Monday, October 6, 2014

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The Liverpool University Research Project on “Dissident” Irish Republicanism – Working for the British State?

Mark Hayes and Anthony McIntyre jointly consider the havoc wreaked on research potential when academics abandon their vocation as autonomous founts of knowledge and become fronts for the state and its security services.


Prologue

Links between senior academics and the British security services has collapsed an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded study into “dissident” Irish republicans that has cost more than a quarter of a million pounds.

The project, the most comprehensive of its kind to date, sought to gather opinions across the wide spectrum of dissident republicanism. It imploded after it emerged that a senior academic leading the study had pledged to the funders that the study findings would be shared with British security agencies, a measure the front line researchers vehemently opposed.

Among the agencies that were to be briefed were the British security services, specifically, MI5, the Police Service of Northern Ireland as well as the Irish police, An Garda Siochana.

The claim that the work could be used for security briefings emerged after the original proposal document, completed to win funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), was discovered online.

The field researchers and representatives of the republican groups interviewed, have since withdrawn their co-operation. Already some observers have expressed the view that the field researchers would have been placed in danger during the period of their research had the details become public earlier.

Although the funding document stresses that the confidentiality of those interviewed was assured, damagingly it alleges that the senior academics leading the project had previously briefed representatives of security services at a conference at St Andrews University in 2010.

Knowledge that there were links between the academics heading the study and the security services would automatically have been a major block to the participation of dissident republicans.

The study is a co-operation between the universities of Liverpool, Huddersfield, Canterbury Christchurch, Coventry, and the ESRC.

The final outcome of the project, a potentially ground-breaking book, also appears to hang in the balance while a question mark looms over the status of the almost £270,000 funding, which has already been spent on the project. 

The fall-out from the study is also likely to call into question the research ethics of similar future studies. That universities and an external funding body like the ESRC clearly gave the green light to an academic project purpose built to gather information that would be passed to the security services, has the potential to do long term harm to current and future research efforts.

Something Rotten

Surveying the strewn wreckage of a recent academic research project A Theoretical and Empirical Assessment of the Membership, Strategies and Tactics of Dissident Irish Republicans it seems appropriate to invoke the oft used phrase of there being something rotten in the state of Denmark. The Danes in this particular instance would, with varying degrees of culpability, appear to be a combination of Senior University management and Ethics Committee members at four English Universities, (Liverpool, Huddersfield, Canterbury Christ Church and Coventry), in consort with the Economic and Social Research Council. (ERSRC). Where hands on culpability might have been absent for some, the failure to act on the “heinous discovery” of the project’s malign intent leaves them open to allegations of complicity.

For its part, Liverpool University, as the star actor in this particular catastrophe, has to take primary responsibility for degrading and then destroying a once worthwhile research project. Moreover, its actions, in attempting to use the proposed project to pass confidential research findings onto the security services (against the wishes of researchers and the research participants) might be seen as a cynical betrayal of the scholarly ethos universities claim to adhere to. Using genuine academic research to procure information in order to fill the hard-drives and data bases of the agencies of the state’s secret police is such a gross distortion of the purpose of a University that while it is tempting to flag up its comedic dimension, the upshot is that there is nothing funny about it. It is serious and sinister in the extreme. 

With varying degrees of involvement the conduct of the Universities, either by their proactive activity or their retroactive inertia, have steadily fuelled a growing suspicion that there was something deeply suspect about this particular research agenda right from the very start. The destruction of standard and scholarly academic norms has rendered - certainly in the eyes of potential research participants - Liverpool University as little more than the para-literary arm of the state, whose primary function in this matter has been to monitor and manipulate the activities of people who, because of their ideological beliefs, inhabit society’s political exclaves.

Origins

The origins of this academic abasement can be traced to the intellectual curiosity of a young West Belfast woman, Marisa McGlinchey. For more than a decade McGlinchey stacked shelves in a supermarket in order to support herself financially while she studied at Queen’s University in Belfast. In 2010 McGlinchey’s efforts paid off and she was awarded a PhD. Armed with a doctorate she opted for cerebral life of study and research, and so she began to identify gaps in contemporary research where her newly acquired skills might best be deployed.

As a denizen of West Belfast, with its long turbulent history of violent political conflict against the British state, and where a number of Republican activists continued, either politically or militarily, to oppose British administration (despite the peace accord of 1998), McGlinchey was in a good position to examine and analyse the sphere of so-called Republican “dissidents”. This seemed to be an exceedingly fertile area for future research. McGlinchey was struck by what she felt was a hiatus in the research on that particular section of Republicanism, and she believed that “dissidents” were being deliberately marginalised by society - or if they were heard at all it was in muffled fashion, as a consequence of political filtering and media misrepresentation. Her research proposal aimed to place the unfiltered voice of the “dissidents” centre stage in order to facilitate a new discourse and debate, where academics and others with a genuine intellectual bent could pore over the research and offer analyses based on what the “dissidents” had actually said, rather on what others had said about them. This, unquestionably, was a valid intellectual exercise worthy of institutional support.

