Manners - A Long Time Coming

John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview former Irish republican prisoner Brendan Conway (BC) via telephone from Belfast about a trial he is facing concerning being a protesting Irish Republican prisoner. The exchange took place on Radio Free Éireann WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio New York City on Saturday 18th August 2012

JM: Just when you think things can't get more bizarre there are now people being brought up on charges for a prison protest. And people on the outside are looking at a two year sentence for something that they did while they were on the inside. And with us on the line from Belfast is Brendan Conway. He's an Irish Republican - Irish Republican prisoner, who ended up in court this week. Brendan, can you explain, what did you do to end up in court this week I believe with about ten other people?

BC: Yeah, there's eleven of us in total eight of whom are still in prison.We started a protest in 2010 in relation to the conditions and the British criminalisation policy which ended in an agreement in August, 2010 which ended strip-searching of prisoners and our daily routine in life, the right to education and freedom of association. That agreement then broke down in September of the same year when the prison service reneged and starting forcibly strip-searching people. We negotiated for some time through independent facilitators and with the British to try and get a way through it which resulted in them actually coming down harder on the prisoners. So in May of 2011,myself and ten comrades were forced back on the protest and as a consequence we wrecked our cells. Which basically means that one evening when we were all locked down we smashed all the furniture and basically started a formal a protest at the conditions we lived in. And as a result for the first time what we believe in history, these matters are usually dealt with internally by the prison authorities, they have decided to take it to an outside court and charge each of us with criminal damage. And we found ourselves in court last week and the prosecution couldn't produce a witness. So we've now been put back until the third of September for a trial to start.

JM: Now Brendan, why wasn't this dealt with right away with punishments or being put in solitary confinement? Was there any punishment for doing it back then?

BC: No, no. Well, as a consequence of the protest action we then began a form of dirty protest then. So effectively we were then locked-down twenty-three hours a day, which the prisoners still are today. And they then increased the protest incrementally from then. So we had a situation where they probably could have dealt with it internally and for some reason decided not to. I mean, we did it originally in 2010 when we started the original protest and they were dealt with internally. The reasons as I say ... it's always difficult to know but usually it's, you know, there's something at work where they're trying to prove a point. It's hard to understand why where the situation (is) now where they refuse to deal with it within the prison.

JM: And Brendan, I mean if you really want to get into some of the politics that are going on, I mean the way they treated Gerry McGeough and going back and charging him with something that happened in 1981. It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to go after the blanketmen from the '70's and '80's.

BC: Absolutely. I'll give you a situation. I'll give you a scenario: In 2012 in what people would call the new “Ireland of Equals” we have Republican prisoners in Maghaberry Prison on full dirty protest. And what I mean by dirty protest is they're putting their excrement on the wall. They're locked down twenty-three hours a day. They are having problems getting medical attention. We have people interned, Gerry McGeough being one of them. We have people who have been arrested on charges, trumped up charges, where they'll do two and three years on remand. We have people who they're trying to stitch-up, in recent times - Colin Duffy. If you look back at 1981 and you look at it now, the only difference is now we have people who then were on protest and calling for the non-criminalisation of Republicans are now in government and administering law and order and British rule here. So if you look under the surface nothing has changed. And in fact, I would go as far as saying in some cases, it's gotten absolutely worse. Because the way they're interning people now - they're not using the word “internment”. They are remanding people. They're revoking licences. Marian Price, for example. We have Martin Corey in there. We have Gerry McGeough as you've said. And we have others whose licences are at the minute under consideration by the British Secretary of State.

JM: Now to get back to the court case that happened this week. What are you and the other ten people being charged with and what do they hope to do if you are found guilty?

