Archive for January, 2013

The McGurk’s Bar Bombing; Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth by Ciarán MacAirt – A Review
January 29, 2013

I remember Massingbird’s most famous case, the Case of the Bloody Knife. A man was found next to a murdered body, he had the knife in his hand, thirteen witnesses had seen him stab the victim, and when the police arrived he said, “I’m glad I killed the bastard.” Massingbird not only got him off, he got him knighted in the New Year’s honours list, and the relatives of the victim had to pay to have the blood washed out of his jacket.”                                                                                     Captain Blackadder – Corporal Punishment

Late one night, towards the end of July 1922, a cousin of my mother’s was asleep in bed at his home in rural South Derry. A large group of armed men surrounded his house, broke down the back door, dragged him out onto the nearby railway line and shot him in the head. Pieces of his nightshirt were found, matted with his blood, on the barbed-wire next to the line. There were witnesses to this heinous but all too common assassination. They included two sisters, also relatives of both my mother and the victim. They told the inquest in no uncertain terms that the perpetrators were wearing the uniforms and carrying the weapons of the Ulster Special Constabulary.

It was only one of half a dozen murders carried out by this roving militia in the village that summer but the combined forces of the fledgling state ensured that, not only were the ‘Specials’ cleared of any involvement and doubt cast over the character of the deceased but several possible scenarios were introduced to stymie any chance of a fair or thorough investigation. No one was ever questioned, much less charged or convicted in connection with any of the murders and black propaganda suggested everything from phantom columns of Loyalists to IRA ‘own goals’. And so the state was born.

Jump forward almost 50 years and a few dozen miles to the east. In the late evening of December 4th 1971, a bomb was placed in the outer porch of The Tramore Bar on the corner of North Queen Street and Great Georges Street in North Belfast, a pub known locally as McGurk’s. The device exploded, ripping the heart from the building and ultimately taking the lives of 15 people; men, women and children. Some of the victims were crushed to death by the collapsed masonry, suffocating in dust filled coffins; others were burned to death as the gas flames crept through the debris. It was the worst massacre of civilians in the country since the Nazi blitz.


As if the devastation for survivors and relatives wasn’t bad enough, in truth their nightmare was only beginning. For whatever reason, or combination of motives, the Police, the military, the governments of NI and Britain and a large number of local politicians immediately decided to ignore all the evidence to the contrary and set about creating and perpetuating the lie that, not only was the bomb the work of The IRA but that the dead, many of whom were yet to be officially identified, were involved with a plot to detonate the device elsewhere.

It’s not my job to disprove these allegations and in actual fact, it wasn’t Ciarán MacAirt’s aim either. He didn’t have to do that part. The foreword of the book by Colin Wallace, a member of the British Army’s covert psychological operations unit who was on duty the night of the massacre, tells us clearly that the authorities knew straight away that the attack was the work of Loyalists. Add in the eye-witness accounts from the night, the nature of the injuries sustained and of course, the eventual admission of guilt from UVF member Robert James Campbell and there should be no further discussion.

What MacAirt does, and does so thanks to years of painstaking and often surreptitious research, is examine from where the disinformation emanated, the thinking behind the collective policies which took advantage of the dead and sets it in the context of both the atmosphere of the time and the wider conflicts in which Britain was involved before and since 1971.

This is not however, simply an investigative study of the dirty war, it is also a human story. MacAirt’s own Grandmother, Kathleen Irvine died in McGurk’s bar and her husband was seriously injured. His family, like all the others, lived under a black-ops cloud and he transmits effectively the awful torment which permeated their lives throughout The Troubles.

Appreciating that the tragedy was not merely a starting point, the author also gives us a most concise synopsis of what led to the outbreak of civil strife in the north of Ireland in the late 1960s. One would easily forgive him if he had offered a partial version of events but he managed to retain a refreshing balance throughout.  Indeed, in an attempt to help us understand the state attitudes which prevailed, he writes with a determined but less than aggressive dignity which the various statutory agencies scarce deserve.

