Pause in politics can give rise to a deeper contemplation of our own violent past…

For arrogance and hatred are the wares peddled in the thoroughfares. How but in custom and in ceremony are innocence and beauty born? Ceremony’s a name for the rich horn, and custom for the spreading laurel tree.

A Prayer For My Daughter, WB Yeats

Interesting to debate with the estimable Malachi O’Doherty on Talkback this afternoon over whether there should have been a pause in the election campaign. He almost won me over with the one line that our pausing is done as if politicians could not be trusted to say or do the right thing.

There’s passable case that they might not. My line of argument, however, was that it’s right for there to be a momentary pause: a silence and some thought given to what victims might need.

I also suggested our own politicians have served our victims very poorly by never taking such a collective pause, ceremonial or otherwise.

In Northern Ireland, perhaps Sinn Fein has been granted relief from the obvious questions around the Provisional IRA’s own murderous bombing campaign in England. But given the way that aspect been normalised in the press I’m not certain it would have come forth anyway.

As Malachi says, casting a depoliticising cordon sanitaire around the obvious questions around terrorism can aid the sitting government, and perhaps our own ex-bomber politicos here. Although, it’s possible to conceive of a government mishandling the situation and losing.

But there is a use in pauses (of short duration). It can provide time for a gathering in of the collective senses and space for national mourning. And it ought to give rise to uncomfortable conversations, giving people a chance to draw parallels with earlier times.

In the Guardian, Louise Nevin joins some of the more obvious dots for victims (probably the most silenced of all the post-Troubles groups) between Monday’s Islamic bomber and those ‘heroes’ of the Armed Struggle….

As terrorist attacks go, this one was relatively minor: there was no structural damage to the building or immediate deaths, but without doubt there was damage to some of those who witnessed it.

In the months ahead I had trouble blocking out the images of what I had seen and struggled to come to terms with the realisation that grownups could panic like children.

When my mother planned trips to London, I was often unable to go, being struck down with mysterious nausea and vomiting. Curiously, no one ever put two and two together and it was years before I realised the cause of this “illness”.

My friend Tanya suffered more: sudden movement or sounds would incite severe anxiety; she later developed claustrophobia, agoraphobia and panic attacks.

She became obsessed with unattended packages, the potential threat of which was on everyone’s mental radar at the time due to the continued IRA bombing campaign. To this day she will only sit in an aisle seat at the cinema or in a theatre.

Tanya was clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Eilis O’Hanlon, goes in close on a dilemma no Sinn Fein politician shows any appetite for confronting, picking up on Michelle O’Neill’s condemnation of the murder of children on Monday, and her recent defence of the IRA men who died attacking Loughgall RUC station…

Just because the men she celebrates did it for a united Ireland, and the Manchester bomber most likely for a worldwide Islamic caliphate under Sharia law, doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

The only difference is there was no 24-hour news back then, and certainly no social media. Atrocities did not unfurl in real time; people at home didn’t see the full horror for themselves. If they had, the IRA may have been shamed into stopping sooner.

Irish republicans would have us believe that their terrorism was different. That their bombs were nicer. They look at the suicide bombers and insist: “We’re not like Themmuns.” Are they sure about that? [Emphasis added]

This, for me, is the advantage of the pause. Just because a politician is not talking does not mean that the electorate are not thinking.

And the ceremonial, like this powerful rendition from Tony Walsh yesterday, is a reminder that we are social creatures dependent on one another.

Not for the first time, it is worth turning to Michael Longley’s profound words from 2003, riffing on Einstein and Yeats…

…the opposite of war is custom, customs, and civilization. Civilization is custom and manners and ceremony, the things that Yeats says in “A Prayer for My Daughter.”

We have a vocabulary of how to deal with one another and how to behave, a vocabulary of behavior, as well as things to say to one another …and out of that come laws and agreed ways of doing things… [Emphasis added]

Making time for such things does not demean politics. It can and it should deepen them, in a digital environ where we are being rushed on from such moments of social contemplations by the latest false news meme, cat gif or other ‘oh shiny’ distractions.

Moreover, it should give rise to questions about how we have handled our own past. Where was the moment we stopped the screaming imprecations to move on for God’s sake, and genuinely reflect on what was done in the name of Ireland or Ulster?

Or, as Louise puts it…

…to mourn, to make sure everyone has the help they need, but not to let society change in the way terrorists wish it to.