BC: Well, we've been told by legal representation that they can pass a sentence of two years. But the very same reason why we did what we did, we aren't going into a British court and say: Oh, we're very sorry we did that. We expect the court to look at the reasons for doing that under European law which we are bound by here. We have rights and there's Article 7 of the Human Rights legislation. So as part of a strip-search for example, the forced strip-search, which is outside of the agreement, the prisoner is tied down, his hands are put up his back, riot-clad uniformed prison officers have in cases cut clothing off with scissors. So there's a protection of your person and your property as opposed to the wrecking of your cells. So I mean there's a whole scenario of stuff here that we need to get into with them and we're hoping that the court exposes that.

JM: Brendan, another thing we cover here on Radio Free Éireann is the never ending season of marching season ... whether it's July Twelfth or the Apprentice Boys March or the Black March that goes on in Derry. There was a march in Rasharkin. And it just seems that the Orangemen are not happy unless hey are going through Nationalist areas. Marching up and down the Shankill is not good enough for them. I know you live in Ardoyne. They have to march through Ardoyne just to show you that they “rule” the place. Can you explain what happen last night and what has been happening in Ardoyne?

BC: Rasharkin passed off with what they would call relatively peacefully. But you have to go right into the whole logistics of why they actually march through Rasharkin and what they do. I'll give people an example I'd suppose to make it pretty easy for people to understand and it's in relation to Ardoyne: We have a parade in Derry which is a considerable length away from Belfast. And we have several bands who march past Ardoyne shops, which is a few hundred yards. They march from the top of the road down. And when the get passed the other side of the shops they board a bus to drive to Derry. So instead of mounting the bus two hundred yards up the road they want to coat-trail and be triumphalist and come past a Nationalist-Republican area. And that's what they do, you know. If you sat and looked at it, I mean recently, it was on the internet and you probably have access to it there, they marched outside a Catholic chapel ... stopped outside it and marched in circles singing a song about the Irish famine. So there's a lot of this. This is covered by Unionist politicians as well. Where they try and cover their right to march. Nobody denies them their right to march or the right to have their culture. But when it comes to coat-trailing and marching through areas they're not wanted it's totally unacceptable to Nationalists and Republicans.

JM: And Brendan, you see the stance that the Loyalists take when they want to get something done – when they want to march through Ardoyne – or they would change the emblem on the RUC uniform- I think Peter Robinson said he would shut Stormont down!

BC: Yes. That was the prison officers' uniform. Yeah, he said he would bring it to its knees.

JM: Now we have former Irish Republicans (and) I would say they're the dissident Republicans who are administering British rule in Ireland. Their main complaint right now is that there's road signs going up in Pettigo and Beleek and all around the border of Fermanagh and Tyrone that say: “Welcome to Northern Ireland”. And to them this is one of the biggest crisis that has come to The Six Counties that they're going out and trying to take down the signs. I mean, could you ever envision a Martin McGuinness or someone else stating that if these people are not released we're not going to participate in this government because it's wrong what's going on with these prisoners?

BC: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. Sinn Féin are on record as saying that the prisoners, they respect the prisoners' right to be treated properly, blah, blah, but when it comes down to it Sinn Féin and the DUP collectively administer rule here for the British government. So we have a situation we believe they could sort the prison issue out very, very easily. And then you have to ask the question: Why do they not? And the answer could quite easily be: Can they really do it? Has Sinn Féin got the power (stated) in the narrative we were sold and everybody was sold here? To quote Martin McGuinness that they were “going to put manners” on people and the police and whatever. It hasn't materialised. We have a situation now where the hard questions won't be answered because it doesn't suit them. It doesn't suit the narrative of today that the change or the dispensation that this peace has brought and it hasn't. For Republicans every day who are stopped and searched under legislation which the British government has brought in where children are harassed daily, where families are approached by MI5 to work for them on holiday and at home. Nothing has changed - it's getting worse.

SB: Brendan, you were talking about the so-called “power” of the Stormont Assembly. We just had a case we are covering where SDLP member of the Assembly, Pat Ramsey, did the right thing - wrote a very detailed letter to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and said what happened to Marian Price's pardon? The answer came back: Go away. We don't care.