What stands out above all else in The McGurk’s Bar Bombing however, is the sheer level of sourced research presented, backed up and cross referenced throughout, all in an articulate style which never strays into over-elaboration or confusion. This is not likely to be the only print of this enlightening book as although all the questions are asked, there is no doubt that many of them remain unanswered. Undoubtedly, MacAirt may have some of these answers already but is restricted from bringing them forward as yet but an on-going intransigence ensures his quest for closure might never be fully realised. Given the promise he made to his grandfather many years ago, he can be rightly proud of how far he has come and it is unlikely that without him, we would have got as close to the full picture as we have.

In 1963, almost 40 years after my mother’s cousin was murdered in the dead of a warm July night, the much admired Sailor, Businessman and Author, Wallace Clark MBE, a former officer in the Ulster Special Constabulary, wrote in ‘Guns in Ulster’ of how appalled he was at the suggestion that his men were involved in the pogroms around South Derry. Not offering any evidence to the contrary, he suggested,

“Records of local events in 1922 are far from complete. Many of the deeds are in any case best forgotten.”

40 years after the terrible events in McGurk’s Bar, the families still had to contend with a shamefully edited report from The Police Ombudsman’s office which, once amended, was in turn rejected and disregarded, not by contemporaries of the guilty but by Matt Baggott, the current Chief Constable of the supposedly reformed Police Service of Northern Ireland.

“The Ombudsman’s report is the latest of a series of historical investigations into this outrage. Other reports have reached differing judgements regarding the initial RUC investigation. None of them have concluded that there was any evidence of investigatory bias”

Ominously for The Chief Constable and anyone else who might still attempt to absolve any branch of the state from the blame which it deserves for its role before and after the massacre, Ciarán MacAirt is clearly not finished with them just yet and somewhere near the foundations of this house of cards, he’s kicking at a lot more than simply the hurt which he and his family suffered in McGurk’s Bar, deep in the heart of Belfast’s ‘Murder Mile’. Watch this space.

                                                                If love is loss – no less

                                                                The fear of losing love –

                                                                In absence what is left


                                                                But emptiness

                                                                From naught, begotten of

                                                                Some elemental shade…


                                                                                                 Ciaran MacAirt


Visit –

5intheface – 29/01/2013

After the ULA – What’s Next for the Socialist Party and CAHWT ? A View from the Socialist Party
January 27, 2013



The Socialist Party originally initiated discussions on the establishment of the United Left Alliance (ULA) because it felt that the attacks on working class people being launched by FF/FG/LP/IMF/ECB had the potential to lead to a widespread campaign of opposition to austerity. The potential could have existed for working class people to draw the political conclusions necessary that would lead them to join a left party. The only way of testing this hypothesis was to stick a toe in the water (in the form of the ULA) and see what happened.

The Socialist Party was never remotely interested in in a simple regroupment / coalescing of existing left groups and individuals. History, recent and far-flung, has amply demonstrated that such a regroupment does nothing to advance the cause of the working class and inevitably collapses as individual components and individuals attempt to make some political capital out of the carcass.

The Socialist Party put a significant amount of work, collectively with others but often on an individual basis, organising meetings and attempting to get people involved in the ULA. After good attendances at the initial ULA public meetings – few people joined. The reason for this is simple – working class people simply did not draw the necessary political conclusions that there was a need for them to join and get active in a left party. This is the reality – I wish it were different, but it is not – and all the fancy wishful desires among some people that if this had been done or that had been done (and its all the Socialist Party fault they weren’t) things would be different, is just sheer nonsense. While left organisations can assist working class people in developing a political consciousness – they cannot ram it down people’s throats and make them ‘believers’ (for want of a better word).