As a consequence of the myriad of problems that had erupted from the bowels of Boston College after its research had been subpoenaed by the British police, McGlinchey sought to establish as her overriding priority, that no harm would accrue to her prospective interviewees. Clearly the security services would be interested in getting their hands on any material relating to “dissidents” and would go to substantial lengths to acquire it, so unambiguous guarantees were provided to participants about how the material was to be used and who was to have access to it. McGlinchey was extremely anxious not to precipitate a re-run of the Boston fiasco. Of course this presented McGlinchey with a dilemma - if the potential participants balked at the research because of the threat of security service attention, then the project – any project for that matter - would be effectively suppressed by the coercive agencies of the state which seek to control the narrative in the interests of providing a “scenes of crime” perspective on events. Stripped of socio-political context, a self-serving law-enforcement view of the world would allow a state-led view to prevail by dint of having successfully suppressed alternative accounts that challenge the security consensus. Indeed, McGlinchey was undoubtedly aware that even if researchers are unwilling to allow the state and its security services to map out the boundaries of legitimate research, they still face the problem of their findings being plundered by the state, irrespective of original intentions.

 Not wanting to acquiesce in such academic strangulation by the state, and entirely unwilling to see her potential research participants harmed, McGlinchey decided that her research methodology would be based on interviews with “dissidents” which were completely stripped of anything that would be self-incriminating. She sought to elucidate and evaluate what they thought - not what they did. McGlinchey was absolutely determined that none of her potential interviewees would reveal anything that could be used against them in court. She took the step of speaking to one of the Boston College researchers so that she might better understand the problems and pitfalls in the type of research she wanted to conduct, and how best to avoid them. The extent to which her determination prevailed was made explicit in the original funding application submitted to the ESRC.   
Research interviews and discussion groups will NOT be concerned with the operational details of dissident groups (it would not work as a project if this was attempted; even historical recollections of paramilitary operations can be fraught with danger, as the ongoing Boston College tapes saga indicates), but will instead cover motivations for joining, political aspirations, strategies and tactics. The project is concerned with political and strategic approaches underpinning dissident republicanism, not who did what and when.
The Damning Funding Application

In a bid to develop her research agenda McGlinchey took her nascent project to Professor Jon Tonge of Liverpool University, to whom she explained the need for maximum protection for the interviewees. Tonge was undoubtedly alert to the minefield that a research project involving Irish Republican interviewees could become, having at one point appeared on RTE’s Prime Time to defend the Boston College project against police incursion. A well-established commentator on politics in the North of Ireland, with a range of publications in the field, Tonge not only welcomed McGlinchey’s idea, he proposed making a funding bid to the ESRC, which he subsequently did without any further input from McGlinchey herself. This particular fact is extremely important, as we will see. As McGlinchey would subsequently explain to the Republicans she had interviewed:
I wrote the research ideas up and emailed them to Jon. Jon then did the funding form for the ESRC. I did not have input to that form in any other respect than the research ideas which I had sent to Jon in a word document. I did not see the form.
In his application Tonge cited, as project investigators, Professor Tom Hennessey of Canterbury Christ Church and Professor Jim McAuley of Huddersfield University. Their role, as McGlinchey understood it, would be complementary to the work she envisaged conducting. While she would concentrate on talking to Republicans, they would talk with loyalist and state security personnel in order to evaluate how both these elements, extra-legal and legal, perceived the threat from “dissident” Republicans. They would have no access to her research nor would she have access to theirs. Tonge, as “project manager” would have access to both.

McGlinchey’s insistence on this protocol being observed led to a decision that neither Hennessey nor McAuley would have an input into the book that she was planning to write on the basis of her research. Although this led to a deterioration in relations between McGlinchey and at least one of the two Professors, she felt it was essential that clear lines of demarcation be set out and that each project worker would know their own area of responsibility. It was also deemed necessary for the maintenance of confidentiality with her interviewees. While she respected the academic integrity of both Hennessey and McAuley, she felt that the pool of interviewees might shrink dramatically due to misgivings about the type of research that both men had previously been involved in. Although she did not feel that there was any real basis to such misgivings, it was simply a case that their very proximity to the project might curb the willingness of some Republicans to participate.

Cognisant of her concerns, Tonge eventually negotiated a contract with Manchester University Press for a book that would have McGlinchey as one of the co–authors, but which did not include Hennessey or McAuley. In order to provide the raw material in the field, upon which the book would draw, McGlinchey established the contacts and conducted 84 interviews spanning several Republican organisations and independents across Ireland.