BC: The British government have been asked in the history of Britain how many pardons that have been issued to people throughout the time have been lost? And Marian Price's is the only one ever. They have copies of the rest. So nothing has changed. The difficulty that we have now is that we have a once Republican mainstream party, they call themselves, who sold this to our communities and we have a difficulty now where that narrative has been accepted by some. But if you scrape under the surface you can see that nothing has changed and things are slowly, very slowly getting worse for daily lives for Republicans.

JM: And Brendan, you also have to deal with the re-writing of Irish history, particularly in The Six Counties. It used to be a big deal, the commemoration of internment where the British government went out and interned mainly Catholics into prison without trial, without charges, similar to what's going on now with Gerry McGeough and Marian Price. And Provisional Sinn Féin were down at the Divis Flats telling: do not commemorate this, do not burn a bonfire. I mean they're trying to stop anyone from remembering the history. The Loyalists can remember 1690 but we can't remember in the 70's.

BC: That's right. There's a whole suppose of people trying re-write history and air-brush over parts of history. And it won't be allowed to happen. People will see through it. Eventually, the rites of internment, as you say the bonfires, I mean, there is alternatives in relation to festivals and stuff to do that, you know. Yeah, absolutely. It's hypocritical for people to come now and tell you that you shouldn't do this or can't do that when for years they promoted it. But unfortunately, and it's sad to say, that's where we are at this present time.

JM: So Brendan, now where do we stand with you and the case that's coming up? When is it coming up again? Are there ten separate lawyers that have to deal with this? How is this going to play out?

BC: The way it went the last time we were in court is the eight guys that are still in prisoner, myself, Colin Duffy and Damian McLaughlin are out. So we go down and the eight boys will be brought down and have to go through two - four strip-searches every time they're down. And they're in the dock with their long hair and their beards obviously because they are on protest. And yes, there's separate lawyers for everybody. There was a week set aside for it. They're thinking they can get over it within two days now. I suppose it'll just go through the motions and really depends on the judge and how he handles and deals with it. And there will be a reserved judgment probably for a few weeks and then he will then deliver his verdict, his judgment and whatever sentence comes with that at that time.

JM: So all you're waiting for now is the verdict?

BC: Oh, no, no. It was put back until the third of September. So probably the third, fourth, and fifth, after the fifth of September we'll be put back in. So I would imagine before the end of September we'll have a verdict.

JM: And there's a possibility you could be going back to gaol with Colin Duffy for two years.

BC: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely.

JM: It's a great system you have over there....

BC: Colin Duffy for one done three years on remand and was found not guilty. He'd already done three years and not on the first occasion where he was set up before and he's done ... I mean ... I think Colin has done done seven or eight years in gaol and never been convicted of anything.

JM: And none of that will count towards what happened inside the prison.

BC: No, absolutely not, no. In the eyes of the law here it's irrelevant.

JM: Well, Brendan, we will be staying on top of this and we'll be constantly getting in touch with you particularly when the case comes up now in September and especially when the verdict comes down because between you and Duffy it is unbelievable the harassment and the constant harassment that's going on of Irish Republicans in The Six Counties.

BC: Yeah. It's unbelievable. I mean, I've been a Republican all my life and I was really hassled years ago but nothing, not just me obviously everybody, to the extent that people go through now. It's absolutely crazy.


  1. Let's face a terrible fact. Nationalists have lost their balls and spines and deserve all they fucking get in the new Orange State backed by the Shitters. I wouldn't spit on the fence-sitting bastards now, to save their cowardly lives. Let the loyalists and Unionists mobs come in and burn them all fucking out, then see them cry for our Volunteers to do something. Spineless bastards.