‘Bolshevik,’ an ‘unaligned’ ULA member, writing on,  has repeatedly stated that there is an inconsistency between the Socialist Party’s attitude to the ULA and its attitude to the CAHWT – There is not. The CAHWT is not a political movement – it is a single issue campaign. It has drawn a new layer of activists into political activity but the vast majority of CAHWT members and the wider public who are boycotting the Household Charge still have not drawn the political conclusions that would lead them to becoming politically active in the ULA.   Opposition to the Household Charge required people not to register and not to pay – it did not require them to actively engage in political activity.

Those activists that did attend demonstrations, protests etc did not draw the necessary political conclusions (at least most of them) that would lead them to joining the ULA – so how could anyone expect those who weren’t active beyond boycotting the charge to join the ULA ? The Socialist Party did correctly identify the CAHWT as the vehicle most likely to be the instrument of opposition to austerity (passive as it is) and were also correct in putting the resources necessary into the campaign to make it as effective as it was.

The Socialist Party has suggested that it is possible – no more than possible – that the upcoming campaign against the property tax and water charges offers the potential – nothing more than that – to develop the political consciousness of working class people so that they draw the necessary conclusions that would lead them to joining a new left party. This campaign will, by necessity, be qualitatively different to the campaign against the Household Charge.

Because of the approach taken by the government the passive resistance nature that was effective in the CAHWT campaign is no longer viable. The upcoming campaign requires significantly greater mobilisation, activism, confrontation with the State etc., if it is to have a possibility of success. It will require large numbers of people who to this point have been passive participants to become active in the campaign. It opens up the possibility of the development of a generalised campaign against austerity, the possibility of running anti-austerity election candidates (and that is just one part of the campaign) and the possibility that through active struggle a section of the working class will draw the necessary political conclusions that they need to move into political activity by joining and building a new left party. This may or may not be successful – but the Socialist Party will strive to create the best possible opportunity for it to happen.

A key factor in the current situation is the lack of struggle in the trade unions. The union leadership have managed to portray the shambolic Croke Park Agreement as a victory for trade unionists – ably abetted by the establishment, the media, right-wing economic commentators etc. In practically every public sector workplace the right-wing elements have managed to suppress opposition to Croke Park on the grounds that the cuts would be far worse without it and we couldn’t win anyway because public opinion is anti-public sector. What happens with Croke Park 2 we will have to wait and see – but without industrial struggle an added barrier to political consciousness exists. Similarly in the private sector – when struggle has emerged it has been around job losses, but instead of fighting to maintain jobs, workers have struggled for better redundancy payments. An added safety valve is mass emigration which is now at the levels of post-famine Ireland.

Large numbers of people on the Left grossly underestimate the importance of class consciousness / political consciousness. Without drawing political conclusions on a class basis, it is impossible for working class people to engage in political activity on a socialist basis. I have been a member of the Socialist Party and its forerunner for more than 30 years – there are only a handful of Socialist Party members who have been involved with the organisation longer than I have (and unfortunately for personal reasons I am not remotely as politically active as I want to be). What is the point of my reminiscing ?  Despite the fact that consciousness had started to develop to a small degree, political / class consciousness is significantly lower (and I mean significantly) that it was in the late 1970s / early 1980s. There were major industrial battles during this period (post office strike, tax marches, Ranks flour mills and Clondalkin paper mills) etc. Workers losing their jobs occupied not for better redundancy but demanded nationalisation to save their jobs – dozens of workplace occupations occurred in a four/five year period. These industrial battles educated and politicised an entire layer of working class activists (including many of the present day ‘non-aligned’ elements in the ULA). The Militant Tendency trebled in size in two years as small numbers drew revolutionary conclusions. The level of consciousness was significantly higher than the present day and was drawn out primarily by the major industrial battles of the period (period that saw Lynch being dumped as Taoiseach and three general elections in the space of 20 months).

