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Politics in NI and the history of paramilitary organisations

soupdragon

Distinguished Member
I posted a link in another thread which gives a reasonably accurate account of the NI troubles and political history. Now that the DUP could be forming a type of coalition with Tory's, NI is quite the topic in the news right now.

What I'm interested in is people's current views on NI politics and the paramilitaries etc and then, after reading the historical account, do your views alter in anyway?

Or maybe you have a good understanding already and you want to share your opinion? I'm particularly interested in opinions on our politicians, the IRA and loyalist paramilitaries and the police and army involvements throughout our troubles.

I'm very nuetral by the way, and I have grown to understand what fuelled the behaviours of everyone involved. I don't harbour any feelings of bitterness anymore, as I see the troubles as something we can put behind us and move forward from.

When I see the debates of Corbyn/IRA links and DUP/Tory/paramilitary links it makes me sigh. People just don't seem to understand the full picture and it's frustrating to read in the news and social media etc.

In terms of the IRA, people in the UK will probably remember things like Canary Wharf, bombings in Manchester and Birmingham. What else do people know outside of these?

Some extracts from the article showing snapshots of how everyone involved committed serious crimes.

The RUC (the NI police service at the time) - beat an innocent Catholic to death and also beat his daughter unconscious

On 19 April there were clashes between NICRA marchers, the RUC and loyalists in the Bogside. RUC officers entered the house of Samuel Devenny (42), an uninvolved Catholic civilian, and ferociously beat him along with two of his teenage daughters and a family friend.One of the daughters was beaten unconscious as she lay recovering from surgery.Devenny suffered a heart attack and died on 17 July from his injuries

The IRA - killed 10 innocent civilians and a RUC officer in a world war 1 rememberence parade

On 8 November 1987, in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, a Provisional IRA time bomb exploded during a parade on Remembrance Day to commemorate victims of World War One. The bomb went off by a cenotaph which was at the heart of the parade. Eleven people (ten civilians, including a pregnant woman, and one serving member of the RUC) were killed and 63 were injured

The UVF - killed innocent Catholics who were drinking in a pub

"UVF killed six civilians in a shooting at a pub in Loughinisland, County Down"

The British Army - in a protest march about a new law allowing the security forces to arrest and jail Catholics without trial, as the march dispersed, the Army were instructed to move in and arrest them

"Bloody Sunday", was the shooting dead of thirteen unarmed male civilians by the British Army at a proscribed anti-internment rally in Derry on 30 January, 1972 (a fourteenth man died of his injuries some months later) while more than fourteen other civilians were wounded. The march had been organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). The soldiers involved were members of the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, also known as "1 Para"

And the full link below.

The Troubles - Wikipedia

As I mentioned, if you read the article, does it alter your overall perception of what happened in NI?

I think for the sake of the moderators, we should refrain from phrases like murdering bastards etc. It should be a discussion around full awareness of what went on in the past, and how that leaves us delicately poised on what lies ahead, especially with the political position we find ourselves in right now.
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
I think we are a bit too preoccupied with the past in regards to Northern Ireland here and have ignored what's happening now. You can argue until the cows come home in regards to who supported whom. But the fact is we are fast approaching yet another deadline for the power sharing agreement to get restarted (end of June), the border issue in Northern Ireland can't really be ignored as it will inform the Brexit deal we get and a whole host of other issues that we probably are not aware of.
 

krish

Distinguished Member
In terms of the IRA, people in the UK will probably remember things like Canary Wharf, bombings in Manchester and Birmingham. What else do people know outside of these?
Thanks for your earlier posts and starting this thread. Personally I find it educational and informative.

As someone born and bred in south-east England, my IRA memories begin with the assassinations of Mountbatten and Airey Neave (Tory shadow NI Sec, just before Thatcher took power). Next I recall Bobby Sands, the H-Blocks and the hunger strikes. The Brighton Bombing (Tory party conference in The Grand Hotel) can't be forgotten, especially the images of an injured Norman Tebbit. Later I remember Ian Gow's assasination with a car bomb in his drive. He was a govt minister, very close friend of Thatcher. He was the last MP to be murdered until Jo Cox.

The broadcasting ban was a farcical period - just bypassed with an actors voice. I believe Stephen Rea was often booked to voice Gerry Adams. During the 90s we became vigilant of suspect packages lying around. I was a student in central London from 90-93, when there were countless bomb scares/explosions and my dad always said "don't go near any bombs" (his current version, now London is my home is "there aren't any ISIS people near you are there?", though for a time he used ISA, as in the savings account). I was pretty close to the Sussex Arms pub bombing in Covent Garden in 92.

Then there was a ceasefire, which ended a year or two later with the Docklands bombing. Then a permanent ceasefire in 97, shortly after Blair took office.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
I posted a link in another thread which gives a reasonably accurate account of the NI troubles and political history. Now that the DUP could be forming a type of coalition with Tory's, NI is quite the topic in the news right now.

