Outside The Box: Take 13

Sean Mallory casts an irreverent eye over what he sees as the double standards employed by both justice campaigners and officialdom when it came to the murder of Gerard Jock Davison who was gunned down in the Markets two weeks ago. Sean Mallory from Tyrone is a wry and sometimes caustic observer of politics both nationally and internationally. He provides TPQ with its own Outside The Box commentary.

  • “Our Robert”
In the midst of all the recent monotonous excitement of a British general election, a family is bereaved by the murder of their father. Fingers point and gossip is ripe, much of it hinting at a possible revenge for one, Robert McCartney. No proof of Gerard Davison’s alleged role in McCartney’s killing has been brought forward: just the say so of the McCartney’s sisters’. And who are we to disagree with them?
No SDLP standing on the doorstep of the Davison household demanding that the McCartneys hand over any information they have about who Davison’s enemies might have been. No trips to Stormont for Davison’s family to be consoled in the arms of our Ministers who promise no stone will be left unturned in bringing his murderers to justice. No trip to Dublin to be insincerely welcomed by Kenny and his brood, rubbing their hands with glee at their windfall of another rotten apple to throw at Sinn Féin. Nor, a trip to the USA to stand beside the most powerful murderer in the world who demands justice for them. 
No: no candle light vigil demanding justice, no, none of that for Davison, for he lost the right as a human being when he was pronounced guilty by the media long ago of the same fate that befell him.  
The McCartneys, in a much warranted break from the British media election frenzy, are back on centre stage again. With glum faces, they recall the fate that befell ‘our Robert’ and yet fail to adequately convince the public of their sincerity that they equate the loss that they felt with that of the loss the Davison family are feeling. It would seem that McDonnell, Kenny and Clinton’s sincerity is catching!  
Still demanding justice from a dead man (perhaps the fate that befell the body of the murderous Francesco Salviati, Archbishop of Pizza, may provide them with a possible solution in their quest for justice), and condemning those who speak kindly of Davison, they don’t publicly state who they think murdered him. Yet suspects abound! 
Like the rest of us they probably have their own prime suspect, family friend or foe! While we assume they would never approve of what happened to Davison, it might well turn out that this was indeed a dish best served cold for “our Robert” if those arrested by the PSNI are anything to go by. The McCartney's feel aggrieved that they will not find true justice for the murder of “our Robert” now that the alleged murderer of the murdered has been murdered - possibly by a close ‘associate’ of the murdered. Some people are never pleased. 
In a letter to the Belfast Telegraph, Emeritus Professor of Economic and Social History Liam Kennedy praises the McCartney’s for their condemnation of the infamous ‘advert’ and repeats their claim that Davison gave the order for Robert’s brutal death. The professor then goes off on a rant attacking those groups who signed the advert, questioning how they are financed, the qualifications of their staff and what appears to be their sectarianism. He points out that it: 
  • "reads like a roll call of nationalist organisations, suggesting some kind of communal sectarian reflex behind the initiative"..... 
  • "The bombastic account of his life was notable for what it didn't say. But down the years the silenced voices in the Markets and the Short Strand have spoken privately of a different man, of someone they feared and for whom they had little respect.”........ 
  • "In view of Davison's questionable past, one wonders why certain community groups, many funded by British and European taxpayers, would rush to produce the kind of hagiography apparent in that notice. Was this a misuse of public funds?".......