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  • aquifer

    Pity if our democracy is not fit for this. First past the post is a mathematical model of two muddied mobs wrestling in a field, and how much care to we take to make sure the right calibre of people represent us? We underfund politics and parties and then complain that we are sold short, or if the powerful pay extra get their way. Someone with a weapon and half an idea trying to hijack our attention and force our compliance is wrong, but have we done enough to manage our own affairs well?

  • Ciara 007

    We get our answers to many of the above posed questions at every election. The numbers speak for themselves and whether one likes it or not the public are not motivated by the outworkings of our squalid little war no more than a French man is motivated by disdain of the old germanic foe. Indeed, the endless twitterings of those who are politically motivated enough to block our potential to live as one united society: are determined to continue the war on a different plane. In this we allow Bill Clinton’s genuine victims to be swept aside in order to make way for appropriate humiliation, retribution, revenge while actual ‘justice’ becomes an intangible mystery. For some, Unionists will always be evil discriminators, the Brits forever deceitful brutes, republicans permanent masochists while new generations look on and wonder why the bitterness is allowed poison their futures. Our ‘war’ will never be over because that civil division is now transposed onto political culture. The old combatants need to do nothing, they sit back and watch the media and political glitterati manipulate for fun. A day off just allows us to become creative, inventing new forms of attack and buying off influential backers. We mourn the youth who are dead whilst willingly destroying hope for those living.

  • chrisjones2

    “as if politicians could not be trusted to say or do the right thing”

    Perhaps …but its more that with Social Media they cannot trust the more extreme of their followers not to seriously embarrass them and cost them votes.

    Already in just 36 hours Labour have had to suspend one Branch Deputy Chair for suggesting that the entire threat was contrived and that (Shades of 9/11) the timing of the Manchester Bombing was suspiciously useful for Theresa May.

    They also face real problems with comments on several sites with close links to the leadership pumping our attacks on the Tories for deploying troops for ‘no reason’ or alleging that they are in league with the security services to create a false threat to boost the Conservative vote.

    Another Corbyn supporter has suggested that the deployment will make it easier to burn poppies and throw them at solders without the bother of having to go to a military base to do it. All classy stuff and the sort of thing voters will really respond to

  • chrisjones2

    “We underfund politics and parties ”

    I think Labour gets about £6m a year from the Government. Underfunded? Really?

  • aquifer

    0.001% is not much for a management overhead.

  • chrisjones2

    So you want to incentivise politicians to spend more of our money so they get more for their party?

  • mickfealty

    Let’s not exaggerate Chris. The UK and Europe generally has very useful restrictions on spending…

  • mickfealty

    Damn. Not working.

  • chrisjones2

    I totally agree with restrictions on spending Mick both in terms of the quantum and the sources .

    I understood aquifer to suggest we dont pay them enough from public funds.

    A fair balance in that needs to be struck but on all sides their capacity for graft seems endless ……. its like looking in a birds nest with all those little birds squeaking with their mouths endlessly open for more juicy worms

  • mickfealty

    Maybe we don’t, but I’ve no real sense of the issues around that tbh, or what the material shortfalls would be. We see from the US what the price of excessive spending on elections is: voter disengagement on an epic scale.

  • Gopher

    The Greeks had a problem back in the day, all their “free” city states kept on killing each other so the birth place of philosophy, history and democracy had alot of problems with emnity. One of their citizens sat down and thought about this and produced the Iliad to make sense of making peace in an enviroment of hubris and emnity that all “Greeks” could buy into. Using the backdrop of the Trojan war and all its sub plots based around the fraility of men, Homer brought the Greeks to the denouement of Priam kissing Achilles hands. That is the same Achilles that killed his son Hector and defiled his dead body, Achilles is then moved to tears and releases the body for a decent burial. The Greeks not being savages of course did help, so Homers work was not lost on them and it became their “bible”. The problem in Ireland there is minnows intellectual, emotional and political minnows. Set a low bar you dont jump very high.

