THOUGHTS FROM AFAR: STALEMATE

THOUGHTS FROM AFAR

 

STALEMATE

The news coming out of Northern Ireland over the last few weeks reads like something from the 1970s, minus the carnage (thankfully). However, in reading the papers, watching the TV, listening to the radio and reading all the online sources, is, to say the least, depressing and disheartening.
On the ground, we witness the proxy bomb attacks in Derry/Londonderry, the brutal kneecapping of a youth in the Creggan, an attempted car hijacking in Belfast. A paramilitary shooting of a young woman in East Belfast, as well as a paramilitary punishment shooting in Coleraine that took place while punishment beatings are supposed to have ended in both communities. A major split has taken place in the UDA with the fear of a violent feud amongst the competing factions.  The situation has deteriorated to the point that “The US government has warned its citizens the threat of terrorism in Northern Ireland is severe and they should exercise vigilance.” (Belfast Telegraph, 27/11/2013)

 

While all this is happening in the streets, political parties and community groups on both sides constantly cite the issues of social, economic and educational deprivation and the marginalization that their respective communities suffer. The problems run even deeper within the Protestant working class where not only does that community experience all these problems, but also believes that its culture and its way of life are under attack from Sinn Fein.  In particular, the removal of the flag, as Winston Irvine, put it on the Nolan show (27/11/2013); was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” (Johnny Harvey had made the same point in December 2012.) This explains the emotional nature of the flag protests and the intense frustration of the Protestant working class with politics.

 

The interesting point above is that leaders and people within both communities realize that the social, economic, and educational factors are the most important issues facing them.  Yet, some within each of these communities continue to pursue policies that do not address those very real and important issues.  Instead, they find themselves locked in a battle with each other over symbolic issues, when the real fight lies in improving the quality of lives for all the people in Northern Ireland.

 

What does all this mean for Northern Ireland?  Four years ago, a good friend of mine, who did and continues to do significant and groundbreaking work on the conflict, told me that the life cycle of “peace” in societies coming out of conflict is approximately 15 years.  Ominously, it is now 15 years on from the Belfast Agreement.  Is my friend right?  Does everything that I have listed above indicate that Northern Ireland is on its way to a new round of sectarian violence?  I do not know.  However, the evidence from 3 December 2012 through today does not present us with a hopeful picture.

 

Having laid out my pessimistic view above, I would argue that Sean Brennan’s pieceCase for Sinn Fein/Progressive Unionist Party alliance (3/11/2013) points the way out of this stalemate and the way forward.  Alex Kane’s recent piece The Dissidents are not going to go way also is important to read in terms of looking for a new way out of this impasse.  Some may view both of their visions as unrealistic, and to a certain extent, I would agree with that criticism.  In particular, Kane’s call for ‘Sinn Fein—and particularly the IRA element of it . . . [to] disown this new generation’ and admit that ‘they themselves backed the wrong strategy’ is more than hopeful.   However, I would make the case that Brennan’s argument makes much more sense than, as David Ervine often put it, the continued “tribal dance” that has brought on this stalemate; the point where the US government is now warning its citizens not to travel to Northern Ireland.

 

Building on Brennan’s work, I would argue that in order to move forward and to avoid a return to the past, as well as address the issues important to both communities, leaders, parties and people from all sides must make tough and unpopular decisions.  Strong and fearless leadership from all parties, in particular those who represent the most disadvantaged in Northern Ireland, must fight the very real battles necessary to address the social and economic problems both working class communities face.

 

All the polls over the last few years strongly demonstrate that a united Ireland is not going to happen anytime soon. There is little immediate desire for it either north or south of the border. That being the case, as Brennan argues, then Sinn Fein, if it really cares about social, economic and educational issues of the working class, needs to spend its time building coalitions with the Protestant community and groups around issues important to them all rather than worrying about taking down symbols it finds offensive.  This would dovetail with the comments made by Dr. John Kyle at the PUP conference in October about the nature of poverty and other social problems in Northern Ireland; that they are not simply ‘Protestant’ or ‘Catholic.’

