De-Bunking the Myth of the Battle of St. Matthews.
Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of June 1970 will live long in the memory of those who were witness to the horrific events that unfolded that weekend.Of the two people and many others who were injured by the indiscriminate gunfire their families pain has been exacerbated in the intervening years as they have had to endure the ignominy of the perpetuated untruth that somehow this incident was some sort of glorious battle honour by the Short Strand IRA, and that their sectarian murderous attacks were in actual fact heroic defending of a ghetto under siege.So much so that an erroneous moniker of “The Battle of Saint Matthews” was bestowed upon it.However all right thinking citizens are well aware of the FACTS surrounding that day’s events and can quite easily debunk this theoretical falsehood. Almost one year after the onset of “The Troubles” the Republican movement and the Belfast IRA in particular were in disarray.In July and August of 1969 they, as a grouping had done little—in the eyes of the Catholic population in working class areas—to defend those communities from the “Loyalist hordes “.The acronym now read I Ran Away.Behind the scenes an idealistic shift was also taking place—a shift that would eventually –and inevitably lead to fractions within the movement, culminating in feuds and counter feuds.The new hardliners—although many were seasoned veterans of the organisation–were making their presence felt.Individuals like Francis Card—BillyMcKee—Joe Cahill-Seamus Twomey and Leo Martin.McKee, as the Belfast Brigade commander knew thatin order to make a statement and win back the affections of the disillusioned Catholic inhabitants he needed a victory—something that would announce the arrival of the new Provisional movement.
His life story spans the ‘war’ and the ‘peace’ of this place – a place of conflict that has now been given the chance of something better.
Yes, it is also a place still terrorised and traumatised by what we call The Past – the hell it has been through and in which many still live – a past understated and perhaps even trivialised in the oft-used term ‘the Troubles’.
We have all fallen into the way of that understatement, that easy and convenient use of a phrase that says nothing and means nothing.
The article below is taken from the latest online edition of The Detail, the web-based current affairs magazine and stablemate of Trevor Birney’s growing film production empire which recently released, via Fine Point Films, a docudrama about Bobby Sands called ‘66 Days‘.
I have read this piece several times. It is based on a speech given by SF MEP Matt Carthy and no matter how I hold it – up to the light, sideways, upside down or at various angles – it seems to be saying the same thing: the Good Friday Agreement is as good as it gets, folks!
By this time next week we should know the shape of the Stakeknife investigation.
Already, there has been one delay in the announcement. It had been expected today (Thursday June 2).
The waiting is for the new political members of the Policing Board to be in place.
Those nominations have now been made:
DUP 4 – Nelson McCausland, Brenda Hale, Joanne Bunting and Keith Buchanan.
Sinn Fein 3 – Gerry Kelly, Raymond McCartney and Jennifer McCann.
Consider the latest developments about two atrocities, the Dublin and Monaghan UVF bombs in May 1974 and the Birmingham IRA pub bombs of November the same year. What they have in common is knowledge of the identities of what we must call the alleged perpetrators. The deep frustration caused to individuals and states has not gone away. Kieran Conway now a Dublin solicitor, then the IRA’s “director of intelligence.” has again confirmed what is so well known, that the identities of the IRA killers of Birmingham are in the public domain.
Published: May 27, 2016 Last modified: May 24, 2016
Words of wisdom, or the way out to the wilderness – that’s how Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt’s announcement that his party will go into official opposition in the Stormont Assembly will be judged.
Unlike the Dail in Dublin, which after weeks of wrangling has finally agreed a minority Fine Gael government, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein will dominate the Stormont power-sharing Executive with 66 seats between them out of 108 in the Assembly.
There should be wariness about loyalist paramilitaries attempting to take a leading role in commemorating the Somme, either through erecting flags or other initiatives. Many of those who died during the battle came from working class areas of Ulster, but that’s where any similarity with modern paramilitary groups ends. While loyalists may be well-meaning, they are demeaning the memories of soldiers in the 36th Ulster Division, by trying to link it to their organisations.
Easter, 1916 – a terrible beauty was born. It had a dark and little seen twin; a terrible ignorance of the people of the North.
South of the border, the Easter Rising is almost universally acclaimed. A singular understanding of history imposed, and a singular way of being Irish understood. Professor Michael Laffan wrote:
“When I was a schoolboy… reading Carter’s history of Ireland, more space was devoted to Pearse than to all the other leaders put together or to the Easter Rising. There was almost a state-imposed distortion whereby not only are the Irishmen who fought in the British army in the First World War airbrushed out, the constitutionalist tradition was seen as a dead end.”
Not only did Ireland of the twentieth century airbrush the constitutionalist tradition, they erased the avatar of a loyal Irish-British person and burnt the hard-drive.
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