After the funding application had been submitted to the ESRC McGlinchey suggested to Tonge that the project would be considerably enhanced if it were it to avail of the services of Dr Kevin Bean. Being the author of a number of erudite publications on the subject, Bean was no stranger to the world of “dissident” Republicanism. His research over two decades had left him with an impressive array of contacts in the Republican world who would either agree to be interviewed or would serve as gatekeepers to other Republicans who might be approachable. Because the funding application had already been submitted, Tonge contacted the ESRC to have Bean added ex post facto. Bean claims to have had no knowledge of the contents of the application submitted prior to his enlistment in the project which, he assumed, complied with the normal template that Tonge had used successfully in the past. McGlinchey has since sought to assure her interviewees that neither she nor Bean had any input into the drawing up of the application, a fact since acknowledged by Tonge. McGlinchey’s concerns about security and confidentiality were written in - or so it seemed.

At this stage, feasible rather than fanciful, the endeavour clearly had the potential to become an extremely valuable research project. “Dissident” voices would penetrate deeper into mainstream academia, without having to moderate their views or abandon their cause in order to do so, thus facilitating greater awareness and understanding. The academic community would, McGlinchey (and Bean) hoped, come to realise that Sinn Fein did not (and could not hope to) dominate Republican discourse in Ireland, and that an alternative, robust, intelligent account of the Republican weltanschauung existed. Perhaps, further on down the line, society too would come to better understand the range of beliefs that motivated “dissidents”, and be able to assess the intellectual strengths and weaknesses of their positions, rather than seeing every manifestation of Republican dissent as a nail to which the only appropriate response was a hammer.

Tonge’s funding bid was successful. The huge sums of money involved, £269,968, would surely have seen the champagne corks popping in the Faculty common room. It was hardly an insubstantial amount. The ESRC funders knew what they were paying for and would expect bangs for bucks.

However, it was not long before the rot began to set in, and high expectations were soon to be dashed. What sounded the premature death knell for the entire project was, in fact, the actual application submitted by Tonge to the ESRC. As it transpired, Tonge did acknowledge McGlinchey’s concerns in the application, but he also wrote in other clauses which were totally at variance with what McGlinchy had sought and believed she had secured. Tonge’s playing of both ends against the middle effectively degraded the integrity of the whole proposal. Indeed if Tonge’s application is studied carefully, it was so far outside the terms of any agreement or understanding reached with McGlinchey that it defies belief. And here we come to the crux of the matter.

Not Merely an Academic Project

Tonge was quite clear in his funding application that what he was overseeing was not merely an academic project. While much of the application was standard fare, an extremely sinister dimension was contained within its remit and – extraordinarily - there for all to see. Under the heading “Briefings to interested parties”, Tonge explained his purpose: 
The research will be disseminated via special briefing notes to interested parties, summarising the main findings and outlining possible policy implications and recommendations. Recipients of written briefings, which will be accompanied by oral evidence where requested, will include ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive and their civil servants, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and his ministerial team, plus the Shadow equivalent; members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and senior officers within the Police Service of Northern Ireland, ministers and civil servants from the Irish government the Parades Commission, the Community Relations Council and other public bodies with a remit to diminish conflict and confrontation in Northern Ireland.
To be clinically precise, Professor Tonge was intending to brief members of the British state, including the PSNI – the sworn enemies of “dissident” Republicans – with information secured by McGlinchey and Bean. With McGlinchey and Bean wholly unaware of this dangerous and loathsome caveat, they proceeded to conduct the research in circumstances that could have been literally fatal had interviewees discovered the full text of Tonge’s application. If interviewees had seriously believed that McGlinchey or Bean were withholding crucial “game changing” information from them, the consequences might have been dire indeed, and the potential danger to both posed by Tonge’s extraordinary application to the ESRC should not be understated. Jon Tonge had led both McGlinchey and Bean into some very deep and dangerous waters.

So what could possibly have motivated Tonge’s desire for collaboration with the agencies of the British state? Was it the money? Career development? Or something more sinister? A generous interpretation of Tonge’s motives might be that in a swaggering “big hat no cattle” style he was making an offer which the ESRC could not refuse, but which he had no intention of delivering. McGlinchey and Bean, when questioned about this by some of their research participants explained that:
Agitated and concerned, we asked Jon why he had written this. He explained that he had not thought through the consequences and was primarily concerned with accessing funding. He stated that he did not provide any information to the security services and that he never intended to provide any information to them. At this point Jon grasped the obvious problems associated with continuing the project and stepped aside from the book.
No intention of ever providing information to the security services? This simply does not pass muster and rings disingenuous. Tonge himself admits, and it is now a matter of record, that in his application he said: 
The investigators have already provided briefings on dissident republican organisations to the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland, the GoC of the British Army in Northern Ireland, the Garda Siochana and MI5 and also briefed the Independent Monitoring Commission.
Information and briefings had already been provided by Tonge to, among others, the PSNI, British Army and MI5. In this context generosity can only be stretched so far. Even if we apply the principle of Ockams razor, where the fewer the assumptions the better the result, Tonge has been lynched by his own words.