 

Sinn Fein and the Provisional Republican leadership must also overcome its own “tone-deafness” when dealing with the loyalist and unionist community. This “tone-deafness” only further alienates those that Sinn Fein has to persuade to join them in a United Ireland.  One significant example of this occurred on the 20th anniversary of the Shankill bomb when republicans unveiled a plaque to Thomas Begley, the IRA man who died carrying the bomb in to Frizzel’s fish shop. Gerry Kelly attended the ceremony in Ardoyne and Sean Kelly, the bomber who survived spoke at this commemoration.

 

The address by Declan Kearney to St. Andrews University on 16 October 2013 is another stark example of this.  Speaking a week before the anniversary of the Shankill bomb Kearney stated that “The legacy of the Shankill Bomb will stay with each bereaved family and our entire community for many years. It is a legacy all republicans will share with deep regret and sorrow.” Then he immediately shifted the attention away from the actions of the IRA when he stated that, “In the subsequent days unionist paramilitaries engaged in multiple killings of Catholic civilians.”  Here, Kearney offers no genuine apology and no real acknowledgement of the pain and suffering the IRA caused that day.  Yet, at the same time, Kearney made the point, when talking about this period “that the only solution [to the violence] would be found through dialogue. There was no military solution to the political conflict.”

If dialogue was the way forward then, it is most certainly the only way forward now in this era of political stalemate.  Again, echoing Brennan’s work, I would argue that Sinn Fein, instead of pushing through its agenda of removing symbols of Britishness and focusing only on its goal of a united Ireland, should begin to engage in positive dialogue with the PUP, the UPRG, the Orange Order and the many Protestant community groups.  Why?  Well, as I stated above, if Sinn Fein’s goal is a united Ireland, it is not going to get it through attacking the symbols of the unionist/loyalist community.  The only way for Sinn Fein to achieve a united Ireland is through convincing the unionist/loyalist community it has a future in a united Ireland. The constant attacks on the symbols of Britishness actually push the unionist community further away from any collaboration and into the entrenched positions of “No surrender” and “No compromise”.  In other words, confrontation is counter-productive to the project of a united Ireland unless Sinn Fein’s goal is to marginalize the UPRG, PUP, and the Protestant working class and leave them out of that project.

 

As it was, and to a certain extent still is, the loyalist community is “reactive” in that it responds to provocations from Sinn Fein and/or other parties/groups that it believes is attacking it.  The flag protests are a clear illustration of this.  However, if the Protestant working class wants to have an impact on the future of Northern Ireland then it must move beyond fighting only for its symbols and focus instead on the important issues that it faces every day.  As I argued in Where Do We Go From Here?”  the road of “populism” around the “nation”, “symbols” and tying their future to right wing politics and groups leads nowhere for the Protestant working class.

 

So, what should the Protestant working class do in this situation?  Whenever I think of this question, I go back to the 1977 Combat document called Think or Perish”, written in response to Gusty Spence’s famous 12th July 1977 speech .  In this speech, Spence laid down the strongest challenge yet to unionists, loyalists and republicans to find a way to end the violence and create a peaceful Northern Ireland, stating, “Eventually loyalist and republican must sit down together for the good of our country if we claim to be patriots.  There is no obstacle that is insurmountable.” (Spence Oration, 12/07/2013)

 

Spence’s speech was so powerful that it made those who wrote, “Think or Perish realize that “’Populism’ is no substitute for the truth.” (“Think or Perish”, July 1977)  Taking their cue from Spence, the authors argued that,
It is essential that we cease to cling to old cherished myths and traditions in the face of new realities.  The human intellect must now be employed for the salvation of our fair Province.  We must think our way out of our present critical dilemma.  To continue in meaningless violence is far too dangerous. It is think or die.  Since there will obviously be no victor in the war of attrition the only possible battleground left to reasonable and patriotic men is in the mind and around the conference table.

