on here).

    I make it plain and simple my criticisms of the Provos’ direction, but others on here would see that as a declaration of some sort of Vanguard membership instead of being reasonable and at least considering the idea that planting incendiary devices in restaurants might have fallen into the category of ‘bad idea’.

    We should play some sort of whataboutery bingo on here…

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Maybe not a classic KIR but more a recognisation of the ordinary people of Belfast who went about their daily lives to maintain a city in such circumstances !

  • T.E.Lawrence
  • grumpy oul man

    in total agreement with your whataboutry point and red doesn’t seem to understand the difference between offensive and defensive actions.
    even those murders like Billy Wrights (himself a murdering thug) which the perpetrators claimed was done to protect Catholics/nationalists only served as excuses for revenge and the venting of hatred.
    How a bomb or bullets does damage are predictable sciences they effect they have on events afterwards is also predictable, like a nuclear reaction the byproducts cause change beyond the actual incident.
    It has been stated to me several times on this site that some periods or incidents of violence have been justified by events that took place after the incident,
    this failure to understand causality and timelines means a misunderstanding of history but does allow a person to shout Themmuns every time someone points out the wrongs of their own side.

  • Charlie Farlie

    Well count on, and re-read the whole thing. If you can’t see that this narrative is trying to permeate through on both academic and social media commentary then you aren’t reading it thoroughly I’m afraid.

    And whilst it is opinion, to deny that abuses took place in any country, and to tell its people, (paraphrasing) ‘ach, sure you were just being paranoid so you shouldn’t have reacted’, is extremely insultory and derogatory. Hell in some countries its actually illegal to deny historical abuses. Most of those who perpetuate it are either those who came from the background who carried it out, or the middle class moral pedestal jumpers who have no experience of it personally, so don’t believe it happened. Either way it should be challenged, because its wrong. I have no issue as a Catholic saying how absolutely abhorrent the Catholic church was in covering up years of child abuse. I couldn’t say it strongly enough. So why can we not now look at the historic state abuse of people in their own country and say how abhorrent that was?
    The reason it is so important is not to create a hierarchy of victimhood or who suffered more, but to learn from it. The truth of it, so that it may never happen again or threaten any future we may have. If we don’t analyse the root causes of things properly, we are deemed to make the same mistakes again.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Well count on, and re-read the whole thing. If you can’t see that this narrative is trying to permeate through on both academic and social media commentary then you aren’t reading it thoroughly I’m afraid”

    Sorry, you’ll have to show me the explicit comments that “Denial of human rights abuses against the Catholic community…”

    (To be clear, I don’t accept the comparisons of how each state treated their minorities either).

    “And whilst it is opinion, to deny that abuses took place in any country, and to tell its people, (paraphrasing) ‘ach, sure you were just being paranoid so you shouldn’t have reacted’, is extremely insultory and derogatory. ”

    I agree.
    Let us name the people on this thread who deny said abuses, I’ll go first;
    ‘John Millar’ (maybe) – your turn.

  • john millar

    “Tell me why 17,000 Protestants left Derry. Were all of them burnt out?”

    Burnt out, intimidated out- businesses boycotted-sold at knock down prices. Foyle College -the Grammar school forced to locate to the opposite side of the river . Pupils -readily identifiable in school uniform -attacked on busses.

    “Children need to be housed regardless of who is breeding.”

    The breeders might pause and consider whether they have access to appropriate housing before moving toward double figures.

    “Mr Cudgeon is a lonely voice in his views.”

    Is not quite alone Richard Rose

    is the original author who incidentally pointed at ( Catholic dominated Council ) Newry as clearly discriminating against the prod.

    A practice -incidentally which continues today as the composition of Newry and Mourne Council workforce fails to reflect the composition of the council area.

  • john millar

    “Like unemployment benefits or do you mean other payments?

    I confess ignorance on this matter.”

