Monday, October 19, 2015

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Failed By Ireland, North And South

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.

9 comments :

AM said...

AA,

good piece setting out a reasoned alternative context. Hopefully this will not be your last piece for us.

Henry JoY said...

"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."

The peace process has caused all that. Really?

Too much death, sorrow, money squandered or stolen as compared to what?

What alternative history of the last 20 years do you propose?

Let's hear your alternative proposals as to how we could have outworked our way from the long and bitter conflict.
Only then might we be able to attempt a comparison on the alternative potential amounts of sorrow, grief and death.

After evaluating the human costs we could begin to consider the money; alternative histories of theft, racketeering and prudent uses of government(s) fund(s) are, in my opinion, secondary to the alternative histories with regards to death and suffering.

I don't think its unreasonable to propose that in all likelihood many of the alternatives would have resulted in as many or even more deaths and casualties; as much or even more suffering and sorrow than the current imperfect and flawed process.

But if you have an alternative history that could have been more effective, given the depth of division and hurt that existed, then please share it.

AM said...

From Armagh Abú

Henry Joy,


I have read your comment and am presently assembling a reply. Thank you in advance for your patience.

Henry JoY said...

Ard Mhaca Abú

Tóg é go bog.

It took me a lifetime to pose that question! (lol)

AM said...

From Armagh Abú

Henry Joy

As Anthony noted his intro to my piece I came in via Twitter. So you can readily understand where I'm coming from here's my bio blurb I have posted on my Twitter account: I've always supported achieving a united Ireland via peaceful means. I've never supported the GFA. Go figure.

On the GFA itself: The three main things about the GFA that I didn't like from jump are: 1) The British government were not named as participants. The title of Kate Nash's piece right here on The Quill says it all. 2) I was suspicious of the way the GFA was being “sold”. It was being shopped around and each faction was told the GFA would be (fill in the blank). Whatever each wanted to hear was told that's what it would be. For example, concerned and questioning Sinn Féin supporters were told: “it's only a bit of paper – it really means nothing.” 3) I was concerned the fudge in its selling would cause many future problems. Here are a few:

I was shocked at the furore expressed by members of the PUL community over the letters of comfort given to the OTRs. Why? Because the US guaranteed that issue and now, of course, have backed away. As evidenced here:

John Kerry, then chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said: the specific language that was added to the treaty by the Foreign Relations Committee concerning issues coming out of Northern Ireland and the specific promises that were made to the Foreign Relations Committee members by the British government when the treaty was being negotiated.

That “specific language” referred to is what Americans, the Irish government and many in the CNR community were told: that a line had been drawn under 1998 and that no prosecutions of anyone would occur for anything pre-1998. In the cases of Gerry McGeough and the Boston College tapes especially we saw the US shift of position. So we all, including the PUL community, were lied to.

And, you must be keenly aware that Americans are still looking for the promises they were told the GFA contained, namely, information on many unresolved cases, including but not limited to: Pat Finucane's murder, the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and the McGurk's bar bombing. As Ed Moloney said in an interview: “that's why they resisted all efforts to investigate Pat Finucane because Pat Finucane is the key to a door behind which lies even dirtier secrets.” So I doubt the exposition of the evidence on these matters, as promised, will never occur.

I could cite you many examples of other GFA promises that have never developed. But Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey does a nice job here. (And I could go on and on.) For the sake of brevity and to summarise this point: I felt the GFA should have nailed down and copper-fastened these issues. After all, the Principle of Consent was accepted and disputed territory, namely the six counties, was ceded as trade-offs on these very issues, which never materialised and sadly, in my opinion, never will.

Armagh Abú said...

As Anthony noted his intro to my piece I came in via Twitter. So you can readily understand where I'm coming from here's my bio blurb I have posted on my Twitter account: I've always supported achieving a united Ireland via peaceful means. I've never supported the GFA. Go figure.