  2. sam miller-

    Nobody is fighting a war in Ireland
    in 2012- guess you call your-self a
    fence-sitting bastard who needs to save his cowardly life- now-a-days you always call/hope that others will do your fighting for you- pure yellow statements from you- i support the peace process and i know that it will work- you dont support the peace process but will not work against it-only talk against it- any wonder you want the loyalists to walk over Catholic men women and children-you sir are a coward and should not be allowed no where near any Catholic trying to protect their own areas- you are a write coward-

  3. You cannot change the people Sam, they have to change themselves, it often takes time.

    Funny how the authorities love laws when they work to their advantage, but somehow they evaporate when they fear they will works against them. Then all they need is the signature of a viceroy.

  4. Sam it is true that qsf have sold the nationalist people out for the illusion of power,the disgraceful antics of the so called loyal orders in Donegal st on Saturday spurred on by their elected representatives,and yet the loudest voice of protest about this comes not from qsf but the local bishop the reintroduction of internment by a un-elected politician and again qsf show their determination to bring justice to nationalist areas by mouthing a few measly words of protest from minor players in that party,compare their words and actions to Peter the punts, when he threatened to "walk" if the crown was removed from the badge of the loyalist screws,mind you qsf are only taking their lead from the wasters in the Dail,they have paid the lol millions to renovate halls and are paying the uda/uvf large sums in partnership with the European fund for peace to keep the "boys sweet"when the ordinary man woman in the republic are finding it increasingly difficult by the day to make ends meet.if as you say let the loyalists burn them fucking out,those who would suffer would not be the leadership of qsf,I seem to recall that they were rather good at burning other leaders of nationalism out of their homes before they crawled their way to the top,but a cara there is an old saying "what goes round ,comes round" lets keep our fingers crossed eh!

  5. MH,

    Any views on the Shinners funding loyalist flute bands?

  6. Alls well that ends well for the shinner mayor of Derry.

    He got an apology from the unreformed PSNI because they mistook him for a Republican and raided his house.

    Don't forget that this is the same mayor Kevin Campbell who had previously said the PSNI were only doing their jobs after they had kicked the doors of actual Republicans.

    Anyway he said...

    "I believe that this outcome was imperative if we are to rebuild public confidence and continue to develop accountable and transparent policing in our communuity."

    Meaning that the PSNI can now get back to 'doing their job' in raiding the homes of real Republicans...

  7. Spot on John,qsf,s Pat Docherty praising Castledergs young loyalist flute band what a guy and what would you expect from a quisling,the major issues dont count with these eejits such as ex ruc men working in the historical teams inquiries,it takes someone from the loyalist community who has suffered at the hands of the agents of the state and their handlers to flag up the possibility that re-hiring these people may be illegal,qsf as usual remains silent.. Raymond Mc Cord and his wife deserve all credit for exposing this..

  8. John

    I'm not a fan of marching bands whether they be the boys brigade, the salvation army, or military bands. Although I enjoy watching a good flute and drum band which can strut its stuff and have been known to tap my toe, but I do not come from the same tradition as some and have never felt threaten by them.

    Having said that I can see nothing wrong with what Pat Doc did.

  9. Sam Millar
    don't hold anything back.

    If SF are funding these band as Pat Doherty is, what does that tell us? These are not wee boys, most of them are loyalist paramilitaries and fully grown adult bigots. SF really are on their knees with their mouths wide open.

  10. Dixie do you think as creeping internment takes hold again Kevin Campbell and the boys/girls of qsf will re-release the new version of the anti internment song The Men Behind The Liars....

  11. These are the loyalists that MH and PSF support.

    I would urge people to follow the links to get the full picture. These are hardened, bitter loyalists with blood dripping from their drumbeat.

  12. john McGirr-

    I read your news topic-did you-

    That loyalist band plays across the
    32 and takes part in folk and Traditional gigs and shindigs- just because somebody is not Catholic does not mean that they should be hated and despised forever-
    Four members from that band, during the war were killed by the IRA that you opposed-


    Neither Pat Doherty or Sinn Fein give that band a dime- you should keep your eyes and ears wide open instead of worrying about others mouths-

  13. Mickey Henry,

    that is one way to argue peace aggressively.