And he goes on to question how past paramilitaries are involved in community groups paid for by public monies and should there not be some form of vetting involved. Has he never wondered why no British Unionist has never called for what he writes?  
A letter that seems to be loaded with self-inflicted foot wounds and none more painful and to the point than the ‘publicly funded’ and 'unvetted' university his salary and he have always been associated with – quite a nest of conservative and radical ideas repeatedly lectured to students! Charlie Hebdo anyone?  
Davison - an intelligent man (but that trait alone should be no debarment to commit murder) and a highly thought of member of his own community and whose years of ‘community’ work within the Markets area was eulogised by the quantity of signatories of various community groups on an advert - has been denigrated by the media,to the level of disdain often reserved for Jihadists. 
No doubt he had his faults. And his links to the night of Robert McCartney’s death have never been fully explained. But likewise, neither has his guilt been even closely proven. So we must assume, as is natural, innocent until proven guilty.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

20 comments to ''Outside The Box: Take 13"

  1. It seems an unfair representation of the McCartney sisters here. If you have ever grieved anyone, you will understand that people in process wont get everything 100% right. If you couple that with the sense of injustice they feel, then its clear they should be forgiven for sounding harsh in some interviews.I think above any immediate platitudes people can offer those grieving, is to forgive them some mistakes they might make as times passes.

  2. DaithiD,

    it is a gratuitously harsh perspective. But that can be said of all his pieces. He writes with an openly professed irreverence and is not afraid to attack the sacred whatever it might be. He is not dictated to by us.

    He held the same perspective when he and I discussed it back in 2005. We are as divided now as we were then but his view has a place on this site - I know you are not suggesting otherwise.

  3. I notice the Paras at Warrenpoint were MURDERED and the Derry protesters on bloody Sunday were KILLED according to the BBC. Sums up how much progress we have made since the GFA in my view. All in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Dáithí could these bombastic meanderings be just the alter ego of another Sean from Tyrone ... he who images he packs "A Fistful of Dynamite"?

    There's definitely a pattern match to their ramblings.

  5. From Sean Mallory


    My intention with this article, however it may come across, harsh and/or brutally indifferent to people’s pain, is to highlight the hypocrisy of the hierarchy of victims that exists here.
    The McCartney’s and the Davison’s now share a commonality and both deserve equal exposure.

  6. Larry, nobody in the establishment has admitted that the civilians on Bloody Sunday were murdered. There was an apology and an admission it was wrong. No admission of murder. So it's not surprising the BBC are taking the official line.

    Cameron said it was unjustified and unjustifiable but explained he wouldn't call it murder as it wasn't his place to do so.

    I am even unsure if those suspected of an offence on the day are going to be charged with murder. I doubt it.

  7. Larry

    You hit the nail on the head and the example you give is why Adams should never have shaken that hand.


  8. Sean/AM better to have all the information and potential context out there, whatever is truth will still remain.
    Henry, I think there is a stylistic difference , the other Sean would praise everyone simultaneously whilst proposing some evil overarching British involvement, and would include at least one mention of returning “the ownership of Ireland to the people of Ireland”.

  9. Sean

    What you wrote needed to be said and it needed to be said bluntly. The politicos and hacks for all their fawning words, had no interest in the grief of the McCartney family. if ever there was a case of grief being exploited by the political and media elites it was this. From Bush on up how they cried crocodile tears.

    Whoever advised the sisters to go down this road must also have been aware their anger and grief would be shamelessly exploited.

    From the start the campaign had the fingerprints of top down all over it. If you look at how successful campaigns of this type are normally built, a local core support base first, then outwards to media and politicos it was the opposite of that.

    If bringing closure for the sisters was its aim and I doubt that, it had failure written all over it, not least because it spread the 'alleged' perpetrators and enablers far to wide. It was a pub brawl and the campaign quickly lost focus of that.


  10. Organised Rage

    It is proof if any were needed that zero has changed. The media are propping Gerry and Marty up and providing cover for their disgraceful slither into the political feedbag. Career politicians I believe was the pejorative term they directed at the SDLP? The Brits are sorry for nothing and as in other parts of the globe at present will resort to kind should people see through the smoke and mirrors show going on at present. Funny how they never felt the need to massacre a couple of dozen Pakistanis or Poll-Tax protesters.