  • Brian Walker

    What non- pause? Did I miss it, Mick? Damn! What troubles me is that we seem to be regressing. I’m genuinely puzzled about why you’re having this debate. As you know, the IRA bombing campaign has been raised in England but only to pillory Corbyn and the Labour left. The Brits aren’t interested in our struggle over power sharing. You can say Sinn Fein takes the anti-imperialist side; it’s all our fault because of Iraq, the oppression of the Palestinians etc., just like thew oppression of Ireland, whatever. The DUP do their version of Rule Britannia, whatever. But who cares? Our public don’t. It doesn’t play because apart from the odd mural, we love our own little exceptionalism. And in that as I say, we seem to be going backwards under new “leadership.” .

    For me, poets like dear old WB aren’t much help with the politics, I fear. He looked on the Rising aesthetically “ a terrible beauty”, then wrung his hands like most of us and finally got slated by inferior minds. What poets do is to say something more inspiring than “moving on,” thank goodness. But we have yet to turn it into the more workaday prose of how to represent the common interest. Now there’s a boring sentence for you!

  • mickfealty

    By the particular lights of this piece, I believe that regression is constructive rather than accidental. I agree re the attacks on Corbyn. Even though some of his decisions are (very) difficult to understand in the cold light of day.

    There’s little doubt the Tories have been rather too conscientiously trying to exploit that patchy record to self aggrandise themselves and their current pitch for absolute power. Not a good look, when he raises questions for the UK.

    But returning to the original theme, I deliberately topped and tailed it with Yeats and the wise (and very well distilled) words of Ms Nevin. In the general hierarchy of NI, the prefered role for victims is to be seen and not heard.

    The issue of ceremony is one thing we have neglected, and badly. Ceremony in the terms which both Yeats and Longley have expressed it, puts manners on people in ways which mere temporal power cannot.

    Most of us who are lucky enough to have had children know very well the fundamentality of that question “how but in custom and in ceremony are innocence and beauty born?”

    How exactly do we realistically expect to return to balanced relationships without such (regular) moments of silence and (to used a much traduced term in recent years) socialised reflection?

    Newry born John Dunlop, in 2003:

    In ways which can only be experienced from within a community it is difficult to imagine how every murder shook the Protestant community like a tremor.

    Yet, so far on, where is the public acknowledgement of such egregiousness? Rather the past remains trapped in an odd class of historic re-enactment: without any of a sense of irony and/or humour.

    And, oddly, entrapped in the thin air of a politics which is still queerly trapped within the weird air of politics that professes it absolutely knows what’s coming next…

  • chrisjones2

    Agree totally. The US is now obscene where elections are bought by the rich or the corrupt. But they are far more visible than us and have more rules on who cannot contribute. Don’t forget that Watergate was partly about concealing the source of corrupt campaign contributions

  • mickfealty

    Thanks for that Gopher, and rising rather spectacularly to the occasion.

  • DanCan

    Elis O’Hanlon and her cohort RDE are so predictable Ive made a game out of guessing the author from their headline. They mention Sinn Fein more times than Arlene does, if thats possible. Ive been 100% correct these last few months.
    Besides this haven’t the PIRA gone away now? Some unionists insist on dragging up up our past, which I believe most regret, but which was the result of a perceived injustice.
    One of the main points I want to make in remembering the past upon reflection, why is does there seem to be a cut off of around 30 years? Just one example springs to mind is the orange order bomb in the York street direction back around the 1930s that was thrown into a street of playing children, killing some.
    Or is the point of this to demonise Sinn Fein in the run up to the election? In the hope of stopping their progress by using the innocent lives of an atrocity to gain political points. Some politicians and journalists really are that disgusting and EOH and RDE are just the windbags to do it.

  • Brian Walker

    The problem is that the layers of feeling and experience expressed culturally translate badly into politics. If you mean by regression, a return to sources and authentic feeling, it will probably be conducted by people who aren’t the problem. Encounter can only achieve so much. Another problem is that most real discussion about dealing with the past takes place either in wholly appropriate close encounters like Healing is Remembering, or the semi –secret, enclosed negotiations which are the persistent feature of our politics. Both are not transparent, they exclude the wider public. Despite myriad small encounters, we have barely begun to talk across the divide. If we did what would we talk about?

    I needn’t go through the record of regret rather than apology, the refusal to don sackcloth and ashes, the doomed attempts to reach equivalence between the armed struggle and the moral authority of the state. On the other hand, we have the simplistic assertions of “British Ulster,.” the easy disavowals of loyalist paramilitaries and flaws in the one party Unionist state.