 

One may well ask what does this have to do with the present situation.  My answer would be everything.  The reality here, as it was in 1977, is that Northern Ireland has once again reached a stalemate, this time a political stalemate.  In getting out of this deadlock, the lessons from Spence’s 1977 speech and “Think or Perish” are absolutely crucial for the future of the loyalist community. Dialogue has to take place and loyalists must participate in that dialogue. Real politics, focusing on social, economic and educational issues as well as a better quality of life for everyone has to replace or at least take precedence over the battle surrounding symbols and parades. Spence recognized this in 1977 when he stated that,

 

We can never go back to the society that once was, even if we had a wish to.  We want employment and decent homes like all human beings, and loyalists will no longer suffer their deprivation stoically lest their outcries be interpreted as disloyalty. (12 July 1977 speech)

 

In other words, for both communities, politics must replace populism.

 

Even while defending the flag and the protestors at Twaddell, Billy Hutchinson said much the same in a Belfast Telegraph interview on the 29/11/2013:

 

There are social problems in working-class communities and until they try to deal with creating jobs and tackling educational underachievement we have a problem.

Those at the Assembly have had quite some time to do it, but we haven’t seen anything.

We need unionists to recognise we need to deal with the past.

Everybody’s views need to be heard. Republicans can’t be allowed to tell us how to deal with the past. Parades and the past are connected to flags and parades. If we don’t, we will continue to talk about parades and the past for 50 years.

 

I know that many will reject some if not all of what Brennan and I have argued and I welcome any and all criticisms.  However, the reality on the ground is that both sides, whether they like it or not, will eventually have to engage with each other in dialogue on the real issues that are important to both communities.  The only other alternative is the current stalemate, along with the political vacuum that breeds extremism on both sides and threatens the peace process.

 

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18 Responses to THOUGHTS FROM AFAR: STALEMATE

  1. Without a doubt the most important thing to come out of these questions from afar, has to be the fact that, these students are now fully aware of the total non-existence of genuine peace and reconciliation here in Northern Ireland.
    You have witnessed at first hand the belligerent, dishonest, devious and totally cowardly output from the professional, anonymous bitter twisted republican, black propagandists, who still refuse to accept the simple fact that their campaign of sectarian, indiscriminate slaughter, of totally innocent civilians by the use of indiscriminate no warning bombs, was not only totally wrong and totally unjustifiable, it was also the main cause of the Loyalist backlash. This backlash resulted in the totally wrong and totally unjustifiable sectarian slaughter of innocent Catholics, by Loyalists.
    No amount of constantly suggested redrawn lines in the sand, will ever bring genuine peace and reconciliation to Northern Ireland, or closure for the innocent victims of the slaughter.
    Especially not while many of those cowardly, constantly lying and totally unrepentant directors of that slaughter, have now farcically become employed by both the British and Irish Governments, as MPs to oversee the moral good Governance, of their surviving victims, all at the expense of their victims and the ordinary decent peaceful tax paying citizens of Northern Ireland.
    I now have two questions for the students of Pittsburgh.
    Would you stand quietly mute, if the directors of the Twin Towers Slaughter were elected by a minority of intolerant extremists, to rule over your Country.
    Would you stand idly by, while the National Standard of your Country was removed from the seat of Governance in your Capital City, and disparagingly described as just a flag, to appease the intolerant minority supporters of the Twin Towers Slaughter.

  2. Charlie,
    You have witnessed at first hand the belligerent, dishonest, devious and totally cowardly output from the professional, anonymous bitter twisted republican, black propagandists,

    Educated guess you are refering to my goodself among others..

    who still refuse to accept the simple fact that their campaign of sectarian, indiscriminate slaughter, of totally innocent civilians by the use of indiscriminate no warning bombs, was not only totally wrong and totally unjustifiable, it was also the main cause of the Loyalist backlash. This backlash resulted in the totally wrong and totally unjustifiable sectarian slaughter of innocent Catholics, by Loyalists.

    These no warning, indiscriminate bombing’s you talk about, are you including the petrol bomb on a catholic bar in the Shankill area in the 60′s badly injuring a protestant pensioner, the electric station bombing’s that left catholic, protestant & dissenter with out power, McGurks pub bomb, the Dublin & Monaghan bombs too. Or simply the Republican no warning bombs…? The main casue of the loyalist back lash towards catholics has more to do with nationalist’s (and some protestants), getting fed up with the un-equalness of the nothern state in the mid to late 60′s and starting a civil rights program. Then the B Specials among others beat them to the ground the same way as happened to black America in and around the same time, for the same reasons the blacks simply wanted equality….Throw into the mix young protestants listening to bigoted politicians….