That is the difference – people continue to grossly underestimate how far working class consciousness has been thrown back by the collapse of Stalinism (and the consequential gallop to the right by Stalinist trade union activists) plus the major and ongoing ideological offensive by the bourgeois classes against socialist ideology.   The only thing that will break that trend and reverse the low level of consciousness is a reemergence of class struggle on a significant scale and involving large numbers of working class activists.   Greece has entered this phase – Ireland at this point most definitely has not. The campaign against the property tax and water charges may prove to be the catalyst – or it may not – time will tell.

Last point – the Socialist Party has and will continue to be criticised for its statement yesterday. The Socialist Party made its decision because it saw the reality of the situation – the ULA no longer has a role to play in developing working class consciousness (for a variety of reasons but primarily because the working class didn’t join). The Socialist Party has been open and honest in its assessment (whether you agree with it or not) and has put its cards on the table. The Socialist Party will continue to work at building opposition to austerity and to attempt to assist working class activists to draw the necessary political conclusions that will lead to the building of a left wing political movement.

Jolly Red Giant   27 Jan 2013


Senator McAleese: Will You Play Forfeits? Reconciliation with the Women of Magdalene Laundries
January 22, 2013

Does anyone doubt that the Magdalene Laundries existed? Does anyone really believe the Irish Government in its uneasily shifting stance that ‘officially’ the Irish State knew nothing of these ‘private’ institutions?

At the very least there is a false note here and this was pointed out by the UNCAT Committee on Torture where official Ireland found itself over a year ago arguing that Ireland knew nothing of the Magdalene Laundries ‘officially’.

The UNCAT Committee rather embarrassingly for the Irish Government pointed out that it was not enough for a member nation to simply plead ignorance – that under UN Membership Ireland officially was obliged to ensure that such institutions were inspected and under a governance system.

If the Irish State’s position is that it didn’t understand the rules of its UN membership on the subject of ill-treatment, abuse and internment of citizens then it merely means Ireland admits a studied negligence of its own tortured citizens in these institutions.

The Irish State has an overt habit of this practice and while the UNCAT Committee did not accept the State’s point it is very unlikely also that the State can convince us either given how close we are to the State’s record in such matters.

Ireland, socially, is a recidivist. If there were an institution possible for entire states where such societies could be described as ‘fallen’ or at serious risk of being ‘fallen’ with regard to humanity and ethics then the lady in green would be institution bound.

Something of an irony that a lady inclined in all respects and in constant practice towards the refusal to examine her dirty laundry at the same time might be chained philosophically to an institutional washing board and scrubbing, overseen, at a stain on its character that simply won’t come out.

Sometimes the child is wiser than the parent. And what parent could be displeased with a child that announces it is better to tell the truth than persist in lying? And that, on this subject, is where we are as we await the Government’s response to the dental detective Martin McAleese’s report into the Magdalene Laundry issue.

There is apprehension that official Ireland will persist, rather excruciatingly, with its notion that ‘officially’ Ireland knew nothing.

Justice delayed. In fact if McAleese’s report which undoubtedly will be obsequious in its ‘sensitivity’ to the Magdalenes serves only to cling to an evasive manoeuver by the State then it is not just a failure to attend to acknowledging serious wrong but the conclusion will be that the State wishes to persist in another known evil in Ireland – the ‘delay till they die’ process –  which has in the past served the same cult behind the profitability of these washday gulags. The State wishes to portray the Magdalene Laundries as ‘different’ to issues of up to sixty residential “Reformatory and Industrial Schools” operated by Catholic Church orders, funded and supervised by the Irish Department of Education.

To allege that the Irish State which paid capitation (head money) to the orders behind those institutions was unable to ‘see’ a similar system with the Magdalene Laundries attached to them, while elements of the state were ‘remanding’ women to the Laundries is simply insufferable dishonesty of the worst sort.