There is nothing ambiguous about this. Jon Tonge admits to having briefed the avowed enemies of the people he is researching – “dissident” Republicans. In fact he briefed these shadowy organisations at a conference in St Andrews prior to the imprimatur provided by the ESRC. In effect one explicit reason for Tonge collaborating in this research project was so that he could learn more about dissidents and, in turn, once more brief the enemies of the republicans he was lining up to participate in his research project. It is important to reiterate that this is not an accusation by the writers of this article, but an admission by Tonge in his own words.

Our view is simple and straightforward. There must be clear blue water between academic research and strategic political intelligence gathering on behalf of the state. Tonge did not merely blur the demarcation lines, he wilfully and deliberately crossed them and in doing so he not only compromised academic research, he placed two people in grave danger. What he actually wrote himself (rather than what he claims he intended), is what transformed the Project Director from an academic into a conscious agent of the security services - even though he was not in the pay of those agencies he was clearly willing to do their bidding. Tonge could not have been more accurate in his statement ‘this is not purely academic research’, because his research proposal was simply an execrable exercise in strategic political intelligence gathering. This was either the act of a cynical arch-manipulator, desperate to secure funding and further his career, or a willing accomplice with state security services – possibly both!

Of course Tonge is not alone in bearing culpability for brazenly laying waste to academic autonomy and integrity. At least three of the four universities who had staff seconded to participate in the project as investigators must have read the funding application, ethically approved it, and signed off on it. It is hardly conceivable that, in the wake of the Boston College affair, Universities should walk into this volatile area with eyes wide shut.
 
Moreover, there is the much broader issue of the role of the ESRC, which allocates its funding on the basis of “impact assessments”, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF), which channels academics into producing research which has a viable “outcome” in terms of public policy. Independent, critical research is thereby relegated and denigrated as the focus is placed on “useful” projects that are designed to help government departments. The logical consequence of this obsequious deference to power is not only a stultifying functionalism in academic circles – occasionally it leads to the obscenity of noteworthy “academics” offering, in effect, to work for the security services of a coercive state.

There are parallels to be drawn with the Boston College research project here. While the outcome for the research participants is vastly different in that the Republicans who spoke to the researchers revealed nothing that could harm them in court, and the tapes of their interviews were never deposited in the University, the similarities exist in relation to institutional bad practice. Indeed, the behaviour of senior personnel in some of the four universities whose staff are linked to the project was, arguably, more reprehensible than Boston College staff. Whatever egregious characteristics may be attributed to Boston College’s rear-guard action once its own project had become compromised, it was never the intention of the College at the outset to brief the security services about the research being conducted under conditions of confidentiality. It was clearly the intention of thosee Universities, most notably Liverpool, who signed off on Tonge’s application. This is shameful.

The project as initially envisaged by McGlinchey is now dead in the water. It cannot proceed without her input, which she is no longer willing to make. In recent weeks both she and Bean have been visiting the Republicans interviewed, explaining to them that she can no longer use their contributions for a project they have lost all confidence in. However, some have told them that they have no objection to McGlinchey using the interviews for her planned book, but only if the English Universities are denied any input whatsoever. McGlinchey is a woman of integrity and worthy of support - her reputation should emerge unscathed from her unfortunate association with Tonge and his tawdry machinations. Others senior to her on this project should examine their consciences very carefully indeed. They must also publicly account for their actions.

Immaterial of the sliding scale of culpability that may be applied to the universities concerned they, as a result of either their action or inaction, have allowed a situation to develop in which standard academic propriety and protocol have been rendered derelict.

What this article draws attention to really is a sad and sordid tale of institutional malevolence – Universities, working in tandem with the Economic and Social Research Council, have effectively positioned themselves against the pursuit of knowledge both for its own sake and for the enrichment of public understanding.

It is also a story of academics who, with institutional approval, were willing to operate under the false flag of independent research, for the purpose of pillaging material from the project’s participants and then feeding the information into a strategic framework supplied by the security services.

It is also, crucially, a tale of institutional indifference to the fate, physical or reputational, of a young researcher who saw a previously barren tract in the field of knowledge and who had the determination to fertilise and cultivate it, only to see her work sabotaged by unscrupulous careerists and sinister forces eager to comply with an agenda set by the security forces of the British state.