    I am in total agreement that the slaughter of innocent people was wrong and can’t be justified. Kingsmill was as wrong as the Reavey killings a few days before, The Butchers killing spree was wrong as was the disappeared..War crime’s is what they were.

    No amount of constantly suggested redrawn lines in the sand, will ever bring genuine peace and reconciliation to Northern Ireland, or closure for the innocent victims of the slaughter

    Not while people like yourself constantly hurl school yard insults, which only keeps the flame of sectarianism alive today in the 21C..

    Especially not while many of those cowardly, constantly lying and totally unrepentant directors of that slaughter, have now farcically become employed by both the British and Irish Governments, as MPs to oversee the moral good Governance, of their surviving victims, all at the expense of their victims and the ordinary decent peaceful tax paying citizens of Northern Ireland.

    I am assuming you are talking about the shinners and Gerry Adams, Martin mcGuinness (to name but two). What, that they both lied and killed to get to where they are today? Tell me and the world something we don’t already know…………….While you are at it, what position does Winkie Irivne hold within the UVF these days?

    now have two questions for the students of Pittsburgh.
    Would you stand quietly mute, if the directors of the Twin Towers Slaughter were elected by a minority of intolerant extremists, to rule over your Country.
    Would you stand idly by, while the National Standard of your Country was removed from the seat of Governance in your Capital City, and disparagingly described as just a flag, to appease the intolerant minority supporters of the Twin Towers Slaughter.

    If you followed American politics thats what happened. The minority voted in George Bush jr (with the help from his brother in Dade county). And George & Co had more than a hand in bringing down WTC 1, 2 & 7..And yes Ameicans stood idly by while it happened. Now if you actually want to believe it was 19 mad taliban armed with box cutters etc, I’m not going to stop you. You can belive what you want..

    As for this flag buisness (straight Q), if it (Union Flag) is meant to represent the Union, why isn’t there anything remotely Welsh on it?

    Charlie, re-read the article again, it talks about uniting people all you talk about is division.

  3. Just another stinking, anonymous and cowardly shovel full of dishonesty and typical republican evasion, from the usual sadly pathetic, cowardly dishonest, republican atheist, black propagandist, sadly still totally lacking in the courage to publish his cowardly real name.

  4. A pluralistic society needs to acknowledge its symbols. But can’t be one-sided. Why isn’t acknowledgment that almost half the population of NI fly the tricolor in the mix for the unionist/loyalist community? Republicans/Nationalists want some parity here which is not the same as surrender. The north is not a monolithic state – it never was but majority Unionist politicians are happy enough to continue to feed that delusion as they have for over 100 years. What I have found striking about the flag protest is that the flying of the Union Jack in Belfast would be no different than it is in most other parts of the UK. What is of more concern is how this has exposed such a lack of confidence / fear of the future in the unionist community that borders on paranoia. It is stoked by unionist politicians who have offered nothing of substance for constituents except a fear that NI would be “less British” if it couldn’t fly “its” flag 24/7.
    Until the Belfast accord and all that went along with signing the agreement, the nationalist community was under-represented and I don’t agree that it should be up to Sinn Fein to be the only adult in the room. If that’s the case, well we do have a long road ahead, yet that is what the writers suggest. Yes, there is the dire need to get past symbols and do something much more meaningful for the entire community. But why isn’t tolerance ever brought up? I get the sense that the major unionist parties won’t play ball for the benefit of their constituents if it means working with Sinn Fein where the Shinners would get any credit even if it meant half of the credit going to UUP, DUP, etc.

    There is more than enough blame or credit depending on your perspective, to go around when it comes to the past. UDA, IRA, UVF, RUC, INLA, SAS – there are heroes or villains in all.
    But politicians should be kicked out of office if they refuse to do the political work for which they were elected. Don’t use the current US Congress as a model for how to run a government. Yes, the shinners want a united Ireland, yes, it won’t happen anytime soon. Yeah, they probably need to make a better argument about why it would be a good idea for the whole island to have one government if they want any kind of buy in and that is an argument that is still in its infancy. Britain has thrown only bones to Ulster – nothing more since they partitioned the island. for those who feel strongly about their Britishness, you are still Irish to the ordinary Englishman. If those who feel British want the Union Jack – so be it but accept the Tricolor and move on.