We will know shortly whether the Irish State wishes to persist in its adopted ignorance – a profitable stance in fear of redress payments and perhaps a wish to avoid a situation where the government will be buried in outrage should it attempt to pay ‘redress’ on behalf of orders which have already welched to the sum of   euros where other institutions are concerned. I may be wrong in my suspicions around McAleese’s report- understandable when the words ‘construct a narrative’ were used in discussions around the remit of his Committee on this issue.

We do a lot of ‘narrative constructing’ in Ireland. One of these days we may decide to restrict ourselves to reporting on what actually happened and who was involved. But that requires a maturity that may not yet be available to our childish state and immature official institutions.

Quite apart from the debt Irish society owes those of the Magdalene Laundries and other religious gulags we could at least show these people that we do care about what happened to them.

They could be forgiven for thinking that any signal now is irrelevant but we have an opportunity while many are still living to at least acknowledge properly the social disgrace of the state and Irish society for allowing this to happen.

It must be said. It may not do much practical good but that part of the national conversation must happen for the dignity of those who had their dignity taken from them in such a horrible manner and for a reconciliation process to begin.

I used the word ‘reconciliation’ because otherwise how can the victims feel vindicated as citizens of this somewhat shabby Republic and how can citizens who weren’t victims look each other in the eye?

Captain Con O’Sullivan    21.01.13

*From the poem ‘Geasa’ (The Bond) by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill

A report by an interdepartmental committee chaired by Senator Martin McAleese is with the Government: a Government statement is expected within the next two weeks.

Join our discussion on the Magdalene Laundry workers on

First and Foremost – Expose the Exploitative Heart of Capitalism
January 18, 2013

From my own point of view,  I have noticed a certain trend where left wing activists are been sucked into the capitalist agenda, particularly when engaging with the media, on being requested to provide “a realistic and serious alternative”.  Recent examples of this have been where the ULA reps in the Dail were putting forward alternative budget proposals.

My own personal belief is that first and foremost, the principle objective of any left wing activist is to EXPOSE THE EXPLOITATIVE HEART OF CAPITALISM. No other facet of left wing ideology is more important, indeed if we were to look at the Marxist critique, he wrote volumes, Das Capital etc., on exposing the inherent contradictions of capitalism. Therefore my own personal manifesto would have as its primary and agenda-setting principle, a duty to expose the exploitative and virus-like nature of capitalism. In so doing the work of the left wing activist is to link every hospital bed closure, every cut in social welfare, every rise in unemployment, every hike in interest rates etc to the operations of a capitalist system. I do not believe that it is the duty of the broad left wing to “fix or offer appendages to help fix a broken capitalist system” .

Many would argue that the general public demand alternatives, and perhaps rightly so, but the answer that must come from the left wing is that it is only through the dismantling of the capitalist system that any alternative is possible. There are many options once capitalism has been removed, and dare I say it, it does not necessarily involve the imposition of a socialist or communist system either. What I believe earnestly and what I also believe will occur (and perhaps not too far in the distant future) is that through dialogue that begins in the community will rise a resistance that will be rooted in the community, across every village , town and city throughout the world. Ideally this would lead to a formation of true democracy, a democracy that would (akin to the democratic system of the Athenian city states) rise and be formatted from the bottom up. Solutions then that originate, be it a form of socialism, communism or a mixture of both or whatever, once they are grounded in community participation, have a half decent chance of success.

In that respect I believe that the duty of left wing elected reps in the Dail and elsewhere, is to expose to the general public the failure of the present form of capitalist infested democracy. They must expose to the public, the fact that the true owners of democracy are the wealthy elites, and that if voting under the present form of democracy could achieve anything those same wealthy elites would have long since abolished it. When the left wing are then asked by the mouthpieces of those same wealthy elites, the media, what their alternative is the answer is simple…. “no to capitalism” and thereafter “we will let the people decide”. While it is obvious that people cling to nationalistic fervour, I also believe that a vital cog in ending the capitalist machinery of oppression is to go global, communities throughout the world are under siege from capitalist-imposed austerity. The occupy movement are the pure patriots of the downtrodden, they have shown that it is possible to link communities across the globe in a unified offensive against the global oppressors of the possible kindness and compassion that is a capability within the heart and mind of every human being.The left wing must expose the fact that it is capitalism that drives the other non-desirable capabilities of human beings of greed, lust and fear that manifest themselves in the capitalist trademarks of war, poverty and famine.