    WHAT ! you are unaware that the power of the Unionists was such that Roman Catholics were prevent from becoming
    Customs Officer
    Tax Inspectors
    You have no idea

  • Gopher

    Nope I think you are just sensitive to critcism that a protracted bombing campaign by defintition is an offensive action. and attempts to dress it up as something else is complete nonsense As I mentioned to you before I’m not qualifying my answers but a murder campaign over 30 plus years is not a defensive action either no matter what colour hat you put on it. With regards cause and effect the post on another thread sums up my thinking

    “The problem lies in the differential between cause and effect which leads to no “historical revelance” because “fact” is stretched to cover effect, this in turn gives those “facts” a “spurious importance”. Where you have society riven with ideology, religion, race and nationality obviously you will have the making of a problem which does not lend itself to “critical analysis”. In conflict, whether domestic, social or military the facts are seldom fully known and the actual motives of individuals even less so. The mutiplicity of armed groups, factions and various interested parties suggests that the truism that effects have several concurrent causes cannot be ignored. Somebody wanted a farm, somebody wanted a promotion etc etc. You cannot stop at any arbitary assumptions as it is the wont of several posters on here, as different propositions are usually easy enough to advance against them. This leads to “unending arguement” and in Slugger terms chasing each others tail.
    Any objective investigation into the “causes” therefore immediately becomes theory and forces us to look at what we do know which is the “means” which brings us back to the differential. As we know the upper limit of the differential, some 3000 dead and as we know the “struggle” did come to an end its not hard to see our energy is wasted on what went wrong but should be focused on what went right and that is where the most truth will reside.”

  • john millar

    “They chose to ignore the place NI was and the tactics (including murder)that unionism used to maintain it.”
    “But their is a constant thread in he comments of many unionists on this site to pretend that the provos appeared from nowhere and kicked of the troubles.”

    The Provis are just part of a long line


  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I have no idea if you’re being sarcastic or not…

  • grumpy oul man

    Of course your right, what a different IRA done in 1922 is more relevent than the discrimination practiced by unionists or the murders carried out by the UVF or the violent reaction to the civil rights attempts at democratic change.
    After all treating people like second class citizens murdering them and attacking them when they peacefully ask for change would not effect anything.
    In case you missed it that was sarcasm!
    Unionists sowed the wind i believe you know how the rest of that saying goes.

  • grumpy oul man

    So to cut through all that waffle can i sum up your post.

  • john millar

    “I agree.
    Let us name the people on this thread who deny said abuses, I’ll go first;
    ‘John Millar’ (maybe) – your turn.”

    Happy to take my turn

    I have no problem in recognising abuses

    No problems In recognising stupid politicians who placed civil servants and police in impossible situations and refused to take their advice
    On politicians who put their own community first at the expense of the “other”
    On abuses of minorities prod or mick
    On murder of protesters by police or army

    I also have no problem in recognising abuses whereby deaths are regarded as “collateral damage” or worse -responsibility for the deaths are denied.

    I despair of the hypocrisy where murder campaigns are conducted from within a civilian population and the crocodile tears when the “collateral damage” excuse disappears.

    Where I diverge?

    Where people are the authors of their own misfortune and expect others to pick up the slack.

    Further I have no sympathy where ANYONE setting out with violent intent comes to grief

  • Gopher

    Again you show a complete sensitivity to any criticism of paramilitary groups engaged in offensive action. For arguements sake say Gusty Spence was the cause of the troubles, how many bombs compensate for that? Can you quantify that for me?

  • grumpy oul man

    Again you assume that not agreeing with your apoligist line for unionisn is somehow being a shinner.
    Time to grow up .
    Now for arguments sake say unionism had not of attacked nationalists for wanting civil rights or indeed not discrimated against them in the first place how many bombs would have been avoided.
    Oh and you are aware that the first bombs were planted by unionists.
    Like i say sow the wind reap the whirlwind.
    Oh and show were i have acted as a apologist for any terror group.
    Understanding history does not mean approval.

  • Jimmyz

    In your entire narrative one phrase jumped out…”Loyalist Death Squad”

    And don’t get me wrong I am not disagreeing.

    But you didn’t have friends in “Nationalist Death Squads” then ?

  • grumpy oul man

    And jimmy did i not mention a friend who was a murderer.
    The post is about my experiences. About things that happened around me or to people i know.
    Could i ask you a question.
    When someone talks about republician murder do you feel equally obliged to ask why they didnt mention unionist violence ?

  • Gopher

    I dont believe I am apologising for anyone, unionist or otherwise much as you would like to present that case. So Northern Ireland was to experience the “cutting edge” of the IRA in your opinion because mobs attacked nationalist estates and fearmongers planted bombs. What about the towns were no nationalists were attacked, What role did the Abercorn Bar and a host of other “targets” have in the oppression of nationalists? The campaign continued long after the demands of the Human rights movement were met, too long for any rational justification. As I pointed out in the other post looking for “cause” in Northern Ireland especially on Slugger ends with one chasing ones own tale. Thats is why I believe you get more truth from the “effect” which is over 3000 dead the bulk of which you believe in your own words had it coming (“sow the wind reap the whirlwind”) and the “result” which is a soon to be disolved regional assembly. If one has to accept Martys word in 2016/17 it would be too much of a leap of faith for anyone to doubt it in the seventies when he clearly stated the aims of the IRA campaign.

