Me and You and a Dog Named Boo

It is instinctive to say that the debate generated by Richard O’Rawe’s hunger strike narrative still continues. But it doesn’t. What has taken the place of the debate is a heavily one sided if deeply reasoned discourse that meets little in the way of serious opposition. The argument of force deployed against O’Rawe has been swept aside by the force of argument from him. A quick read of his book Afterlives – and that is what it is, a quick pulsating read – shows how well he has marshalled his defences, impenetrable echelon upon echelon. For long enough he defended in depth, ceding no ground and allowing his attackers to shake their fists without them ever landing a punch. Now he is on the move and at breakneck speed.

The tide has turned, gone out in fact, and we can all see who is naked. It is not O’Rawe. He is well covered by his blanket. For his critics there is nothing else to hide behind. Neither fig leaf nor flag. As he pursues with clinical efficiency those who had maligned, berated, derided and dismissed him as ‘the fool’ it is like watching a tank phalanx routing a regiment of donkeys. The braying means nothing. It neither intimidates nor inspires, merely invites contempt.

From the midst of the cacophony that often drowned the sound of reason one thing rarely heard was laughter. The charge and counter charge were too serious for lighter moments. Now that O’Rawe is so far in front and cannot be caught things have relaxed a bit. His flailing critics having run out of puff seem eager to demonstrate that they don’t even take themselves seriously any longer.

Yesterday I was told if I wanted a laugh I should visit the discussion about Afterlives being pursued on the Slugger O’Toole blog. These days I rarely get to visit Slugger despite its reputation as a blog without equal in terms of discussion of Irish political issues. But I was glad I found the time. Because in the midst of explaining where things were at in terms of interpreting the hunger strike one poster claimed that:

the protection of the peace process against embittered failed politicos such as McIntyre, O’Rawe and Twomey is an entirely different kettle of fish and a task well worth pursuing.

So this is what it has come down to – the peace process must be defended. That’s what O’Rawe is all about, wrecking the peace process, the dirty rotten scoundrel. He must be a Protestant. So he should be pursued and purged of anti-peace process thoughts. Catholics don’t have them.

There are many daft things that get written or said when people get a rush of blood to the head and for that reason I have never been one to take these things seriously. I remember arguing with my daughter when she was 7 and she shouted at me ‘you are a wee lesbian.’ I laughed so much tears came to my eyes. The comment on Slugger reminded me of that occasion but there is an excuse for a seven year old. I could barely resist chortling and chuckling upon discovering that once again I was an enemy of the peace process against which it must be defended. But why is it always defended by morons on a moony mission? Surely if I was such a threat an intelligent defence would be mounted with a fine tipped pen rather than courtesy of the fluency one gets from a pencil with a rubber at either end.

I turned to my wife and fellow threat to the peace process and said, ‘Me and you and a dog named Boo.’ Well, O’Rawe is not a dog but each time he shouts ‘Boo’ some Sinn Fein luminary jumps as if electrocuted.

And then the terrible discovery that his bite is worse than his bark.


  1. LOL Anthony as someone who is an unrepentant lesbian can I be in your gang!

  2. Yes the peace process is the SF catch-all escape clause. A short read? Will have to get a coppy then and read it enroute to Spain next week...there I'm totally repentful, reconstructed, and INTERESTED!

  3. Mackers, could not find the piece you were speaking about and I sort of got bored trawling through the stuff.
    Unfortunately yourself, Carrie and all the other peace wreckers now have to tread this earth as the 'Unforgiven' too formidable Mackers that was the problem.
    I had such a comment made to me several months ago in the Felons.
    It is is quite okay if you keep it medicore and then apologise, throw yourself on their mercy and declare that you are totally insane and have suffered psychological set backs for years.
    Stand your ground and your well and truly f##ked.

  4. Read some of the voluminous comments on Slugger. Boy this is big now eh. Some seriously interesting commentaries there.

  5. I have just got my copy of Afterlives today and look forward to reading it ASAP.

    Well done to Mr. O'Rawe and to this blog for keeping this important matter in the public mind.


  6. Mackers, still can't find it. Although, I did read quite a poignant piece about Gerry Bradley.
    Gerard Hodgkins (hope I spelt this right) writes a bit of a damning piece about how the ostracization campaign against Gerry Bradley was unrelenting.
    It actually brought me back to a trade union conference I attended in the Wellington Park last Christmas.
    At the table where we had our dinner whether Gerry Bradley's had the right to write such a book was bitterly contested.
    To be honest I found the whole experience both amusing and sad, because those who objected most had never belonged to any part of the republican movement in their lives, they did not even tinker on the periphery, yet here they were unashamedly advocating their support for one Gerry and berating the other.
    It did not seem to matter that one Gerry had just been recently exposed for lying and covering up child sex abuse. The whole focus was on a former volunteers right to write such a book.
    The republican movement has a long history of ostracising its own.
    People like Dan Mc Cann, Choc Carmichael and Ivor Bell were tortured and maligned for years.
    Then, it was the turn of the Dark, youself Mackers, Tommy, Richard and Gerry Bradley.
    Where will it end? Or will it ever end?