  5. Charlie,

    Get used to the idea that I post under the name ‘frankie’. As for the rest of the clap trap that spurts from your mouth, save it for someone else. It goes out my right ear quicker than it enters my left..

    Why are the PUL community afraid (for want of a better word) of a UI? What has the PUL community gained from ‘Blighty’……………….?

    • It has now became perfectly clear, even as far away as Pittsburgh that, our cowardly, anonymous republican, compulsively lying black propagandist, little pet poodle ankle snapper, is never going to be able to summon up the moral or physical courage, to out himself. What a poor sad pathetic little whimp.

    • Jimmy Taylor

      Frankie -

      I visit this blog not simply because I find the articles interesting, but because the comments following them are frequently even more so…the “More Questions From Pittsburgh University” one being a good example. You know, until reading that I genuinely did not know that it was UDA prisoners who rescued and treated injured republicans during the LK fire. Every account I have read previously has stated it was UVF/RHC prisoners who did so. Even the recent very well-researched book on the Stickies, The Lost Revolution, says as much. Unfortunately that very interesting and informative exchange of comments by ex-prisoners was disrupted by you, again, as a result of your baiting of Charlie, and it looks like this is heading the same way.

      It must have been clear to you long ago that you were not going to get the answers you wanted out of him, yet you persist in your attempts to bait, antagonise, and button-push in each comment section. At this point, with your cheap shots about Kincora, homosexuality, and Bo McClelland, it is little more than trolling. People who want questions answered generally don’t frame them in a way that makes them look suspiciously like an insult. You are beginning to spoil it for me and, I suspect, others too. You are never going to get anything out of Charlie, except a rise, and if that is your intent then it might be better to leave before someone is forced to moderate the comments.

  6. Welcome Sarah ??????????? from?????????.
    As you are probably aware, practically every country in the world is pluralistic, yet that does not stop the vast majority of minority communities in these pluralistic countries, from treating the democratically chosen
    National Standards of these countries with due respect. (America being the perfect example)
    The National Standard of the United Kingdom, has always been flown all year round from the City Hall in Belfast the Capital City of Northern Ireland, in much the same way as the National Standard of the Republic of Ireland,( an even more pluralistic country than Northern Ireland) is flown, all year round in Dublin without complaint from minority communities.
    It is important to remember that, to appease militant republicans, the flying of the National Standard from Belfast City Hall was the subject of a Public research report, conducted by the equalities commission.
    Despite the massive result in favour of the retention of the existing practice, the totally unelected equality commission, presented a totally gerrymandered report to the City Hall admitting that, although the vast majority of respondents favoured the retention of the existing practice that, they themselves,( the totally unelected equalities commission) favoured change.
    The head in the sand, peace at any price, totally untrustworthy and undemocratic alliance party, then misused this gerrymandered equality commission report as an excuse, to collude with the IRA on Belfast City Council to restrict the flying of the National Standard. ( not much tolerance displayed there, by your fraudulent adults, Sarah.)
    You are perfectly correct Sarah, when you suggest that the pathetic Unionist politicians have stopped playing ball with the IRA terrorists at Stormont, but its not because of the intolerance that you suggest.
    It is clearly because they now fear for the future of the little family political, business empires, which they have misused the conflict to create through their exploitation of the Loyalist Working Class.
    These pathetic, fraudulent Unionist politicians now realise that the Loyalist Working Class, have reached the end of their one way street, of unreturned reconciliation.
    Again you are correct Sarah, when you suggest that the present politicians should be kicked out of office.
    Ann’s law did not go nearly far enough because it only applies to political advisers, no convicted terrorist or counter terrorist( Loyalist or republican) should be eligible for election in any truly decent democratic society.
    Terrorists and counter terrorists like myself, must be courageous enough to accept responsibility for our actions, realise that our day is done, and stand aside to allow an untainted by violence, much younger generation of young Northern Irelander’s to create, a much better and much more tolerant Northern Ireland for the benefit their own Children.
    FOOTNOTE.
    In future if all comments, regardless of loyalties, are concluded with the genuine full name and relevant district of the commenter, it would give creditability and accountability to the comment.
    It would also limit the ability of black propagandists from all sources ( including the security forces) to infiltrate the site.
    Charlie Freel , Dundonald.