47 comments :

larry hughes said...

An awful lot of money involved here and it is all quite baffling to be honest. The dissidents are so infiltrated and personalities so well known to the security services I can't see any rationale for such an investment. Was it some sort of academic scam? Who gave the thumbs up for that kind of investment into a few die-hards sitting crying into their pints?

"She sought to elucidate and evaluate what they thought - not what they did". Reads to me ... there's really bugger-all concrete to research, lets get subjective and fanciful here.

I set out to do an M.A. dissertation on the dissidents and was out of material in a blink! Ended up doing Dissident Irish Republicanism - An Alternative Assessment.

As far as UK universities or indeed American universities go, (as we are all now aware)I would take it for granted that these institutions are as tied in to government interests as newspaper reporters are accepted as being spies. Too much investment pumped into them by government not to be utilised when necessary. Conflict resolution is another huge investment and anyone who doesn't feel there are political motives behind that project are delusional. Another part of the political gravy train and peace process agenda.

As for the research, surely if the material was going to be published in book form the question of material going to the authorities is a red herring to begin with. Or at best a matter of delay? Still can't believe that kind of money was set aside for this project. Mi5 researching itself? Jesus wept!!

larry hughes said...

This reminds me of a Le Carre book which was made into a movie starring Pearse Brosnan as an Mi6 agent who was sent to a British Embassy on diplomatic service in some Latin American country and hood-winked the embassy staff there and Whitehall that there was an imminent uprising on the cards and got a suit case full of money for an agent who never actually existed. Took off with it himself. Great wee movie. Not a patch on this story though!!

larry hughes said...

The Tailor of Panama

Henry JoY said...

Got about half way through this drivel.

Synopsis and summary; Tonge wronge, Tong very wronge, Tonge very very wronge.

Conclusions; if a deal seems to good to be true, don't walk away ... run like fcuk!
(Especially so in academia, and all the more so according to your academic status. Only those who have spent too long in academic towers could be thick enough in the first place not to inherently know, that if a deal seems to good to be true, it generally is too good to be true).


And of course, as almost everyone knows, it's much easier to con a greedy or needy man or a greedy or needy woman.

sean bres said...

Never seen it... Must look that 'un out

grouch said...

reading a book about dissidents could be a form of torture.

larry hughes said...

Grouch

Look on the bright side. It would not be prolonged torture. Two deaths, three conspiracies and 500 in jail. The End.

Bakunin said...

Crazy story.

In Tonge's 2006 book "Northern Ireland," in the acknowledgements, he writes:

"Garda Siochana detectives took an interest in research visits for chapter 6."

Chapter 6 is entitled "Republican Ultras." This is his chapter on republican dissidents.

I wonder what that means?

grouch said...

ur right there larry, and a bit of love/hate thrown in.

Fionnuala Perry said...

Larry, if your not careful your going to end up getting head hunted for the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis.

Fionnuala Perry said...

It's hard to weigh up, why someone who was so established and respected in their field entered into betrayal on this scale.
Irrespective of whether or not he thought he was acting for some greater good, he actively betrayed the people he worked with and worse still, the people who quite innocently agreed to participate in the research.
In one way it's quite sad that a person for whatever reason believed that thirty pieces had more appeal than the genuine ethics that are supposed to govern research.
A modern day dance of the seven veils, but realistically what could he actually deliver.

larry hughes said...

Ach Fionnuala sure at the end of the day it all ends in career politics; why delay the inevitable. If SF contact me I'll give it due consideration. Gizza Job!! Yosser/Larry-Hughes

Fionnuala Perry said...

Will you still speak to us when your in the pay of her Majesty?
Where it ends doesn't detract from the fact that there were and are principled people along the way.

larry hughes said...

Fionnuala

You need to direct that question to those like yourself who reside in the UK. From those at the bottom of the hill signing-on every week for the Queens shillings to those on top of the hill in Stormont taking all they can get for doing absolutely nothing. I live in the Irish Republic. I have no idea to what you are referring.

As for talking to people I think Dissident republicans do themselves a disservice by shutting off contact with those who aren't 100% supportive of them. A Provo legacy perhaps. But to expect either 100% support or none leaves them nowhere and without a ticket out of it.

Bob Hoskins RIP....it's good to talk.

Fionnuala Perry said...

Larry,
None of it applies to me, irrespective of where I live, I'm one of the proletariat and not the lumpen kind.
I simply remarked, that your comments sounded very Sinn Fein, Jonathan Powell couldn't have scripted it any better and it certainly would have put the brakes on the spin from Jon Tonge.

grouch said...

the entire dissident movement is known inside out and back to front by brit intell. they are not relevant to what is happening in this rapidly changing orwellian society now and i think they should be ostracised by people who want change on this island. their fundraisers are gangster extortionist bone-idle bullying thugs. wheres all the money going. not to the 'armed' struggle anyway. its a RAcket.