  • grumpy oul man

    Your argument that the scale of reaction to unionist violence was over the top.true it was but these things feed each other.
    Was the murders and violence around Drumcree proportional to not being allowed to walk down a road! Were the Dublin and Monaghan bombings a proportional to the Sunningdale agreement.
    Was the violence of Twaddell porportional or Holy Cross, how about the Flegs was trying to burn a policewoman to death in her car porpotional to a Democratic vote.
    Secondly it is amusing how you seem to mininilise murder , discrimmation and house burning as long as it comes from your side.
    One of the Spanish who invaded South America said of the natives,
    ” these people are dangerous they defend themselves when attacked”
    This seems to be your argument.

  • Gopher

    If I may refer to the opening post its about rewriting history, I feel your stuck on rails with your responses. “My side” that is a quaint way to put an individuals opinion on a forum. Could you define for me what you believe the aims of Loyalist violence were since you have the sensitivity of an enthusiast around criticism of the aims of Republican violence.

  • grumpy oul man

    I think my post were i said that unionists believe that unionist violence has cause bit no effect and nationlist violence has effect but no cause applys here .
    The aims of unionist violence were quite simple (your sensitivity around unionist violence is very obvious) was to keep nationlists in there place.
    It started in 1966 with gusty spenceS UVF and the OV, carried through 1969 and on to the 1990s.
    It is noticed that you never answered any question about the major episodes of unionist violence and i didnt mention the ongoing murders and intimidation by loyalists throughout the 70s,80s and 90s loyalists (indeed take yourself down to carrick see whats happening).
    Now just to be sure you understand i will repeat myself.
    now your sensitivty about unionist violence is obvious and could i suggest you take off the mope specs and look at the history of what happened in NI not what you would like to believe what happened.
    By the way you never answered my question. Was Dublin and Monaghan a over reaction and Drumcree what about it.

  • john millar


    Give us a start date

  • john millar

    Thug murderrs and is apprehended and jailed


    Orphanage burned down with state support – what redress?

  • Gopher

    I’m not sure Im understanding the term “unionist” as you use it. For claritys sake I will define all unionists bent on violence as “Loyalists” rather than suggest that someone for example who votes for Lady Sylvia Hermon is engaged in violence to remain in the UK. That would be absurd and I would argue a classic example of trying to rewrite History.

    Ok, the aim as you suggest is to keep Nationalists in their place, if I may add the place that those bent on violence believe is their place. I can buy into that when you qualify the statement for instance I believe all men are created equal so obviously I dont support the aims of “Loyalists” as you understand them. having spoken to the odd person now and again, there is alot of people who believe all men are created equal and likewise cannot support that aim. Many of those people would be unionists.

    . Personally I dont really think “Loyalist Violence” has any defined aim other than that area to the “right” believes that they can lead Northern Ireland to some, and I use this in the loose sense “Protestant utopia” as to not offend protestants practicing or otherwise that are happy to live in an inclusive society which incidently always strikes me as the vast majority of that grouping. If it invovled putting nationalists in their place as you decribe it or undermining the existing government to achieve their aim “Loyalists” (sic) would gladly do so. I believe that “Right” is as a danger to all the population regardless of political or religous orientation. You can see this delusion in people like Bryson who hopes “loyalism” will coalesce around him much the same way it did around Paisley in an earlier age.

    So by believing and it is my own personal belief and I am open to other “theories” that “Loyalism’s” aims were completely delusional, there was no promised land of milk and honey for them just a path to an inclusive society which they choose to delay. So their campaign was wrong and pointless. In the absence of a better theory it has served me pretty well to date.

  • grumpy oul man

    All unionist violence to be defined as loyalist. Does that include the time that the DUP and UUP formed alainces with very active terrorists or formed the terror groups.
    The lady Hermon point is good but alas most unionists vote for the DUP which has a long history of links to unionist terrorists.
    Interesting also that unionist violence was merely delusional even if it kicked off before nationlist violence but nationlist violence was part of a great plot.
    Still no answer from you about the madness around sunningdale.Drumcree, twaddell and all the other incidents of unionist violence ( note in all these and many more incidents the unionist parties stood shoulder to shoulder with the killers) you even admit that the leader of unionism Paisley coalesced loyalists terrorists around him but somehow deny unionist involvement in unionist violence.
    I do find it amusing that the double standards you apply to violence end up tying ypu in knots.