    9

  7. Charlie,

    What respect to the Union flag is being shown by Loyalists today? A simple walk through Tigers Bay, The Shankill, Village area etc and you’ll see the Union flag hanging from lamp posts, torn and tattered by the elements. When there are protest’s about the flag or any other protest within the loyalist community the pictures beamed arcoss this rock show it emblazoned with the letters of various loyalist terrorist organisations. If you want people to respect the Union flag, then surely the best way foward for the PUL community is to have respect in it first before they shout from the roof tops. What respect is shown to the Union flag by drunken youths wrapping it around themselves, using smaller versions as masks and attacking the crown forces?

    Part of the problem charlie is the o6c is no longer a protestant state for a protestant people. The undemocratic Alliance party was democatically elected. The fact that the PUL community through apathy, polictical mis-management, no strategy or other led to MS Long getting elected before Peter Robinson , the blame lies squarley at the PUL door step. No one else’s.

    What you are complaining about, I can actually see merit in. Big house Unionism is riding rough shod over your community. But haven’t they always. As I said in a previous post, anytime in the past when the going got tough within working class protestant communities the first to jump ship were your political masters. Yet time and time again the same faces got voted in come election time. So for some of them to amass small fortunes, then who’s faults that? Some wee nameless taig(d form Ardoyne?

    Recently on the TPQ a former PIRA volunteer floated an idea..along the same lines as you said Terrorists and counter terrorists like myself, must be courageous enough to accept responsibility for our actions, realise that our day is done, and stand aside to allow an untainted by violence, much younger generation of young Northern Irelander’s to create, a much better and much more tolerant Northern Ireland for the benefit their own Children.

    The TPQ poster suggested that the leadership of the PRM stand down and let the younger generation take the reins, while taking counsel from fromer combatants in order not to make the same mistakes twice or three times for the betterment of the place…

    Whats wrong charlie instead of having a protest about flags or other but trade unionists on both sides marching together for bread & butter issues..?

  8. I’m a Yank so I know it’s easier to speak from over here but here’s another thought – NI due to it’s unfortunately unique political history, is in need of all political parties going above and beyond what is comfortable and what is precedented in my opinion because of such deep divisions and mistrust. The flag standard may not work in NI as it is – this is where compromise must come into play. would flying both flags be acceptable? in a united Ireland would that be acceptable? I don’t know – it might help a bit if the symbolism is what gives people some comfort and an acknowledgment that there are at this point, 2 communities with almost fairly equal populations that live behind the “peace” walls.
    the larger issue is who runs the govt. and there are people who you call terrorists in government because, I believe, they want to address the wrongs of the past – as best they can – and that may not be satisfactory to many. I believe that many in either IRA or UVF for example, would not have joined if there wasn’t some strong desire to address what they believed to be injustice. Not that I necessarily agree with their perspective. Not all – God knows, but many men and women didn’t decide to do what they did because there was easy money in it. These same people should be given a chance to better their country in a way that is legal and non-violent. those with the “clean hands” who were in govt previously let others do the dirty work. At least you know where those, you call terrorist, stand. That mightn’t be easy to accept I know but this is why the accepted precedent just can’t stand.
    FYI – I do have strong republican leanings which likley grew out exposure to discrimination in my country as an Irish Catholic growing up. But I’m the product of a “mixed” marriage – Orange Order on one side (we have a cookbook) and IRA/Fenian on the other (no cookbook that i’m aware of). I love both sides of my family deeply but there was certainly a sense that my mom married “down” when she married my dad. this may not be meaningful in the larger sense but it have tried to see both sides for a long time. I don’t know who all reads this site, or posts – I always assume that if it’s not NSA it’s MI-6/5. If people fee more comfortable using another name then it’s important to acknowledge if you don’t think they are a cop, that there maybe concern for safety if they live in the north?? I guess if they are a cop – same thing.