Fionnuala Perry said...

Grouch,
What constitutes a 'dissident''. If you are speaking about Republicans who don't sign up to the charade, well then your comments are very scathing about a lot of people that you could not possibly know anything about.
Ostracised! By the people who want change. Plenty of gangsters up in the North sitting in government who are about to introduce change not Orwellian more Cromwellian.

Tain Bo said...

Larry,

you live in the Free-State now, are you gainfully employed not that it matters. Can you say when you resided in your UK that you never signed on the dole?
If you ever collected a shilling then you are being a hypocrite lambasting the unemployed. Will you grin when the axe falls and the poor shall become poorer, again?

You have some things in common with the puppets of Stormont looking down on the poor and working class. There is nothing wrong with people collecting benefits’ there is something drastically wrong that most are forced to simply as there is a lack of employment.

Though, keep that conservative British stiff upper lip one day you might believe the rubbish.

David Higgins said...

Larry,
Your comments are a bit wild no? seems to me you are sneering at Irishmen, who are forced to live under Brit rule and people who can't find employment. How very Tory of you.

larry hughes said...

When I lived in the wee black north I took all the benefits I could get. But I never considered myself above anyone in the SDLP for taking council jobs or council expenses as SF are doing now. Good for SF I say. If the Brits want to be there let them pay through the teeth. SF and dolites like I was should milk em dry. So called loyalists have been doing it since day one. Breaks my heart tonight to see the 'fag-factory' bite the dust in Ballymena hey, with 800 loyalists on the slippery slope to doleite-ness... NOT.

I aint professing to be no 'super' republican either and agree with grouch as I have stated a number of times... republicanism is a dead duck, the world has long since moved on. That doesn't detract from the integrity and heroics of those in the past. Something up to date and relevant will either appear or it will not. Simples.

Fionnuala, glad my research practice is paying off and you are enjoying my comments.

grouch said...

fionnuala, i mean militant dissidents, who havent really done anything militant, except loads of extortion and the odd heroic proxy bomb. thats who i mean. and i know nothing about lots of people. unlike our orwellian overlords. we are governed by corporations, not leinster or stormont or even westminister. unlike larry i am a republican, albeit a marxist-lennonist one - a minoriy on this conquered island. brits out.

Tain Bo said...

Larry,

why do you assume that all 800 are loyalists, that is very sectarian of you the end result doesn’t matter what their background is, it is just a sad fact for those laid off. Continue to make an eegit of yourself? Did you pay for your education or did that fall under bleed them dry.

“When I lived in the wee black north I took all the benefits I could get.”

Essentially you are a parasite and a braggart what prevented you from seeking employment? Do you believe every member of SF is employed or every supporter is?

The Brits are hardly paying through the teeth if that was the case they would have left the island long ago.
You think like a conservative Brit and a Shin with your, what is in it for Larry nonsense.

Mocking the people laid off and referring to them as 800 loyalists might suggest you haven’t moved on that much a trace of gloating republicanism lingering in your nut.

How’s life treating you in the black south I hope a bit more decent than those you mock for being laid off.

larry hughes said...

£250,000 to 'research' the dissidents. Think Dire Straights wrote a song about that 'Money for Nothing'.

Grouch

de Valera stated the 'republic' was merely a flag of convenience, a rallying call. He would respect whatever type of government the Irish people decided they wanted.

Boom and bust is what they chose and continue to choose. The landlord here told me today there's a fella looking to buy eleven houses in this estate at the moment. Tigger is back!

Fionnuala Perry said...

Grouch,
Well there's a few of them alright.

grouch said...

fionnuala, id like to be put into a cell for 24 hours with every dissident whose in jail at the moment because i am a complete headwrecker and know i could talk them out of their stubborn militancy and convert them to marxist-lennonism. even 3 hours would be enough. they are just not seeing the bigger picture at the moment and when they do they will cop on, except for the agents and scumbags (who rarely end up inside, i might add).
"never join an organisation that would have you as a member, especially ones that might order you to carry out a proxy bomb" marxist-lennonist sinn fein (the MLSF) are one option for disgruntled militants. brits (and other people i dont like) out.

larry hughes said...

David Higgins

A quick glance by a blind man on a galloping horse would show that the umpteen polls recently indicate that sufficient northern RCs would vote against a united Ireland should a border poll be granted, to make the idea a no-go. And THAT at a time when Unionists are not a majority in the North any longer. 'Forced' to live under British rule hardly applies.