  11. I for one could not give two flying fucks how harsh or brutal any post is as long as there is truth in it, Sean speaks his mind and we are all the better for it ,Davidson,s murder was wrong simple as, but the zero to hero worship from ex republicans was imo disgusting they must have had some reason to dismiss him from the"movement "the add has had one public notice published so far from one "community group"stating that the add was published without their authorisation,it was as much an opposite side of the coin in terms of milking it by ex republicans as the Mc Cartney family had allowed themselves to be used in seeking justice for their brother,their reasoning and here I only speculate may have been that they knew there wasnt a cat in hells chance of getting justice if it was left to the police or the republican movement ,and even with a high profile campaign they still havent been granted justice ,I for one think the add was nothing more than a cynical two fingers to that family nothing genuine about it,typical quisling $inn £eind control shit.

  12. Mick , we have been down this path before and as long as you are prepared to continue with "it was a pub brawl" and not recognise that what made this incident stand out was the mass intimidation of eye witnesses by paramilitaries the forensic cleaning of the crime scene and the involvement of elected public representatives within a short period from when the murder took place to condemn the police follow up searches ,then a cara it seems to me me that you will only believe what you wish to believe ,it was certainly a brawl to start with but it ended up with a family distraught and a community torn apart between loyalities, thugs won .

  13. Mick,

    you are at something of a disadvantage in your use of language. To the attuned ear in the North "a pub brawl" was a term used by Gerry Adams a year earlier to describe the IRA kidnapping of Bobby Tohill. So there is a tendency to see the term as a mask rather than an accurate description. Marty is right, what started out as a pub brawl quickly turned into something much more different. It is no more accurate to describe the totality of what happened here as a pub brawl than it would be to describe rape as a ride. IRA figures like many others have frequently been involved in pub brawls and no more is heard of it. This was different for a host of reasons, some touched on by you and some not.

  14. Mick,

    The McCartney women, in my view, were strategically right to go to Bush and whoever else they could shake a stick at. What made it strategically right was that SF, the opposition in this battle, had for a number of years been seeking to use the White House to its advantage. The women opted to use the same house to SF’s disadvantage and to the advantage of their own campaign. Their campaign was not adversely affected by it in the slightest, the opposite in fact.

    I doubt very much that they thought for one minute that the White House had any justice interest in what had happened to Robert McCartney, no more than the British Tory Party or British Labour Party had. In any circumstance when the strategic opportunity presents itself it has to be grasped. Tactically, the women could not be outflanked by SF on the matter because the SF leadership greeted Bush at Hillsborough 2 years earlier while he was waging war. Party members stood outside protesting against Bush along with the rest of us. The leadership were inside. The women knew their grief would be exploited but they had other considerations and calculations to factor in. As Catherine McCartney said at the time the British government were useless and the Irish government were polite but useless.

    Why these campaigns take off is often a matter of timing, public mood - a child dies in Britain every week I believe as a result of domestic violence but not all become a Baby P. There is a multiplicity of factors involved in these things. There are things we imagine should take off but don’t and other things that do when we think they have not a snowball’s chance in hell. I think political timing dovetailed with a series of those things called events and it gathered a strong wind in the sails of that campaign. Without that timing the campaign would never have reached the heights it did.

    Looking back there was tremendous amount of male chauvinism at play – these women had to be worked by evil dissidents or securocrats, they had not the ability to do so much on their own.

  15. AM

    I think the McCartney sisters came out of the whole sad episode with integrity and a great deal of public empathy. SF on the other hand did not.

  16. I've never read as much rubbish in my life. Under Mallory's thinking one could substitute the name Jock Davidson for Lenny Murphy and make a case for his innocence. Lenny was never convicted of the murder of any Catholics. Nor was he legally charged with leading a butcher gang. Some people including Murphy's family, deny he was ever the "master butcher" preferring the unfathomable conclusion that he was branded by the media after being set up and killed. The same could be said for Billy Wright or Basher Bates - whose murder chillingly mirrors that of Jock's. Can Mallory honestly expect the public to assuage their demise, the "trigger men" - as the demise of a man stabbed to death in a bar brawl involving a gang of intoxicated senior PIRA Men?