  14. The Men behind the Liars...LOL Good one Marty.

    The thing about the shinners is that they don't seem to realise just how pathetic they have become. The DUP treat them like dogs who must bark when they tell them to bark and sit when told to sit.

    While the likes of Declan Kearney are trying to get the Unionists to hug and reach out to them, they seemingly are ignorant of the fact that the same Unionists have had them well and truly neutered politically.

    When we talk about SF having no balls I think that's what we actually mean.

  15. Mdickeyboy the uda/uvf /uff mi5/6,sb and every other waster branch of the perfidious Albion have played all over the 32,why even Peter the punt invaded the 26,your leader the bearded one has abandoned west Belfast to its fate of pre 69 hopelessness,discrimination,and nil prospects, what a leader!the 4 people from Castledergs young loyalists who were killed by the ra!which of course Martyboy nor indeed the bearded one were involved with and therefore they and Pat Doc I assume and indeed your good self a cara will have problem in calling for those who murdered those peacefull citizens to be handed over to face the full rigors of the law,

  16. MH,

    Oh yes, I read it. It backs the UDR, the UVF, the B Specials, Loyalist killers and so on....

    (See the Link I provided).

    You like to call people cowards, but you, sir, are a TRAITOR!

    I did back the RA then, (when you were barely out of nappies). The only difference is I still support the cause, while you back the Crown, loyalist murderers and anyone else that you get your kicks out of supporting.

    Nothing surprises me about your party any more. It will be a lesson for rising generations never to STOOP to the treachery that British SF has brought about.

    You are well on track for a knighthood.

  17. MH,

    Check it out. You will find it hard to get a more bitter, sectarian Site on the entire internet.

    Why wouldn't they go all over Ireland? Their aim is to have it all under the crown again. Not much different from Her Majesty's Sinn Féin.

    C.Y.L. at Drumcree
    Battle of the Boyne
    36th Ulster Division
    The "B" Men
    The U.D.R.
    6th UDR Roll of Honour
    Troubles in C'Derg
    Roll of Honour
    Uncommon Courage
    Operation Banner
    IRA Atrocities
    Pte Billy McFadzean
    Lyrics loyalist songs
    Rangers Wallpaper

    You have some very strange friends, Michael!

  18. Michaelhenry were Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan right after all and therefore nearly 20 years ahead of Adams and McGuinness?

    [They were the Peace People in 1976 and brought thousands onto the streets. In case you are unaware]

    In fact when you look at it, Mike H, the Queens Own Shinners have become a combination of the Peace People and the SDLP...

    Hardly o-fecking-riginal forward thinkers are they mo chara?

  19. Dixie-

    " They were the Peace People in 1976 and brought thousands onto the streets "

    Its a pity they could not bring thousands to the Polling Booths- there might have been more thought of them and they could have lasted longer instead of just being a fad-

  20. Silly response Michaelhenry.

    The SDLP brought thousands to the polling booths back then and after.

    In fact Gerry Fitt was Deputy Chief Executive to Brian Faulkners Chief Executive back in the 1973 Assembley - That was Sunningdale later reworded as the GFA.

    In case it doesn't register...Deputy First Minister today = Marty.

    Deputy Chief Executive in 1973 = Gerry Fitt.

    You see Michael, shinners like yourself think elections and getting votes is some kind of progress which is balls. The fecking Stoops were doing what Adams and company are doing today awayyyyy back in the 1970s when flares and the Bay City Rollers were all the go.

    They had what the Shinners have today without spilling one drop of blood - without one IRA volunteer loosing their lives - and Michaelhenry not one person spent a day in prison following the Stoops.

    Fecking elections!!...the polling cards of the so called Peace Processors are covered in blood...

  21. Did I just bang my head off a brick wall in the last post?

  22. Dixie 25% of qsf members are on medication for mental illness,thats scary as hell it means 75% are not medicated Mickeyboy c,mere...