The Orange Utopian state is on it's death bed gasping and the dissos are the only people trying to resuscitate it. Like Harland and Wolff and Shorts etc where RCs were murdered and run off site I have zero empathy for 800 PPs (pampered prods) in what Paisley jnr described as "luxury-jobs" being made redundant in the worst recession in living memory. When did anyone you know get made redundant from a 'luxury-job' with 18 MONTHS NOTICE?

UDR man Peter (correct?) wrote honestly here and very articulately. He stated clearly the troubles were good for 'his' community. Let the Ballymena mob get the boat like generations of well educated RCs were forced to do by their Orange State. Zero empathy.

Fast forward folks, 2015 is almost upon us. It aint the famine, 1916 or 1921.... get with the programme, nordy taigs are happy in the Union in spite of the Orange Nazi menace, that has been survived, move on.

I wont engage Tain Bo(TB)he is just personally rude. But hey, lets face it, if Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper had a 'love child' would you let your kiddies out to play with it?

Life is about choices folks. I LOVE living in the IRISH REPUBLIC.

Suck it up nordies, you are where you want to be, the polls prove it.

Peter said...

@Larry
Your comment is quite depressing really, I thought we had moved on from that petty sectarian shit. Due to European employment legislation I'm sure that almost half of the 800 will be from the CNR community. Anyone losing their job, irrespective of what sunday school they went to, is not something to gloat about.

grouch said...

i reckon tobacco is history, there will be more fag jobs going up in smoke, the nebuliser fags are taking over, feel sorry though for people who think theyre less damaging than cigarettes, they are probly worse in the long run. but i hope not.

David Higgins said...

Larry,
I don't know anybody that was polled but that is immaterial. People in the six counties lived under military occupation that's why I said they were FORCED, pretty straight forward to me. Whatever happens in the future of Ireland the military occupation by Britain will always have a monumental affect on how people think in relation to independence etc kind of psychological slaves if you will. It must be the air in the 26 but you are really speaking like a free stater these days.

Tain Bo said...

Larry,

If Sweeny Todd and Jack the ripper had a love child that would be something of a miracle but if Sweeny or Jack had a love child that would be different. Silence would be the way to go when not engaging someone but bravo on your weird homo fantasy much like your education your wit is less than razor sharp.

Take your own advice and ignore me that would mean “ignore” you are a dummy tit and will suck at whatever tit feeds you; you can stamp that as rude though my questions were more direct rather than rude but it is a convenient cop out from a manner less man.

By acknowledging me you invite a response it is not quite the response you expected so this time ignore me.

larry hughes said...

Peter

my granddad was in the Royal Ulster Riffles in WW2 surviving Dunkirk and D-Day, a real war, for shillings too, not a mickey mouse UDR job on top dollar. He died of a heart-attack in early 1973 protecting RC houses in Lurgan from wee Nazis who were never likely outa the country.

He couldn't get a job emptying bins for Lurgan council after the war because of his primary school. You can keep the new found dispensation for the future generation I'm afraid.

David Higgins

I understand what you are saying. But in SF and Peter's new reality we are all free staters/partitionists now. The youth in the wee 6 should create a wee wolf tone type RC/prod/dissenter paradise and show the rest of us what we are missing. Do it in 6 counties maybe the 26 will see the light.

Grouch

I was in Galway all day. didn't see you anywhere. that wee café GBC does the best seafood chowder I ever tasted. Better even than new England clam chowder in Boston.

grouch said...

larry, i am the only white guy on the taxi rank down bridge street, you'll spot me the next time, i have an image of marx and lennon on the dashboard. thats how you'll know me in case the other white guy is on.

Peter said...

@ Larry

have a dig if you want, no skin off my nose. You and your family are the only ones that suffer from your bitterness not me. Get over it.

larry hughes said...

Get over what Peter?

That 39,388 prods flocked into an Ulster Home Guard that was initially requiring 16,000 men during WW2 and 70% in some areas like Ballymena, were under 25 yrs old and in other areas 50% were under 21 yrs old? Or that the only time Orange parades were halted was during the 2nd world war for fear London would see them all marching about able bodied and well fed?

RCs were not permitted into the LDV as general sectarian policy. 140 RCs roughly out of nearly 40,000 and Craigavon was screaming for conscription out of 'loyalty'. THREE times he demanded it be introduced in N. Ireland. Who was he intent on sending to the 'front' I do ponder! 40,000 not counting protected employment like Harland + Wolff, engineering, agriculture, RUC, fire brigades civil service, housing executive etc etc not too many RCs in those jobs back in the day huh Peter? (those were the glory days eh!!)Did any prods actually go to the war Peter?

Nagh Peter, you get over the fact your lot fool no-one. Never did, never will. The British Army refused to take the LDV/Ulster Home Guard (commonly referred to as Look Duck and Vanish Brigade) under its control because of the sectarian nature of it. Insisted it remain under civilian RUC control.