    We have yet to create an agreed story of the emerging new Northern Ireland. That is surely because we have barely progressed with integration; nor is it clear that we really want to. Until a rival attraction like a meaningful shared future emerges, we will dwell on the past in a futile search for nirvanas. It takes a considerable sensibility to resist reaching into culture for political ammunition.

    The Republic is showing a way there, taking a commendable risk with their own foundation myths of church and state and concentrating instead on the remarkable pace of present reform. But this can only be done in a society which is essentially cohesive.

    After 20 years our cohesion is weak and politics is probably behind the curve rather than taking a lead. Elections tend to reinforce the negative. The next stage of “peace” will probably take as long as the first one. Meanwhile shared experience of ritual and ceremony will probably be celebrated in gigs and other Big Events.

  • Nevin

    And now? Greece and Ireland, the state, are minnows dancing to an authoritarian EU tune. When Macron showed some concern and compassion for Greece’s plight he was elbowed out.

  • Nevin

    “The problem in Ireland is minnows, intellectual, emotional and political minnows.”

    It’s not about Ireland, the island or the state; it’s about Northern Ireland and the clash of two opposing ideologies. The voters, in their infinite wisdom, mostly vote for the big beasts; the minnows in no-man’s-land attract at most 10%.

  • Dan

    ‘The Brits’.

    Respected journailst/academic?

  • Ciara 007

    One of the side effects of trying to shift the focus away from ‘the people’ is that journalistic critiques of our political classes become tiresome, tedious and irrelevant unless they offer a ptactical utilitarian option. Like it or not, our past is not going away, voters are less and less bothered and even less amused at being treated like dopes. Our bombs are different apparently.

  • mickfealty

    Dan, you’ll notice it’s quieter in here than it was before Monday. That’s because I’ve slung a lot of empty vessels out the door. Not on account of their political opinions, but their failure to take any notice of the commenting rules, and by way of insisting that everyone plays the ball and not the man.

    It would a very major mistake for you to believe that you are in some way not subject to the same rule. Given how quickly people were ejected on Monday it would be wrong of me to treat you any more leniently.

  • mickfealty

    If you are going go full on whataboutery then try to do it with supporting links and evidence? You clearly didn’t bother reading Ms O’Hanlon.

    Here’s her opening paragraph:

    Sinn Fein’s northern leader is delusional if she thinks people don’t see through her ‘that was then, this is now” whataboutery. The late Cardinal Cahal Daly called it “the commonest form of moral evasion in Ireland today”.

    He was referring to whataboutery, the familiar practice of deflecting criticism of acts of violence by groups with which one agrees by immediately pointing to acts of violence by those with whom one disagrees, and loudly demanding: “What about this? What about that?”

    It’s also a logical fallacy…

    …that attempts to discredit the opponent’s position by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with that position, without directly refuting or disproving the opponent’s initial argument.

    It’s also a standard operating procedure we’ve seen regularly appear when SF is under some pressure or other, which suggests a deep continuity of shabby practice. As I’ve said to your loyalist namesake, right now we are on a very low tolerance of those who refuse to engage in proper argument.

    Just be warned. One foot out of place, and yer on yer ear mate.

  • Daragh

    The problem with Elis O’Hanlon’s piece is that requires all context to be removed in order for her to try to make a point. Both PIRA and Islamic Jihadists set off bombs in Manchester, yes. There ends the comparison.
    The PIRA bomb came with a 90 minute warning which was because the aim of the bomb was not actually to kill people but to inflect maximum financial damage. Now this fact does not diminish the fact that placing a large bomb in an area could have led to loss of life but it is very different from the Jihadist bomb. The bomb ultimately cost £1.2bn worth of damage, increased insurance premiums and encouraged Westminster to get a deal done. These are all rather ugly facts that are not cause for celebration but are true none the less. We can all collectively lament that there was ever such conflict on these islands.
    I realise Mick, you were looking for more contemplative contributions in a certain direction but I don’t think you can slip the piece from O’Hanlon hanging and expect people to ignore it. The problem with the likes of O’Hanlon, RDE, Eoghan Harris and Kevin Myers is that all of their ‘analysis’ likes to pretend that everything was fine before the IRA began out of nowhere. This ignores the actual events at the beginning of the troubles when in some sections of the Nationalist community IRA became an abbreviation for I Ran Away as the Nationalist community came under attack simply for campaigning for civil rights.
    Their ‘analysis’ certainly never questions the legitimacy of the British invasion of Ireland, nor dwells on the conduct of British forces during the famine nor questions the legitimacy of partitioning of Ireland after the 1918 General election nor seeks to shed any light on any of Britain’s conduct in Ireland.
    Unfortunately there has always been corn to earn in Ireland for promoting Britain as an honest broker while running down the Irish people. Could you imagine if there was similar ‘analysis’ of Britain’s imperialist deeds around the globe? For some reason there is no corn to be earned from that.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Once again, it seems that the only terrorist organisation ever to exist in Ireland was the IRA. No mention of the UVF, UFF, etc. etc. I’d like to hear some calls here for the whole of the DUP, UUP and the Orange Lodge to come out and condemn those organisations unequivocally, completely and publicly, and to admit their past (and perhaps present) involvement with them.