  7. All,

    Ian Paisley has just been diagnosed with alzheimers. He has been seen walking the streets of Belfast shouting, "NO REMEMBER!!"

  8. Or his old war cry Robert "remember No"

  9. Methinks you have started something here Marty...
    Paisley will be twinned with itwasntme..
    Super surfing weather here just now.

  10. How can SF honestly call for 'Truth & Reconciliation Forums' & so called 'Truth Commissions' when a respected republican like Richard O'Rawe is called a liar etc for having the cheek to question the SF line on a subject of huge importance like the Hunger Strike..

    Amazing practice of double standards!!

  11. have a look at the menu at do these people eat like this and dont be sick they have very short memories.they discuss o rawes book at the table ffs.

  12. Becks have a look at their property/business portfolios.these wasters like to pretend they are socialists,I doubt they spend any time talking about Richards books,for one the bearded one wouldnt allow it and two,they would be to busy stuffing their faces with subsidised nosh and checking their expense accounts!

  13. I haven't really followed this debate as I was ill when it began, but I'd be interested in finding out more. From what little I know, I'd be inclined to believe O'Rawe, but I wonder why he didn't go public with his claims earlier. Is it advisable to read "Blanketmen" first before "Afterlives" or does "Afterlives" cover everything?

  14. Alfie

    You should read The Blanketmen first.


  15. Alfie,

    Afterlives covers the story sufficiently. Blanketmen is a brilliant read. One of the men who O'Rawe has been at loggerheads with over it told me a few years ago that while he had not read the book he had been told it was a great read. His problem with it related to the contentious point. Well worth a read if you have time.

  16. Nuala,

    Use the find facility if that sort of things happen. But you didn’t miss anything. Just rubbish you would have a laugh at.

    You are right – they hate you if you stand your ground and express a different point of view.

    ‘At the table where we had our dinner whether Gerry Bradley's had the
    right to write such a book was bitterly contested.’

    Gerry Bradley was made to suffer by that attitude. To what extent it contributed to his decision to end his life I don’t know. But we never imagine these things are inconsequential.

    After every war there are memoirs It is what adds to our understanding of wars. How much would we know about the Soviet military strategy during World War 2 had people like Georgy Zhukov and Vasily Chuikov not left us memoirs?

    ‘The republican movement has a long history of ostracising its own.’

    It simply cannot deal with different viewpoints. Now you can imagine the type of bully an outfit like that will pull to it. And the strange thing is there was so little bullying in jail on the wings. The IRA was a major factor in curbing the tendency. But the amount of it outside is staggering.


    How can SF honestly call for 'Truth & Reconciliation Forums'

    They don’t honestly call for it


    There is a strong core of reality in what you say. The Master would stop them reading the book. They would make people feel bad who did read it. A Shinner told me about appearing at a party meeting with my book and they were ripping.

  17. Mackers, I read in Richard's book about Adams speaking to him at Brian Keenan's funeral. I would say that was every inch a playing to the crowd gesture, 'Look at what a reasonable man I am, I am speaking to Richard in spite of all he has done.'
    Amazed at the loyalty shown by Danny Morrison, considering he was shafted to a certain extent.
    Nice when you see a shafter getting shafted. Not many people would sleek out the back door of a house and omit to tell those inside their home was surrounded.
    Selective memory on Danny's part or just saving his own skin?

  18. Nuala,

    I know the routine. He patted my back leaving an Eamon McCann lecture one night during the festival when he knew the eyes of many people in the hall would be on him. I never batted an eyelid. Done for the reasons that you outlined. Myself and Tommy Gorman were at a funeral in the Murph and him and Gibney were behind us. Now Jim wouldn’t move a muscle without his Master’s approval but the Master leaned over and greeted Tommy. We were laughing about it and Tommy said that the next funeral he would be ignored and somebody else greeted to underscore the point. So at a later funeral he greeted Marian who was with Tommy but never acknowledged Tommy at all.

    ‘Amazed at the loyalty shown by Danny Morrison’

    I am not. The disappointment is that he created such space in the jail for others who thought differently but out here seeks to close it all down. I was pretty thick with him in jail. Even smuggled Bacardi back in from a parole for him. His smile when getting it brings a smile to my face now! And I would call to his house regularly when out and still have a certain personal regard for him although no political regard whatsoever. In the end he found it difficult to accept an alternative view of the way things had gone. When I’d ring him he would launch into a tirade – me sitting laughing on the other end of the phone. We shared a platform at Oxford a few years ago and he even bought me a pint after it!

    But when you think of it he was quite prepared to deflect allegations of touting away from Scap when he had more reason than any of us to believe Scap was a tout. What therefore would he not deflect away from the Master? It is sad that he is where he is but c’est la vie.

  19. Remember seeing Adams make a bee line for Darkie after Geraldine Hughes' Belfast Blues show in St Marys. It looked then like he only went over to greet him as he knew people were watching