How many RCs you recon in that Ballymena factory? 5O% you say! Another loyal myth made up as you go along. Who exactly are you people loyal to?

Sam Macaughtry was in the RAF during WW2 and upon return was pressured into joining the B-Specials, he refused citing war fatigue as a handy excuse. The 'special' (needs) who was trying to recruit him said 'But this is the real war Sam!'.

UDR ... sectarian murder squad on top dollar. Must be hard for YOU to live with the reality of that Peter. Or probably not.

larry hughes said...

Don't take my word for it folks...
PRONI Public Records Northern Ireland.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVJJ6SxJXWI

frankie said...

Larry what I find strange is the number of former/present Republicans who joined the Provisionals or other who had grandparents-parents who founght on the side of the British during the two world wars...

Take Ronnie Bunting as an example. One of the founders of the INLA yet his father was a Careerist within the BA.. or Martin Meehans grandfather who lost his life on the battlefield on the Somme and yet Martin Meehan, like his son Martin og were/are staunch Irish Republicans.. Then you have the funeral of Charlie Hughes getting a final salute from the BA...

Sometimes I asked myself what made one part of a family defend all for King or Queen and another part oppose everything that their forefathers swore to defend. Maybe it's just one of lifes unanswerable conundrums...

Peter said...

Ancient history Larry. "Get over what?" The hatred Larry, it's clearly affecting you.

larry hughes said...

Peter

Hatred is the deliberately chosen foundation upon which your people settled and excused themselves here. I don't 'hate' anyone, much less hide behind hatred/religion as a handy existence. I take my hat off to you for participating here. I have never ventured to any loyalist blogs. So fair do's to you on that score. Though your lack of response to my and the University of Kent factual reality on WW2 Loyalism will hardly go unnoticed here. We din't get jobs coz we wuz fik prodz, nor did our grandparents.

Frankie.

Check this out....most of the lads who hammered the Tans were all ex British army vets. The more things change the more they stay the same huh? Middle east Afghan etc. Seems the armaments factories don't 'discriminate'... and politicians never read a history book?

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/michael-collins-killer-met-him-twice-before-1922-ambush-at-beal-na-blath-30632904.html

That guy was in two political parties, allegedly killed Colins and ended up with 3 pensions. Where's Scap and Donaldson....

Have a feeling this guy was a different very different 'fish' to them.



Peter said...

Larry
I was attracted to this blog after reading Secret History of the IRA and about the Boston College affair. I really like this site because of its honesty. The contributors who engage with me are honest and direct, and don't engage in whataboutery or give pathetic digs about my past, yourself excluded of course.
As I have said before I despise political unionism because I am a socially liberal athiest and will not try to defend the mistakes of the past or present that the unionist community made. If you want to laugh at people losing their jobs and have a dig at me for being in the UDR, go ahead but don't expect me to get into whataboutery with you.

larry hughes said...

Peter

'As I have said before I despise political unionism because I am a socially liberal athiest and will not try to defend the mistakes of the past or present that the unionist community made'.

GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

I find it difficult to have time for any political party in fairness. Delighted to see UKIP put a rocket up the status quo in England.

larry hughes said...

Grouch

I went to the guy at the front of the rank...African/Irish fella and he had no clue about the address I was looking for. Unfortunately I had to go to a whitey further back in the line to get where I needed to be in a hurry. Will look for ye next time. Monday 17th Tuesday 18th November.

grouch said...

sound larry, keep an eye out for me- i look like a cross between groucho marx and john lennon.

peter,
i enjoy ur comments and honesty here, u and wolfesbane are the only nordy prods ive communicated with. im a great believer in the switched at birth theory and often wonder what we'd be like if born on the 'other side'. i hope id be as sound an aul prod as the bould wolfesbane. then again id probly be a total wanker. i hav a feeling if u and larry met each other in australia or somewhere like that youd enjoy each others company. then again....!

Peter said...

Grouch
Cheers! I was speaking to a young shinner at Queen's on Tuesday and told her my fave republican output was this site and she said, "..but McIntyre isn't a republican". I hate the DUP/OO dominance of unionism, but you guys have a similar problem with PSF dominance of republicanism. Here's to keeping it real!

grouch said...

the young shinners, sure God love em, they'd probly tell u gerry wasnt in the ra too. they are a little north korean outfit now. heres to keeping it real peter!

larry hughes said...

Grouch

Will keep an eye out for ye. Peter seems sound, hope he hangs about here.

grouch said...

of course hes sound, hes a potential marxist-lennonist.

larry hughes said...

partial to a bit of 'John-Lenonism'.... 'imagine' that!