  23. michaelhenry,
    You are seemingly very fond of applying the term coward these days.
    But then, you just apply it, you don't bother explaining why or how the particular person is a coward.
    At least when Robert called you, 'The Villiage Idiot' he spelt out clearly why and how you were an idiot and I assume at the time we all agreed with him, because I do not remember any contradictory posts.
    Sam Millar is not a coward and neither is Father Murray (re-you statement via another blog)
    Seriously curious as to how you will back this up?

    If you want to witness cowards in action, why don't you come up to the Springfield Road and watch how Sinn Fein manufacture a residents protest against Orange parades.
    How they stand with the PSNI and ensure that the residents or no else steps out of line.
    You are in the wrong party to be making these ridiculous assertions and you know it.

  24. I have criticised SF and the dissidents on this site none-stop. My beef with the dissidents is their ineffectiveness and constant attepmts to get SF support. Seems daft to me. But the more this 'piss-process' drags out the more it is obvious to a blind man on a galloping horse that SF are the dissident republicans and I dare say the type of people in its ranks now ie Michaelhenry are devoid of any real personal knowledge or grounding in the 30 yr war. A SF member in University of Ulster bragged about her mum being best friends with Seana Walsh then told people '9-11 and all the killings here were 'murder' plain and simple'. If SF disbanded tomorrow Michaelhenry would have to find a new reason to get out of bed each morning. [a new hobby] Michaelhenry, get yourself a wee pet dog, you'll look less daft.

    The loyalists were planted here to deny the Irish rights and preserve a British hold on the country. Same as the Jews were settled in Palestine by the yanks and the Brits. The Loyalists Michaelhenry are not confused about who they are or what their role is here. Giving them money to parade, or agreeing to it, and then complaining about their coat trailing is simply SF in a nutshell. [forty faced]Do you think the Loyalists are closer to being 'Irish'? Not in a million years. The only people living in lala land is you and SF michaelhenry.

  25. Fionnuala-

    Sam Miller wants/hopes that the Loyalists mobs burn us all- you cant miss this-it is the first post here- i will
    call him a coward forever and a day for saying that whilst you support him- how him or you can look into your neighbours children's eyes is beyond me- yous have flipped this time-

  26. MH,

    Should it come to that, it is your party that has disarmed and surrendered. Sam is making a valid, if rhetorical point, that the Republican/Nationalist people are being left defenceless. (At least that is how I read it).

    Meanwhile your party will be doling out money to any and every orange misfit and loyalist band!

  27. michaelhenry,
    I live in an area that was one of the first under siege in Belfast.
    I live in a street where the orange/loyalist mobs came up to burn Clonard Church.
    Worse still, I remember standing petrified and clinging to my da's hand watching the B Specials and RUC help the so called loyalists unload their arsenal in Cupar ST.
    The only people who came to our aid were the IRA.
    Men young and old. Some from former campaigns 40s/50s and some 60s recruits.
    For your information. None of the IRA who were central to the armed defence of this area align themselves with Sinn Fein.
    Sadly some of them have lived long enough to watch the Sinn Fein/Orange spectacle which is rolled out every July under the guise of cultural respect.
    I can look into anyone's eyes michaelhenry can you look into Father Murrays?

  28. john
    SF and it's more recent recruits have deluded themselves that they are on the road, via demographics and endlessly conciliating the unionists, to a united Ireland. They know deep down though unionism will never accept the democratic process when it doesn't favour them. Otherwise the nation would never have been divided in the first place. The difference between SF and the sticks is SF have the elusion of political power. The sticks stuck to their politics and got nowhere, the provos sold everthing and everyone for council jobs that they were entitled to anyway. The republicans should not be seeking SF support they should be much more agressive in their denunciation of them. Not easy though with the media and journalist all in cahoots on the 'piss-process'.