What I'm interested in is people's current views on NI politics and the paramilitaries etc and then, after reading the historical account, do your views alter in anyway?

I'd imagine many would have their opinions and views, but N.I politics is extremely colloquial and unless you have lived it, it's very difficult to understand it's intricacies.
 
D

Deleted member 293381

Guest
Hi @soupdragon

I spent a lot of my working life overseas, much of that time working in African countries like Uganda and Somalia who had their own 'troubles'. Also worked briefly in Israel and Palestine during their 'troubles'.

So, my sketchy knowledge of Ireland, North and South, is founded mostly on media news and talking to a few Army guys who served in NI.

Because of that and my experience of war conditions overseas I prefer to keep an open mind, knowing full well the difference between what actually happened and the media news coverage of the same event.

My ignorance of the 'troubles' in NI and in England over the years is total. So thanks for your first-hand input - balanced and a very welcome thread.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Some worrying, though not surprising headlines this morning as the Orange Order start to lean on the DUP. For those not familiar, the Orange Order is a Protestant only organisation, who's large numbers would make up the bulk of the DUP's supporters.

The story linked is of very personal interest to me as that's where I grew up, and I have many friends and family living in the area.

Orange Order asks DUP to use banned sectarian march in negotiations with Theresa May
 

soupdragon

Distinguished Member
Some worrying, though not surprising headlines this morning as the Orange Order start to lean on the DUP. For those not familiar, the Orange Order is a Protestant only organisation, who's large numbers would make up the bulk of the DUP's supporters.

The story linked is of very personal interest to me as that's where I grew up, and I have many friends and family living in the area.

Orange Order asks DUP to use banned sectarian march in negotiations with Theresa May

Do you think this is more of a 'if you don't ask, you don't get' sort of request from the Orange Order, or do you think they actually think its a viable proposition?

I think if the DUP actually went to Theresa May with this agenda point, the Tory's would be extremely concerned about creating any DUP deal with this kind of subject matter. I really can't see the DUP even bringing this up in all honesty and if they did, the Tory's most certainly wouldn't agree to it. Bringing Stormont back together just isn't going to happen if the DUP and Tory's agree to this type of thing - its far too controversial IMV, especially using it as a 'bargaining chip'.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Do you think this is more of a 'if you don't ask, you don't get' sort of request from the Orange Order, or do you think they actually think its a viable proposition?

I think if the DUP actually went to Theresa May with this agenda point, the Tory's would be extremely concerned about creating any DUP deal with this kind of subject matter. I really can't see the DUP even bringing this up in all honesty and if they did, the Tory's most certainly wouldn't agree to it. Bringing Stormont back together just isn't going to happen if the DUP and Tory's agree to this type of thing - its far too controversial IMV, especially using it as a 'bargaining chip'.

I can't see how that march could ever be allowed to happen again, but I also don't underestimate the influence the Orange Order has. Don't forget, one of their members, David Simpson is the new DUP MP for that particular constituency.

It'll be very interesting to see how this all unfolds. Do the DUP stick with their core principles and play hardball with May (their voters will be very demanding), or do they accept a couple of carrots (flag on City Hall for instance) from Westminster in return for mutual support?
 

Sonic67

Banned
In terms of the IRA, people in the UK will probably remember things like Canary Wharf, bombings in Manchester and Birmingham. What else do people know outside of these?
Personally my barracks being targeted twice.

First time the terrorists snuck through a culvert near the barracks then cut through the fence. They planted bombs against an accommodation block but we were having an oil separation plant being built on the barracks. A civilian watchman looking after it disturbed them and they brained him and then legged it. He raised the alarm by smashing a break glass in the block they'd planted the bombs against.

The roving patrol never saw anything but after that guard was doubled.

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland | Man jailed over IRA base bombing

Second time was a mortar attack on the barracks.

Osnabrück mortar attack - Wikipedia

Other than that was the usual stuff. Heightened security, searching under cars coming in, stuff like that. I remember once I'd been on an exercise for weeks, came back into camp then went out to a club. I came back to camp and stopped at a nearby petrol station for some scoff first.

Wandered into the guard room to sign back in. Guard commander asked where the scoff was from. I said the petrol garage. I was told int. said it was being "watched" and was out of bounds and why hadn't I read orders? Because I didn't have time to go through weeks of orders? I knew that wasn't going to wash. So as a result I was charged, got marched in, and had to pay money to the Queen, charged £50. A lot of money back then.

Other than that I know quite a few who went to Ireland, Catholic, CofE whatever. We had been due to go a few times but ended up in the Gulf War and Bosnia instead.
 

Sonic67

Banned
One story as told to me by someone. So pull up a sandbag and swing the lamp.

Two young soldiers, engineers, building a brick wall in NI. They were doing it as it was difficult to get civilian contractors to do this stuff. Both were wearing the old style of CBA (Combat Body Armour) over their combat jackets. It looked like this.