  • Dan

    Do you think it ok for one of your senior commenatators to talk about ‘the Brits’, and not expect that to raise an eyebrow?

  • chrisjones2

    Pulls flat cap down over eyes, sticks hands in pockets and saunters off furtively, whistling insouciantly …………….

  • DanCan

    My apologies for the personal insult to the journalists mentioned.
    But I stand by the fact that if a cat got stuck in a tree somehow the root cause would be Sinn Fein, its tiresome.

    Here are some links to the bomb I mentioned:
    A snippet: “Among these was the mass murder by loyalists of six children in Weaver Street, a Catholic district off the Shore Road.”

    Also page 63 of

    And a newspaper snippet added:

    Whataboutery wasn’t my intended excuse. I was trying to get to a point of us reflecting on our past and how far back do we go? Terrible things happened that mostly dont anymore. Some members of Sinn Fein were previously involved in bombing, yes. But it doesnt mean they cant sympathise. Or does anything that happened longer than 30 years not count. Also Im quite sure there are similar stories of Republican violence on children if we keep looking – this was just a story I read recently.

    Michelle O’Neill is being slated for condemning the Manchester bomb because some of her colleagues themselves were involved in bombing places. Cant the same be said of the US President, UK Prime Minister, French Prime Minister – havent they all at some point in their past given the OK for the death of children and innocents?

  • chrisjones2

    I have no objection to the term ‘The Brits’ – its a reasonable descriptor.

    I am always struck for example by the way some of us Unionists always call Derry ‘Derry’ – except when there is one of themuns about and we want to annoy them

  • chrisjones2

    …surely the problem isn’t the existence of the minnows but the fact that we consistently elect them

  • chrisjones2

    “The PIRA bomb came with a 90 minute warning which was because the aim of the bomb was not actually to kill people but to inflect maximum financial damage. ”

    It injured 212 people …you try to make it almost cuddly

  • Nevin

    “If they had, the IRA may have been shamed into stopping sooner.”

    A few months ago I was chatting to a young waiter on the north coast. The subject turned to genealogy. He said his mother was Simmons – I said I knew the singer songwriter, the late Jimmy Simmons – “My grandfather” was his reply. Now Jimmy’s Ballad of Claudy was very graphic but it didn’t bring an end to violence.

    It’s my impression that the decision to pursue the ‘Stepping Stones’ strategy devised by the Redemptorists was that the PRM leadership was persuaded that this strategy offered a better route to a United Ireland. The TUAS document indicates that if the new strategy didn’t show promise then the PRM could always revert to the ‘muscular’ one. 1994 marked the transition from ‘armalite and ballot box’ to ‘attrition and ballot box’; it didn’t mark a transition to working together for the good of all in Northern Ireland.

  • mickfealty

    Bonaparte, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). It’s not a matter of condemnation (that’s just the predictable and binary chatter of political gamers talking to themselves, like mad elephants in the fridge).

    But the pause is a moment for contemplation, when the rattle and hum of the machine stops and people are allowed time and space to recapture “beauty and innocence”. And what comes up to the surface should be allowed come.

    It’s okay to talk about one action without that infuriating and binding requirement to caveat it with talk of others. This is one of the shabbier tricks used to silence the wrong sort of victims when they try to give witness.

  • johnny lately

    “Sinn Fein’s northern leader is delusional if she thinks people don’t see through her ‘that was then, this is now” whataboutery. The late Cardinal Cahal Daly called it “the commonest form of moral evasion in Ireland today”.