    We can debate and rationalise this killing until the cows come home; but the fact is, Jock was killed for a reason; he was once a major player in a risky game of vigilantism. Unfortunately for him, and his family, someone decided to do the rather unthinkable - hit back. let's not beat about bush Mallory: Ostensibly republican media seek to portray this horrible killing in the vein of Jill Dando's - a conspicuous killing. Although parallels can be drawn - both gunned down going to work, both seemingly motiveless attacks - (the latter only if you believe Jock was a honourable upstanding citizen who has been unfairly labelled by anti-republican media.) The difference is, unlike Jill Dando's community, the dogs in the street here know why Jock Davidson was callously gunned down while on his way to earn a living - at this stage in his life most likely an honest one.

  17. From Sean Mallory


    You are quite correct about Murphy as he was never found guilty of murder or judicially connected to anything to do with the Butchers. Davison falls in to the same category. Both should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

    But as you state,

    “the dogs in the street here know why Jock Davidson was callously gunned down while on his way to earn a living”

    but the dogs on the Shankill and within the British security forces were no less informed. If they are not to be presumed innocent then why isn’t it?

    Unfortunately for Davison, the media driven by external political forces, presumed him guilty and the public accepted that. Murphy was never tried by the media while alive.

    Look at Colm Duffy. How many of the public do you think believe his is not guilty of what the media say and yet he has never been found guilty.

    It’s not that Davison is guilty or not, that is at the crux of this issue, but the process of justice itself which seems to be bypassed these days and heavily politically motivated (Craigavon Two) in reaching such conclusions – evidence seems the least of the judiciaries worries.

    We could also substitute Hitler in their as well as there is absolutely no evidence he gave the order for the Holocaust.

  18. Throw in the bombing mass burning and bombing of Dresden , Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where does this train stop ffs

  19. marty

    A pub brawl is what occurred, what happened after the murder, the clean up, etc, whilst of course related, had nothing to do with how Mr McCartney lost his life.


    I'm as guilty of male chauvinism as the next man, although one does ones best to combat it. Whether it played a major role in this case, I do not know.

    You know as well as I do power doesn't come along and say let me run your campaign, you look like you need some help. Perhaps you should do this and that. If only they would they could then be told to fuck off, its far more complex/underhanded than that.

    I feel going as a guest into Bush's White House had a detrimental impact on the McCartney's fight to get justice from the state. Basically your saying they were simply playing Sinn Féin at their own game, while true its not much of a recommendation in my view.

    Could some folk have used it as a get out card? "Well, the McCartney's have powerful people on their side, they will not need my support." Maybe others thought I do not like the look of some of there more prominent supporters so i'm staying out of this. I know I felt a bit like that.

    Did the White House offer any actual support or was it just another PR exercise for a US President who was desperate to be seen as a 'good guy?

    marty mentioned empathy and I'm sure he is correct, but if you ask senior politicians for support, you have to pick those potential supporters can empathise with; and George Bush was undoubtedly not one.

    Just some thoughts

  20. Mick,

    there was a pub brawl but prior to the murder. What happened down that alleyway was not a pub brawl. The brawl was over by that point and something new kicked in.

    The campaign was never going to produce justice regardless of who the family went to. The people who had the power to deliver justice were not for doing so. The most the family could do was behave justly which is what they did during that campaign.

    By playing SF at their own game, to use that term, the family raised the profile very high. The loss of support was negligible. There was cynicism about the interest of the politicians but not at the family who did what most others would do in a similar situation.

    If the Ballymurphy families or those of Bloody Sunday could go to the White House (like Geraldine Finucane has rightly did in respect of Congress) in a bid to maximise leverage on the British they would be mistaken not to do so.

    Opportunities are limited: take them when they come. I voted the Irish Labour Party once - on the basis of them looking the least worst! The world is not as we would like it to be.


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