On the GFA itself: The three main things about the GFA that I didn't like from jump are: 1) The British government were not named as participants. The title of Kate Nash's piece right here on The Quill says it all. 2) I was suspicious of the way the GFA was being “sold”. It was being shopped around and each faction was told the GFA would be (fill in the blank). Whatever each wanted to hear was told that's what it would be. For example, concerned and questioning Sinn Féin supporters were told: “it's only a bit of paper – it really means nothing.” 3) I was concerned the fudge in its selling would cause many future problems. Here are a few:

I was shocked at the furore expressed by members of the PUL community over the letters of comfort given to the OTRs. Why? Because the US guaranteed that issue and now, of course, have backed away. As evidenced here:
John Kerry, then chairman of the powerful US Senate Foreign Relations Committee said: the specific language that was added to the treaty by the Foreign Relations Committee concerning issues coming out of Northern Ireland and the specific promises that were made to the Foreign Relations Committee members by the British government when the treaty was being negotiated.

That “specific language” referred to is what Americans, the Irish government and many in the CNR community were told: that a line had been drawn under 1998 and that no prosecutions of anyone would occur for anything pre-1998. In the cases of Gerry McGeough and the Boston College tapes especially we saw the US shift of position. So we all, including the PUL community, were lied to.

And, you must be keenly aware that Americans are still looking for the promises they were told the GFA contained, namely, information on many unresolved cases, including but not limited to: Pat Finucane's murder, the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and the McGurk's bar bombing. As Ed Moloney said in an interview: “that's why they resisted all efforts to investigate Pat Finucane because Pat Finucane is the key to a door behind which lies even dirtier secrets.” So I doubt the exposition of the evidence on these matters, as promised, will ever occur.

I could cite you many examples of other GFA promises that have never developed. But Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey does a nice job here. (And I could go on and on.) For the sake of brevity and to summarise this point: I felt the GFA should have nailed down and copper-fastened these issues. After all, the Principle of Consent was accepted and disputed territory, namely the six counties, was ceded as trade-offs on these very issues, which never materialised and sadly, in my opinion, never will.

Henry JoY said...

AA

thanks for your response. Though you offer explanation and justification for your position I'd hold that you have failed to address the substantive of my challenge.

"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 don't know if you're being mischievous and manipulative or whether your just downright deluded but I asked of you "too much" when compared to what?

Do you honestly believe that there haven't been substantive reductions in the amount of pain, suffering, physical injury, severe emotional trauma and the futile loss of life since the process took effect?
You have neglected to respond to that clear and direct question offering instead a critique of the GFA and its implementation.

I don't discount the points you've offered by way of explanation but unless you can take my question on and address what most right-thinking people could justifiably construe as a feeble attempt at distortion on your behalf then continuing the conversation becomes, to my mind, futile and dishonest.

The people have chosen ... they chose peace. The price didn't really matter to many back then ... and the price to be paid on-going is of less and less concern to even more and more.

As Peter, one of our Unionist friends on here, has said the Republican cause is a beaten docket. I reluctantly agree.

(Well done though on your first piece).

Armagh Abú said...

Henry,

Please note in my reply I said: "On the GFA itself" - I provided a well documented and detailed response on that point alone. I was hoping you'd "get" there'd be more to come.

Henry, you've asked a question here that's huge. A question which would require time, considerable thought and a considerable amount of ink to produce and then you complain and cast aspersions because I didn't give you a hasty answer. Patience, pet, truly is a virtue.

So for you I will say: More to come, Henry.

Well done though on your first piece) Thank you.

Henry JoY said...

Armagh Abú

it would have been somewhat more considerate if you'd flagged more clearly that your initial response was an instalment! Clarity rather than hopes and assumptions please.

That said though, take as much time as you need. Its a mammoth question. Some might say its the critical question that cannot be avoided if we are to mature: mature as individuals and collectively.

Forgive me if I come across as impatient.
If you hang around here long enough you'll find many here much more so than I and quite a few short fused reactionaries to boot.

As I say 'tóg é go bog'.
This is a fundamental question for every citizen, especially so for republicans.
Be nice if we could have some sort of a consensual agreement though before Easter 2016 ^_^