A simple example of this lies here, what do these workers and these workers have in common!    It is the transfer of ideas and resistance across borders that will end capitalism, let’s take our cue from the capitalist oppressors, watch their methods, expose how on a global basis the “independent” think tanks attack welfare, public sector workers and healthcare and lets leave the “fixing of capitalism” to the capitalists!

gfmurphy101  (written 2.2012 on ) 18.1.2013

The Banned Flags and the Hang-Rags
January 8, 2013

…that your poor old Grandad  had to fight so you could fly.

Well let’s establish what we all already know to be the facts. The entity comprised of the six north-eastern counties of this island, officially known as Northern Ireland, is the home to one and three quarter million religious zealots, divided fairly equally in to two warring camps. One side is as bad as the other and no matter how much evidence to the contrary exists on any given dispute, it is imperative that we spread the blame for the ensuing violence and disruption equally. Equally that is, apart from understanding that, at the root of every disagreement is the evil, unprovoked and on-going terrorist campaign of the Provisional IRA.

In the current dispute, triggered by Belfast City Council’s democratic decision to restrict the flying of The Union Flag to designated days only, the largely Vatican controlled (and at the same time Communist) media have tried to portray opposition to the move as somehow backward looking and sectarian in nature. No one ever wants to hear the voice of the true Loyalist who has stood meekly by for four decades as the Republicans set about destroying the utopia which existed.

With that in mind, we spoke to one decent, Christian protester in an attempt to ensure that the views of this downtrodden majority might, at long last be heard.

So, why have Unionists of so many shades been protesting, intimidating, blocking roads, stopping people going about their lawful business, singing sectarian songs and attacking Nationalist areas and the Police.

Simple, it’s cause the Fenians tore down the flag of our country off our City hall!

But Nationalists didn’t tear it down; they wanted to remove the flag completely but agreed to an Alliance Party compromise which decided to fly it on designated days, in line with equality guidelines and in line with the vast majority of British councils, public buildings and royal palaces.

Alliance is Fenians now too. It’s our City Hall, we let themmuns in and now this is how they repay us!

But surely the Councillors are democratically elected and entitled to ring changes to reflect the views of everyone living in the Belfast City Council area?

Yes but they only got elected because they committed electoral fraud and our people didn’t come out and vote in sufficient numbers.

But if Unionists don’t come out and vote, you can’t blame Nationalists?

I don’t, I blame the Unionist parties who have let their people down.


By letting this happen and doing nothing to stop it.

But how can they do anything about it if Unionist people didn’t elect them in sufficient numbers?

They are the ones who agreed to sit down with terrorists.

And surely you know that it was in fact The DUP and UUP who started this protest with the delivery of 40,000 leaflets over the city, attacking The Alliance Party’s decision?

Aye, I blame The Alliance Party.

But Alliance stopped the Union Flag from being removed altogether!

I blame the Fenians.

You can’t blame Catholics or Nationalists or Republicans for the violence which has accompanied the protests, they have largely ignored them despite the difficulties they have caused.

Well, I don’t. I blame the Police for that! But it’s about more than flags anyway.

Really? What else is it about?



Themmuns have got everything out of the ‘so called’ peace process and we have got nathin! They get all the money and the jabs!

Well official statistics would suggest that Catholics are still much more likely to be unemployed, in lower paid jobs and under-represented in senior posts within almost every branch of the public service?

That’s just cause they’re lazy, work-shy bastards on DLA.

Are you unemployed?

