The following piece from Armagh Abú came in via Twitter on Saturday 17 Oct @ 0633 in response to a request for a critique of No Good Reason For Killing Gardaí. Armagh Abú is a great friend of TPQ.
I remember when the news broke. I was on Twitter. It was a fun day that was winding down as Ireland had played France and Poland in the RWC. But the easy banter on my time line ended early that evening when sketchy details of “dissident Republican” and “Garda shot” hit.
I was stunned as I read – Gardaí at scene in Omeath - something going on in Newry – were there two crime scenes developing? A run across the border? It was confusion and chaos for sure which I ascribe to modern times as Twitter now allows us to view news stories in their embryonic state. “Dissident Republican” and “Garda shot dead” in Omeath was what we had to sleep on.
The next day brought more details and I knew that official information would be slow in coming - the investigation is at its end, press statements are being readied while three families and An Garda are dealing with shock and sorrow and ongoing tragedy.
The words “dissident Republican” appeared over and over and over in every headline. Were we seeing an unusual circumstance - a physical force Republican in a domestic dispute who shot a responding officer dead? It didn't make sense but then violent domestic situations rarely do. The early morning brought more of the same – that horrible headline pounded away on Twitter hour after hour. It was early evening when I found a well-written and very detailed piece in a tabloid (!) that appeared to be quite reliable; other mainstream sources soon after began reporting similar details. The perpetrator was a mentally ill fantasist who had nothing to do with Republicans. The sadness of each facet and phase was shocking hard to take in. My thoughts and prayers were with so many people for so many reasons.
Over the next two plus days I limited myself to only Twitter headlines mostly to keep an eye out for news about Siobhan. I limited myself as there was nothing I really wanted to read. I knew what happened. I could get the gist of who was saying what from the 140 Twitter provides. I saw the officials making statements, the pundits droning on and the politicos sniping and swiping using the word dissident ad nauseam.
As events concluded I clicked one piece two days ago about Garda Golden's funeral because it was filed by Jennifer O'Leary. I clicked it just because I like her reporting and I'm glad I did. It was a beautifully written account of Garda Golden's funeral. Over these last few days the wheels in my head have been turning over the hysterical and provocative use of the word dissident and over questions I have as to the hows and whys of Garda Golden's death. This thing called the peace process has caused so much sorrow and has cost us dearly. I say too much. Too much sorrow. Too much death. And too much money - most of which has been squandered or stolen.
I clicked on Anthony McIntyre's piece because I like his opinion and commentary. I was taken aback. And in the interest of brevity I will reply to his piece directly. Anthony, no Tricolour will be placed by any Republican group on Mr. Mackin's casket. In your piece you had a link, which I clicked on and read in full, about Mr. Mackin's earthly remains. I found it sad. Extremely so. Certainly no one was more alone in this world, no one more ignored and failed by Ireland, North and South, than Crevan Mackin.
Crevan Mackin was Ireland's creation, Ireland's child in a sense. If what's been reported is accurate he was abandoned by his parents due to violent behaviour, then jailed as a child – violence again, then left to drift. When he bumped into the edges of societal reality, like courts in Newry and Dublin, again, he was ignored; by the courts, the jail, the system that had the power and indeed the duty to halt him, to help him and, if all else failed, to confine him against his will. Suicide by red tape. But not before he did grievous damage. He left his partner wounded and fighting for her life. And he left a police officer dead. A hero who went in and did his duty.
One point in your piece with which I agree. The wheels in my head are questioning if Tony Golden was let down by Ireland, too. I outlined my concerns on this issue to you in an email. An email I'm asking you to keep private. But rest assured I will be pursuing and questioning how this happened to Garda Golden. And that's the other thing in your piece on which you and I agree – there is no good reason for killing a police officer. None. Not by anyone. Or - any system.