  9. Hello again Sarah, going by your first contribution and then reinforced by your second, you seem to me under the mistaken impression, that slightly more than half the people in Northern Ireland fly the National Standard of Northern Ireland, and slightly less than half the population fly the tri-colour of the republic.
    The fact is that, the majority of people in Northern Ireland fly no flag at all and that before the IRA and the alliance party, totally misused the gerrymandered equality report to insult the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland including many Roman Catholics, by the undemocratic lowering of the National Standard, even the vast majority of Unionists no longer bothered to fly the National Standard, even in July.
    Now thanks to the intolerance of the IRA, and the treacherous alliance party, with regard to the National Standard, there have been hundreds of thousands of National Standards erected on houses and roads all over Northern Ireland, many of them erected by very decent moderate people who have become infuriated by this betrayal of their democratically chosen, National Identity.
    You also seem to be under the false impression that nearly half the population of Northern Ireland, would be in favour of a United Ireland, sorry Sarah but again you are very wrong, countless recent opinion polls have shown that not even a majority of Roman Catholics, would vote for a United Ireland. So a United Ireland is probably never going to happen within the life-span of anyone alive today.
    As for your suggestion that the National Standard of the Republic, a country which has no economic, security, or financial input or responsibility for Northern Ireland, could be flown alongside the National Standard of Northern Ireland, this notion would be totally unacceptable to the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.
    As for your comments about long gone by injustice’s for Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland, it is important to remember that, this occurred in the past at a time when Protestants in the Republic of Ireland plus Roman Catholics and their families, who had served in the two World Wars in the British Army and returned home, were all systematically and institutionally, officially victimised and discriminated against by the Republic’s Government and the Roman Catholic Church, to such shameful extent, that the Protestant population of the Republic has been nearly completely ethnically cleansed from the Republic.
    As for your justification for the inclusion of barbaric terrorists in Government, let me assure you Sarah as an ex- leading terrorist, that a democratically elected terrorist will always be a terrorist at heart and a much greater danger to democracy, than a thousand non-elected terrorist’s.
    User’s of this site need to remember that, this site is primarily a UVF/RHC ex-prisoners site, it is a site reserved for Loyalists who were prepared, rightly or wrongly, to put their freedom and their lives, where their mouths where during the conflict. Visitors to the site are welcome, but beware we do not suffer fools or cowards lightly. Hence my request that if you are wishing to comment, please insure that, in the interests of creditability, accountability and security, that you have the courage and the honesty, to put your real full name and district, to what you write.
    As you will probably have noticed, there has been a cowardly, compulsively dishonest, republican black propagandist, trying to infiltrate the site, by making totally cowardly and totally un-proven allegations, against the dead. Cowardly, gutless scumbags like that, will continue to be treated with the contempt that their cowardice deserves.
    Charlie Freel. Dundonald.

  10. I have to challenge Charlie on the support for Ann’s Law. Especially when those behind it represent so much of the Grand old Duke of York mentality.
    How many former terrorists have went on to become leading statesmen? Particularly in former British colonies. The term terrorist is relative and can be equally applied to the likes of George Bush and Tony Blair when they invaded Iraq for so called weapons of mass destruction. Why did they not go in to North Korea? The blanket bombing of Dresden was a terrorist act as was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It doesn’t matter how the victors justify their actions. To those on the receiving end, they are acts of terror.
    I have no problem agreeing that Carol Cullan was on one of her wind up missions when she hired that specific adviser but I am afraid that the Ann’s Law reaction is unjust and hypocritical, with the potential to give the aggrieved justification to return to violence. The UUP, TUV or DUP could have employed one of those ex-paras that had been involved in Bloody Sunday as an adviser in response to Carol. Who knows maybe they have.

  11. Until you have the courage to put your name to what you write, your comments will be viewed as totally lacking in creditability and accountability, thereby rendering it totally unworthy of a serious reply.
    Charlie Freel. Dundonald.