  • grumpy oul man

    The vast majority of historians regard the UVF and OV actions from 1966 as the beginning of what we call the troubles, but im sure you will refer to a failed and pathetic IRA 6 years before on something that happened in 1922 and chose to ignore how nationlists were treated in NI and murdered for complaining about that treatment.

  • Charlie Farlie

    I am speaking more in general, whilst there have been comments on this thread to suggest above, it is more about the onslaught of revisionism seen on Slugger and mainstream media and social media since the death of Martin McGuinness. This comment regarding the comparison between The North and South, and trying to somehow equate both States in discriminatory practices was just the straw that broke the camels back for me.

    Surely you can see the level of skewed revisionism that has occurred since the death of Martin McGuinness?

    Do you not also agree that there seems to be a class distinction when analysing the perception of the past?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    The North-South comparisons have been bandied about for yonks, certainly as long as I can remember and certainly as long as I’ve been on slugger, to the point where I think “here we go again” as it kills my enthusiasm for a post.

    I don’t think the two can be held in equal light but the south has hardly a perfect record but much to its credit it’s gone to great lengths to level the playing field (and then some).

    I don’t know what revisionism is anymore as everyone seems to have their own version of it;

    Some people would see any form of history that does not adhere to Irish or Ulster-British nationalism as ‘revisionism’ and anyone who sticks their head above the nationalistic trenches to point out a fact gets riddled with whataboutery or an avalanche of other facts as if the sheer magnitude of facts can drown out a valid point.

    e.g. Fact – The British army acted as a buffer between the nationalists and loyalists in the beginning.

    Avalanche – “Well, the British army did this and this and this and this….” indeed, but the fact still remains.

    “Do you not also agree that there seems to be a class distinction when analysing the perception of the past?

    Not that I’ve picked up on but that’s not to say that there isn’t, I would say though that compared to most Anglophone countries NI has not seen proper social stratification (Anglo-Irish gentry notwithstanding) until relatively recently so perhaps it’s starting to reflect in our historical rear view mirrors.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Nice answer Mr Millar.

  • Charlie Farlie

    I actually agree with you!

    Stratification does seem to be more pronounced today than ever, however, even at the early onset of the troubles there were still considered to be the ‘more respectable’ areas and they were enough in quantity to warrant distinction. The skit from James Young about ”Cherryvalley’ was bang on. The troubles just did not seem to visit these areas as regularly.

    Regarding revisionism, I would confidently say I am an Irish Republican. But I am not averse to critiquing that ideology if it is required. How do we learn if not from admitting mistakes? And republicanism has made enough of them, but for the sake of future learning, we need to critique our own perception every now and then. I remember seeing the results of some atrocities and recoiling in horror at what was before my eyes. I may be a republican, but I am a human being and I do believe that many decisions made by the republican movement were idiotic and wrong. But enough people within the ranks weren’t idiotic, and it’s when I hear unfair criticisms or untruths then I feel just as energised to rebuke them as I do of criticising republicanism. Just the truth, not perceived or subjectified. It has been lacking in dramatic fashion over the last number of weeks.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And what do you think of the tactics, Redstar? Acceptable or unacceptable?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “Events took over” – now there’s a euphemism.

    “So we were all just sitting minding our own business and these events just kept causing all this trouble, no people anywhere near any of them …” Bloody events, they’re a menace aren’t they. These ones seem to go out and purchase large quantities of M16s, drop them in the laps of utterly committed to non-violence Republican and Loyalist gangs and then force them to fire said M16s repeatedly at people of the other national allegiance.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The Right To An Opinion – yes, no one can take that away from you.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You left out all the Catholic violence though in your account. Any reason for that?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    He’s not actually – Patterson, Mulholland, McGrattan, lots of others have come to the same conclusion on housing. There was no overall disadvantage for Catholics in housing.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    My relatives in Cork had their business boycotted. I think we forget now just how massively Catholic-dominated the South was. They had censorship imposed against books the Church didn’t approve of. The ROI had its charms but it was also a stultifying, grey, monolithic place in the Stormont years run by various stripes of bigoted old men who all had one thing in common – hatred of us. Sorry I know Stormont was crap in many ways but really let’s get it in some historic perspective here. Very few places in non-urban parts of these islands were particularly liberated in that period and the South certainly wasn’t.