Monday, May 24, 2010


What we have we hold! Not an inch! No surrender! No Pope here! No Catholic need apply! I wouldn’t have a Catholic about the place.

Some of the slogans and catch cries of unionism seem quaint and old fashioned nowadays. Relics of another age. And that’s only the printable ones. No doubt that sentiment exists yet but its public expression is on the wane. No longer politically correct. Even though the emotion may linger on. And not only in the TUV.

Some senior DUP members find it hard to come to terms with the new dispensation. They wander around Stormont like lost souls ever alert to the possibility that the young person sharing the lift with them or the queue for lunch might be a Sinn Féin staffer. Difficult to know who to be polite to or friendly with in this place. It’s easier to avoid the public face of Sinn Féin. But all the rest of them? That’s a different story.

That is why the DUP detest the TUV. Jim Allister says what some of them think. Even though they might not admit it nowadays. Not publicly at any rate.

Publicly all the talk is about unionist unity. Makes sense. I like unity. Good politics. Consensus building. Nil neart le chur le cheile. Unity is strength. Except when it is on a negative agenda. Like the Assembly on Monday. On Monday the DUP tabled a motion to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the disbanding of the B-Specials, without any sense of irony whatsoever, and the formation of the UDR. They were supported in this by the UUP. Unionism United.

But for what purpose?

For the purpose of revisionism.

This blog has no problem with any one celebrating the UDR or the B Specials. That’s their own business. As long as it is not in the chamber at the Assembly.

That is why I and others opposed their motion.

The B Specials were an armed wing of the old Unionist regime at Stormont.

Along with the RUC they were responsible for oppression and violence against nationalists over many decades in defence of that regime.

But I am very conscious that members and former members of these organisations and their relatives were killed by republicans.

So I tried to be measured in what I said.

Everyone should regret the fact that any one was killed. I certainly do.

At the same time there is no avoiding the shameful record of the B Specials or the fact that it had to be disbanded by the British Government in 1970.

The UDR had a similar history. It also was scrapped.

The British Government of the day made no bones about what these organisations were for. They armed the unionists to defend the union and partition, and equipped them with all the weapons of coercion, sectarianism and terrorism to do this.

So too with the UDR. When the British establishment felt the need to protect their mainstream regiments they recruited more expendable local and indigenous people to do their work for them.

They founded the UDR as part of their Ulsterisation strategy.

I can understand why some people joined these organisations, and I have no doubt that some of them may have behaved bravely in the conduct of their duties.

However it is my strong view that these organisations and their members were used by sinister elements in the political and military elites here for their own narrow ends. And when they had served their purpose the British Government, as expedient as always, got rid of them. Just like that!

Even a brief glimpse at the history of the UDR or the Specials would satisfy all but the most jaundiced eye that these forces were entirely subversive.

The history of the UDR in particular is replete with accounts of its involvement directly in the murder of Catholics, and indirectly in the murder of hundreds more through collusion with unionist death squads.

In many cases files and photos of nationalists and republicans were passed over to unionist death squads, frequently from within the UDR.

It’s over 40 years since Terence O Neill told us that ‘Ulster is at a cross roads’. If Monday’s debate is to be heeded it appears that elements of political unionism are there still.

Thankfully most everyone else has moved on. If the DUP backwoods men doubt that, maybe they should ask Jim Alister.


jaymac said...

Spot on Gerry, was wondering if you would comment on this.

I also wonder if you have any thoughts on Nelson McCausland's apparent refusal to commemorate the Easter Rising in the north alongside any important unionist centenaries coming up?

Paul Doran said...


If there is one shower I was the UDR. I re-call trainning for the frist Belfast Marathon back in 82 and I was on my back after doing about 18 mile , Newcastle, Castlewellan, Clough, Dundrum and just out of pure badness the buggers trying to run me down, they knew who I was of course,A Catholic, , another instance , we were young fellas about 15 /16 years old one of us shouts up the Ra and I get caught,the UDR person, ( I won't call them Soldiers) sticks the point of his gun into mouth , scared the hell out of me, We didn't report these things. that how it was.

Timothy Dougherty said...

Well Gerry, it seem that the long History of Ireland , is at times even longer. The mindset of the day when the Majority of the poulation of the Island were referred to as "Irish Papists" or just "common enemies" by the highness's council for the affairs of Ireland. One could be a regicide under such conditions. We like to think we have come along way, laws change but people's minds seem to take time. What is on paper is not written in the mined until we live our words.Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.
good post Gerry

Micheal said...

I'm confused as to why the unionists wanted to celebrate the disbanding of the B specials, a reserve of the later disbanded RUC.
Unless you mean that they wanted to somehow pay tribute to that brutal and fascistic force through the motion.

As I see it, the unionist's are uncomfortable with an Irish identity because the ideology they are wedded to has been detrimental to the people of Ireland, in so many different ways and,at so many different levels, generation after generation after generation.

But, you know, there's one thing that stands out for me and gives
me hope, in the midst of this political peace process which the Stormont assembly is central to, and that is the possibility of Forgiveness somewhere along the line. It's there, it's only a possibility, but it's certainly there and that makes it a very special thing that you guy's have going for you. And I for one really appreciate that.

And I think that if we all, and I mean all of us, can manage to mix in a bit of philosophy with our respective ideologies, and follow your lead in subcribing to the Mitchell principles, then a new horizon comes into view and a mighty wave breaks on a distant shoreline.

Cois Farraige agus atha, chuala Linn na focailin.
Sei immer stark guter freund in Himmels willen.