  12. Charlie,
    Implicit in the converse of your comment is that I lack courage. A tactic you seem found of using to goad reactions. It’s unfortunate that those out protesting do not follow your wisdom and not answer the anonymous calls to protest.
    Unfortunately circumstances prevent me from revealing my identity but I was advised that if I wanted to remain truly anonymous, I should use a different name on this site.
    My initial reaction to your goad was to respond by saying that I probably spent longer on the boards than you did in the Kesh. As far as lacking courage goes, I think we need to define what courage is, so that we understand that we are talking the same language.
    The fact that posts here are filtered by an adjudicator should be sufficient to establish credibility and accountability.
    If your comments and views lack substance and you cannot defend them without emotive reactions and copping out when challenged because you cannot identify the challenger. It tends to weaken your position.

  13. Dogs, I agree with your post on what exactly is or isn’t a terrorist. It is to grey a word. As Billy Joe said the ‘fleg” protests et el. are simply red herrings. The real problem is both communities haven’t a pot to piss in and it’s only going to get worse. And the folks on the hill are using that as an excuse to keep the divisions to simply line their own pockets.

    What happened between 1968-1998 happened. People can debate about until the cows come home and then some more.

    What is needed is for parties who claim to have working class socialist issues as their main concern to
    start leading by example.

    Who out there thinks Martin McGuiness is actually recieving an industrial wage (what is an industrial wage BTW..I’ know what the min. wage is and the living wage…). Or could Peter Robinson live for 3mths on JSA????

    Very few of the folks on the hill live in the real world. They are several rungs further up the ladder than most of us..

    At the end of the day does it matter if you are catholic, protestant or dissenter…? Is protesting for a flag etc really going to put food on your table, pay for heating, buy your kids a new pair of shoes…?

    Protest for working class issues and things might change. Protesting for flags, against the RUC/PSNI, no one is going to listen. They’ll pay lip service, not much else.

  14. I can’t disagree with anything in your last post Frankie.

  15. Thanks Dogs,

    My take is simple, people complain about their elected reps. day in day out. If they don’t deliver first time around then why vote them in for second or third term???? There is no logic in it.

    Maybe if no one voted then then who ever is standing loses their quota and there is no Gov. Belguim got away with no gov. for months. People still worked, benefits got paid, there was milk and bread in the shops…

    Or simply vote in fresh faces with new ideas. Since I was a pup, it has been the same people on both sides making decisions on how to screw each and everyone of us…Why not turn the tables?

    If the PUL community think that the PUP will protect their intrests better than the TUV, DUP, UUP etc..vote them in. Today in the nationalist part of west Belfast & Ardoyne there are people about to stand and take on the Shinners..

    But protesting about a flag and hoping it is going to get any result isn’t going to happen. Now if trade unionist etc marched for workers rights (both sides of the oxmorons marching not for political reasons but working class issues) then and only then does anyone have a chance of making changes..

    Just imagine for 30seconds both sides hold marches the same day, same time etc..for working class issues and all join up at the city hall…No politics (not green & orange ones)..I bet the folks on the hill would take notice quicker…

  16. @Jimmy Taylor,

    At this point, with your cheap shots about Kincora, homosexuality, and Bo McClelland, it is little more than trolling. People who want questions answered generally don’t frame them in a way that makes them look suspiciously like an insult.

    What cheap shots? I think asking why Kincora isn’t being properly investigated is a legit Q. And what I said about it has been in the public domain for years…Maybe if people asked direct questions instead of asking in the ’3rd person’ they might get the answers they are looking for. If I want to understand from a republican point of view, I’ll log on to a republican site and ask them in the same way I ask things here.

    And sometimes the questions or points I raise might be uncomfortable for some, even unpalatable. I didn’t make the conflict. I didn’t prolong it either. I simply grew up in the middle of it and I’m doing my best to understand what happened. But if you read charlies posts, then the whole sorry mess was (99%) down to the provisonals and we both know thats not any where near the truth.

    What I said to charlie was factual. I didn’t make anything up. It is all in the public domain. Maybe the ‘charges’ you accused me of can be applied to charlie.

    I’l simply either ignore charlies replies or re-word things so they don’t take away your or anyones elses enjoyment.