    Why constantly point the finger at one side in the past conflict, is it possible that Irish people feel exactly the same way when we hear British politicians like David Cameron or Tony Blair both lecturing the world about democracy and human rights when both these British politicians duped the British public into invading two middle east countries illegally the actions of which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands if not millions. Should Irish citizens brush under the carpet the truth of how British intelligence were directly involved in the Dublin Monaghan bombings and still to this very day refuse access to the Irish government or any agreed international observers access to files they hold in relation to the Dublin Monaghan bombings or how they allowed their state agents to murder hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of innocent victims.

    And hasn’t this equation between the IRA and Islamic terrorists been covered before too, in Westminster of all places when Tony Blair from the dispatch box proclaimed the IRA and Al Qaeda were not like for like much to the furore of Unionists who were first to float the idea although they managed to sweep under the carpet the reality that it was loyalist paramilitaries the majority under the control of either RUC special branch or British intelligence who kidnapped innocent people, torturing them by cutting off parts of their bodies before cutting their throats.

  • Nevin

    We mainly elect the big beasts – which is hardly surprising in a tug-of-war scenario. Limp lettuces may appeal to some but they’re of limited political significance.

  • mickfealty

    You’ve done it again, but thanks for the links. You’ve offered no connection to the material above. Ms O’Neill only “taking flak” if you take PR view of public discourse. We don’t.

  • mickfealty

    Another one who either cannot or will not read the links. The bomb in question was in the 70s and in Olympia. No one was killed. Put an apologia to us by all means, but no tweaking evidence please?

    BTW, I’m not (nor have I ever) asked for convergence on Slugger as you misleadingly suggest. I’m asking for civil compliance with the site rules. Be warned, I’m dishing out summary justice to messers.

  • mickfealty

    #Whataboutery. And you’re way off topic. Careful now.

  • whatif1984true

    You are assuming that those of us who hate terrorists have to be continually balanced in our examples.

    Do you think that those of us who condemn murderers actually are ok with murderers from the opposite side whichever it is?

    In the recent debate about mentioning ‘the troubles’ vis a vis Manchester there are those who try to differentiate between terrorists.

    The dead and maimed don’t get solace from being murdered/maimed by a ‘subsection’ of terrorism. Only a terrorist/apologist would try to do so.

  • johnny lately

    Like Arlene claimed its not whataboutery if its true and how is it off topic when the post is about contemplation of our own violent past unless of course another pro unionist/British agenda is being promoted that the IRA were the only people setting off bombs or murdering people.

    “Northern Ireland, perhaps Sinn Fein has been granted relief from the obvious questions around the Provisional IRA’s own murderous bombing campaign in England. But given the way that aspect been normalised in the press I’m not certain it would have come forth anyway.”

    Yet just a few weeks ago we had the British Prime Minster Theresa May publicly attempting to brush the terrorism of British state security forces in Ireland under the carpet using the catch all national security excuse and an amnesty for British soldiers and RUC officers who were directly involved in murder or who controlled the state agents who were allowed to carry out multiple murders.

    Although you claim the above is whataboutery the truth is its fact, it happened and regardless whether you believe its irrelevant to the OP, the OP nevertheless points the finger at only Sinn Fein when theres many others including the British government who needs to reflect on its past actions before condemning others.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    I stand by my previous views on ‘whataboutery’. And here’s a quote from the Rev. Harold Good:

    “Peace is not just about the absence of violence; not just about the guns and bombs going quiet. It is about reaching for something much higher: healing, reconciliation, stepping into the shoes of others, talking, trying to understand, ending enemy relationships and doing those difficult but decent and necessary human things. . . . doing the easy thing makes no contribution to peace.”

    Indulging in a one sided blame-game is the easy thing to do, here.

  • Daragh

    Mick, that is factually incorrect. I’ve just rechecked the link and the bomb O’Hanlon, which is whom I was writing about, refers to is the same 1996 Manchester bomb that I’m referring to. So I haven’t ‘tweaked any evidence’.

    I also think just quoting chunks of passage like the following without critical analysis would need to be reassessed – ‘Just because the men she celebrates did it for a united Ireland, and the Manchester bomber most likely for a worldwide Islamic caliphate under Sharia law, doesn’t make it any more acceptable’.

