The Kesh

  This great photo has only recently come to light. There have been a series of reunions of loyalist ex- prisoners  which has prompted the emergence of photographs and stories.  It is amazing to see the friendships that still exist between ex-prisoners, in some cases after a break of over 35 years.  This photo was taken from the roof of the middle hut in compound 21 in the early 1980s. The UVF/RHC huts were named after World War 1 battles. The middle hut was named Passchendaele and was the best hut in the whole camp.  Also, in 21 were Messines and St Quentin. This photo was taken looking north across Phase 6; the top of the compound system of the Kesh.  To the left of the photo and out of view is the wall that separated us from the H Block complex.  The photo gives a good idea of the tangle of wire fences, wooden posts, hundreds of lights, barbed wire and huts. Read more »


Axing’ of controversial commentator Jude Collins by BBC NI welcomed.

Political commentator Jude Collins has been told to stop wallowing in self-pity after he claims to have been dropped by the BBC over his views. Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth suggested instead that Mr Collins should reflect on his comments heaped more hurt on innocent victims of terrorism and their families. Mr Collins, who was a regular freelance contributor to Radio Ulster programmes such as Talkback and The Nolan Show told the Belfast Telegraph that he believed the BBC have cut his air time after comments about IRA victim Patsy Gillespie, a civilian Army worker who was forced to drive a bomb to Coshquin barracks in 1990. Read more »


East Belfast ‘hub’ row exposes the institutionalised sectarianism directed at the unionist community

“Horrified”. That is how Labour MP Kate Hoey described the news of masked contractors invading a community sports facility in East Belfast to tear down a self-funded hub, designed to provide education and mental health provision for young people, many of whom come from areas of social deprivation. Read more »


The ‘Self-Inflicted’ Death Of Maze Medical Officer Dr David Ross: ‘The Eleventh Hunger Striker’

The late IRA commander and leader of the 1980 prison fast for political status, Brendan Hughes called him ‘the eleventh hunger striker’, and believed that Dr David Ross, the Maze prison’s medical officer, had been so deeply affected by the deaths of the ten IRA prisoners on the second protest in 1981 that, five years later, he took his own life.

In sharp contrast, Hughes’ colleague, Bobby Sands, who was the first IRA prisoner to die on the 1981 hunger strike, disagreed. Dr Ross, he told Hughes, was ‘a mind manipulator’ and he did not trust him. Ever since, their argument has divided the IRA prison population of the day. Read more »


Horror at the school gate…

A man was gunned down and killed in the community where I live yesterday. He was in a parked car outside his son’s school on the Glen Road at hometime, waiting to give his son a lift. While he did so a man walked up to his car and shot him 5 or 6 times. He died immediately.

To put this horror in context you’d need to know the area where this murder took place. That part of the Glen Road has two big secondary schools sitting opposite each other. There are hundreds of children who go there and who were leaving the schools at the time. There is a primary school 400 yards down the road and children would have been walking up the road from their after-schools clubs. Read more »


Ruth Dudley Edwards: Should we care what the UDA, UVF and the Red Hand Commando think about the Brexit backstop?

Talking to the spokesmen for paramilitaries gives them a status they don’t deserve, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards.

I see loyalist ex-paramilitaries are unhappy with Mrs May’s deal. We are told by the chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), which is supported by the Red Hand Commando, the UDA and the UVF, that recently they met the Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Office to explain their objections. Read more »


Haunting Soldier

Pathetic and disgraceful, but all too typical of the mindset of some fringe republicans and others. They have been doing this for a century. It isn’t isolated. They cannot cope with monuments that reflect viewpoints they disagree with. Throughout the 20th century they destroyed all the monuments across Dublin that reflected the Unionist heritage of the city despite there being no public support to remove the monuments. The blew up the George II statue in St Stephen’s Green, the William III statue in College Green, the Gough statue in the Phoenix Park, and most notoriously Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street – all artistically fine monuments whatever about their origins, and for which there was no support for their removal. Read more »


The River Somme

The River Somme.


Is it in Kent? Somebody said?

 No, it’s in France, its full of the dead.

Is it up north, or down in the south?

No, It’s a river, its wide in the mouth.

Is it quite young, can it grow old?

No, it’s fast flowing, its dashing and bold.

Is it blue water, does it turn white?

No, Its seen battle, its darker than night.

Is it meandering, maybe runs straight?

No, it’s in conflict, its war was called Great.

Is it through low land, flat on both sides?

No, it’s where men died, its secret it hides.

Is it still mentioned, talked of today?

No, its all over, its memories are grey.

Is it guide books, wrote down in French?

No, it’s broke both banks, it’s flooded the trench.

Is it for your eyes, a must to be seen?

No, it’s horrendous, it’s no soldiers dream.

Is it malignant, will it catch on?

No, it’s benign, it’s the Somme.


Courtesy of Volunteer RB.

Written in an English prison cell.



Paddy Fox, the UVF and a missing notebook

Every so often I come across a story that is more compelling for the questions it raises and about what is not included in the story. There’s a whole world of journalism from the Financial Times right down to the sensational and salacious papers.  Some journalists are more concerned with the truth than others. And some journalists are concerned with the facts of a matter.  Its important of course not to mix the two of them up. And in our wee country we know that the Irish News has its main audience in one community and the Newsletter has its audience in the other community.  Stories are often slanted to their own readerships. Read more »


Ballymurphy inquest: Claims UVF sniper fired at civilians

A claim has been repeated that a UVF sniper may have contributed to the deaths of some of the 10 people killed in Ballymurphy in 1971.

The inquest into their deaths has heard of a so-called “Witness X”, otherwise known as an “interlocutor”.

They have provided further information to the coroner stating that a UVF sniper was active in the area at the time of some of the deaths. Read more »