Yes, I haven’t been able to work since I hurt me back lifting a tree across the road during Drumcree 3. Ah that was a good year. Back when we had a proper Police force what knew who the good guys were. Now they’re all Fenians and most of them are from the south. Some of them is just Gardas that are here unofficially you know?

Again, the fact is that the vast majority of Police officers are still from a Unionist or Protestant background, only a tiny percentage are from the Republic and none of those are also members of the Gardaí.

They still have 50/50!

What’s 50/50?

It’s a rule what says all Protestant Policemen have to retire at 50 and must be replaced by 50 ex-IRA men.

That’s a ridiculous, uneducated falsehood.

Uneducated? Is it any wonder? The IRA took away our 11+ and closed 7 schools in East Belfast alone!

That’s just because it’s inefficient to have secondary schools with fewer than 18 pupils.

Only cause Protestants are too busy working to have big families.

Have you and your wife any children?

I have seven children, two of them with her. But you keep trying to get me away from the real problem.

What is the real problem then?

Pat Finucane!

Pat Finucane?

Yeah, him and all the other inquiries  Our soldiers killed anyone and they demand an inquiry  Look at Bloody Sunday, a pile of rioters shot and now the soldiers is all going to spend 30 years in jail! What about Bloody Friday…and Bloody Monday and bloody all the other ones?

Surely the difference is that everyone knows it was The IRA who carried out Bloody Friday and no one is claiming that those who were killed were anything but innocent civilians? Nationalists want inquiries to establish the innocence of the victims and prove that the government was complicit in and even directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of people? In some of the cases for which  you demand the truth, the guilty parties have already been found, tried and have served their sentences!

And now they are in government. We want to know the truth about all the murders.

All of them?

Every one!

That’ll require a truth commission where Loyalists, Unionists and the British Government will have to tell the truth about the violence in which they were involved?

No! We don’t have to cause we didn’t start it.

Well The IRA didn’t either, The UVF were killing Catholics before ‘The Troubles’ even began.

Only cause they knew what was coming. But you are deliberately taking me away from the real problem again.

I thought you said it was Pat Finucane?

Nah, that’s what you’d like to believe.

So, once again, tell me what the real problem is?

Easy, the Unionist leaders don’t care about us. That’s why we have had to rise up of our own free will.

But it was The DUP and UUP who brought you out on to the street?

Maybe so, but now we have our own leaders. They are just ordinary Christian Protestants who have taken all they can take and have decided that it’s now time to make a stand.

But your street leaders are not ordinary people, they are a mixture of Loyalist paramilitaries, public tit-suckling community workers, failed politicians, mentally ill, sectarian motivated campaigners with years of experience agitating on the periphery, former glue-sniffing, extremely suspect pastors and semi-literate, self-publicising, would-be authors and indeed, senior members of both the DUP and UU.

Aye, they’re a great bunch a lads! Oh could you take out that bit about ‘authors’? Makes them sound a bit gay.

Is respect on all sides the answer?

They don’t respect our flag!

This is the flag that flies in tatters outside chapels, is wrapped around the faces and shoulders of looters, has slogans scrawled across it in felt-tip and is incorporated into everything from comedy hats to neoprene jump-suits?

Does your heart proud to see it but you’re trying to get away from the real problem again aren’t you?

And (sighs) what is the real problem?


Thank you.


And there we have it in the world’s largest nut-shell. The cause of the protests is ever-changing and therefore, cannot be addressed. The reason it changes is that it is a skimpy piece of red, white and blue cloth which is being pulled in several directions at once in an attempt to cover up the paranoid sectarianism at the root of something which is not new at all. It’s the same festering, malignant sore that brought us Holy Cross, Drumcree, Ulster Resistance, The Third Force, The UWC Strike, Burntollet Bridge and the decade by decade pogroms which have blighted this artificial state since its undemocratic inception.


5intheface – 08/01/2013

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