    I think there is a fundamental difference between trying to establish an imperialist worldwide Islamic Caliphate and trying to re-unite your country which was undemocratically partitioned. If you or O’Hanlon can’t see that these two things are fundamentally different then I don’t really knows where that leaves us.

    The problem with the stable of ‘bash the Irish’ columnists employed by the Sindo is that they try to present themselves as serious historians but they are often in fact anything but that –

  • mickfealty

    Not so fast, dark stranger. The blast featured in this blog is the one recounted by Louise Nevin. I’m now adding deck shuffling to evidence tweaking to your charge sheet.

    If you really cannot stand the constraint of playing the ball rather than the man, there are other online watering hole proprietors who will gladly give you far greater latitude. Bye.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    I’d like to add Antony’s speech about the important ceremony of funeral:
    “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;
    So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
    Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.

    O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.”

  • Granni Trixie

    Whilst it has particular connotations in Ni this is not the case everywhere.

  • Granni Trixie

    You’ve let the cat out of the bag now.
    As for “Derry” don’t you think through habit most just say it naturally and become self-consciousness about Its usage in certain context?

  • Granni Trixie

    How very sad if that is the case.

  • mickfealty

    He’s a troll Granni. A sockpuppet registered under an email “jamesidiot”. Seems some so called republicans are now having to invent their own unionist stereotypes out of their own native materials.

  • chrisjones2

    More Macaroon than Macron …. a crisp hard exterior but brittle, snaps easily and soft and chewy once you break through

  • chrisjones2

    We don’t know if they have gone away. The Commission promised under Fresh Start seems to have vanished. Lasted a long time didn’t it – though I assume we are still paying them. We always are!!!

  • Barneyt

    Ah the old integration topic. Ireland will become more complete and relevant to the island when they separate state and church in every aspect. The state must jettison religion and any notion of being a catholic state to evolve into a proper republic. Equally integration in NI is going to depend on the same level of rejection of tradition, belief and religion I believe. I don’t think that’ll happen tomorrow.

  • Barneyt

    You never hear, the siege of Londonderry 🙂 still think it should have two names. The Irish doire and the English translation … which I believe means oakwood. The siege of Oakwood sounds like whinnie the pooh is holding up

  • james

    On the subject of moral evasions, one also notes her baffling terminology. She condemns what she calls ‘horror attacks’ by ISIS (which most people call terror attacks) and thus, presumably refuses to condemn what everyone else refers to as ‘terror attacks’ by the IRA (and what she refers to as….?).

  • james

    “My apologies for the personal insult to the journalists mentioned.
    But I stand by the fact that if a cat got stuck in a tree somehow the root cause would be Sinn Fein, its tiresome.”

    Hmm….one might also add that if the cat was stuck in a tree, and the IRA blew up the tree – having given the cat 15 minutes warning – a lot of Sinn Fein supporters on here would judge that the cat had not been wronged in any way, that the road to a United Ireland had clearly been blocked by the tree, thus the tree had to go whatever about the poor old cat, that the cat should simply ‘move on’ , and that it was likely mentally ill anyway.

  • john millar

    By that “analysis” the prods bombing the ROI was a “legitimate’ response to the support in the ROI for PIRA

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think it is

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I had to make my own ‘pause’ decision on Tuesday, I had been due in Manchester city centre on Wednesday night to run some focus groups. Logistics was a factor – would everyone be able to get to the venue OK with traffic disruption etc – but the main factor was really, can I really expect people to be giving their attention to my questions at such a time? So I postponed. But I was torn – my instinct is to carry on as normal.

    Terror being a kind of theatrical performance you are forced to attend, the best discouragement to terrorists is to act like you would any other time a self-indulgent production wastes your time with drivel. That is, politely leave during the interval and go off and do something else. Try and forget it ever happened.

    The problem with that is, though, how you deal with the aftermath of an act of terrorism cannot be solely dictated by how best to discourage the terrorists. Quite apart from those immediately affected, traumatised people need to be encouraged to talk and be heard. The ‘keep calm and carry on’ approach needs to acknowledge that something extraordinarily awful has happened. It needs to embody a form of stoicism and resilience that does not shut down feelings. That is a really hard balancing act to achieve.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “Let’s raise a cheer for the IRA – because they were gentleman bombers.” Stewart Lee had that idea licked back when it first ludicrously raised its head after 7/7.