0aaf2186.jpg


If you are "a spotter" it is Vietnam era, and re-used by the British Army.

My mate said they were both working when his mate got shot by a high velocity round. The guy who was shot, fell to the floor, face down on his front behind the wall. My mate also took cover behind the wall. The guy who had been shot had a huge hole in the back of his CBA. Massive. My mate carefully removed it to see the damage to the guys back. Gingerly he took it off, and the combat jacket was also torn underneath.

But that was it. The bullet had probably entered and exited straight through the CBA, in one side and out the other, on the guys back, but not actually touching the guy and his back at all.

The shot guy said, "how bad is it?"

My mate said, "ah mate it's horrible. It's ripped your back apart"

Where upon the shot guy fainted.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
My perspective being from Dublin was probably as skewed as people living in London in many ways, but I was embarrassed at the constant news reports you'd see on BBC or whatever showing Irish terrorist arrested, IRA below up pub, centre of Manchester levelled.. you name it.
These guys did not represent me yet I know a lot of Irish got grief in the UK, and I noticed a lot of anti-Irish thicko stuff popping up on the British shows, where it seemed barely 5 minutes went by without some snarky comment about the Irish. Also Ian Paisley was pretty much reviled in my house, my mother was a staunch Catholic, my dad current care less about religion. I couldn't give a crap about this Catholic/Protestant nonsense, or the Battle of the bloody Boyne. It's all in the past.
To be honest I'd view the North as a bit backward in some ways, I had a girlfriend from near Newry and I'd go up to visit her. In some areas she'd tell me not to speak in case I'd be attacked. Ridiculous.
Great to see the likes of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness taking part in the peace process though.
 

jarraman

Prominent Member
I thinks it is generally accepted that Corbyn met members of the IRA and gave them encourgement. thus keeping the troubles going. That is according to Sean O'Callaghan.

One very good reason for the DUP to side with the Tories.
 

jarraman

Prominent Member
Some worrying, though not surprising headlines this morning as the Orange Order start to lean on the DUP. For those not familiar, the Orange Order is a Protestant only organisation, who's large numbers would make up the bulk of the DUP's supporters.

The story linked is of very personal interest to me as that's where I grew up, and I have many friends and family living in the area.

Orange Order asks DUP to use banned sectarian march in negotiations with Theresa May

Not in north down as Sylvia rules the roost
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Can people please not post unless they have something educational to add?
 

tapzilla2k

Distinguished Member
People really should listen to John Major's World at One Interview, instead of harping on about the past (you can argue until the cows come home over Corbyn and his actions in NI, and a whole host of other things). The Peace Process is in trouble now and it requires our upmost attention and impartiality from the Government to ensure it does not fail. We have I feel ignored Northern Ireland for too long now. I'm not interested in political point scoring, peace is the only thing that should matter.

Just to be clear my position has always been that it is a democratic choice for the people of Northern Ireland to decide if they wish to remain part of the UK. If they ever arrive at a point where they decide to have a referendum on the issue.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
Probably my post. lol. Found it a little odd, that SF and Mr Adams have failed to back the Republics new leader in the Dail, possibly because he is openly gay.

Not sure if serious? :confused::confused:
There's no love lost between either Sinn Fein of Fine Gael on a policy basis, but why bring Varadkar's sexuality into it?
Sinn Fein have been one of the most vociferous parties in terms of equality for everyone, and were the party who proposed same sex marriage in N. Ireland.

It's the DUP who are against civil rights, no-one else.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
Probably my post. lol. Found it a little odd, that SF and Mr Adams have failed to back the Republics new leader in the Dail, possibly because he is openly gay.

They have always been at loggerheads with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, 2 parties that are much more to the right (well, Fine Gael are basically the Conservative party) and would never share power with Sinn Féin, I doubt if Leo Varadkar's sexuality has anything to do with it.
 

jarraman

Prominent Member
Not sure if serious? :confused::confused:
There's no love lost between either Sinn Fein of Fine Gael on a policy basis, but why bring Varadkar's sexuality into it?
Sinn Fein have been one of the most vociferous parties in terms of equality for everyone, and were the party who proposed same sex marriage in N. Ireland.

It's the DUP who are against civil rights, no-one else.

I have to agree, which is why I find the insinuation on tv, rather odd. Mind you dont blame everything on the DUP, a lot of Catholics are against same sex marriage.

Have to take my hat off to the republic though.
 

QuestShield

Distinguished Member
I have to agree, which is why I find the insinuation on tv, rather odd. Mind you dont blame everything on the DUP, a lot of Catholics are against same sex marriage.

Have to take my hat off to the republic though.

I wouldn't take your hat off until the 8th amendment is repealed and woman can have abortions without having to travel to the UK. That'll be the next referendum I'd say. Bring it on.
 

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