  29. John McGirr-

    " It is your party that has disarmed and surrendered "

    Sinn Fein never had any weapons so i dont know how they disarmed or surrendered any-

    " the Republican/nationalist people are being left defenceless "

    I thought there was a good half dozen hardline groups that you support-what are they doing,hiding-


    " I can look into anyone's eyes michaelhenry can you look into Father Murrays? "

    Dont know of any reason why i could not- yet you support Sam Millar who wants the Loyalists mobs to burn Father Murrary- all the x prisoners-anyone that stood up-those who were central to the armed defence of your area- and yet you can still look into the eyes of all those people-

  30. michaelhenry,
    Never mind the Orange mobs you lot are quite on board with the Orange mobs.
    I watched Sinn Fein in Ardoyne and they did not seem too pre-occupied with what Orange mobs were doing to the Ardoyne people.
    I did not think you would care too much about Fr Murray, did you not call him a coward on another site?

  31. Michaelhenry,

    Sam Miller might be a lot things that you do not approve of. But coward is not amongst them.

  32. Larry,

    'SF and it's more recent recruits have deluded themselves that they are on the road, via demographics and endlessly conciliating the unionists, to a united Ireland.'

    I don't think for one second that the vast majority of people who are still with PSF have the slightest interest in the National question. They are only in it because they have been bought off and want to get what they can before the party is over.

  33. John

    'don't think for one second that the vast majority of people who are still with PSF have the slightest interest in the National question. They are only in it because they have been bought off and want to get what they can before the party is over.'

    Actually agree with that. The new gang all jumped aboard once it was safe and trendy to be associated. Maybe that's why the SF mayor in Derry was so worried about the house raid, 90% of the wee oportunists would have been gone overnight. Can't have the peelers at the door!! The girl i mentioned previously crowing about her mums friendship with Seanna Walsh was plastering photos of herself at the SF ard dheis with McGuinness. My oh my how the 'mighty' have fallen. I'm thrilled to see the residents and bandsmen negotiating about parades without taking the SF position. Maybe the penny is finally dropping.

  34. MH,

    I see your loyalist friends don't reciprocate the love:

    "Bands are currently top of the news agenda in Northern Ireland. Recent events have drawn focus to Ulster Bands, and the media have been pursuing every possible avenue to maintain these headlines. In doing so they have resorted to sensationalising many aspects of band culture, practises and history to fulfil their need to obtain controversy and divide the Unionist community.
    In the latest 'discovery', Castlederg Young Loyalists Flute Band are the victims of the media campaign. Attempts have been made to create a link between Pat Docherty of Sinn Fein and the Band, by virtue that he allegedly supported a grant applicant. Castlederg Young Loyalists would like to make it totally clear that at no time did they seek the endorsement or help of Docherty or Sinn Fein. The band had enlisted the help of a local community group to assist with the funding application, and unknown to the band they had sent general communications to a wide range of figures and groups, which included Docherty.
    It is to the bands immense suprise, in fact shock, that an endorsement was made from that individual.
    Castlederg Young Loyalists Flute are a totally unashamed Loyalist Flute Band. The band has made considerable efforts over the past decade to promote that Loyalism and their cultural heritage, and will continue to do so. Four band members were murdered by the IRA, and Castlederg Young Loyalists have not and never will forget this reality. The band harbours nothing but contempt for Irish Republicanism and its attacks on their community.
    We do not thank Docherty for the endorsement. The band is a legitimate part of the local community, is proud of its heritage and culture, and believes itself to be fully deserving in its own right of any grant award we receive. We have never compromised our principles on grant forms, on the streets of Ulster, or anywhere else. We are what we are and all we ask is for respect. That is all the entire band movement wants and deserves."

  35. John

    Great post, kind of boots michaelhenry over the bar for a point. Over and out. Wee prods are having a great laugh at SF, even the delinquent bigots.

  36. Michaelhenry

    ‘Sinn Fein never had any weapons ...’

    But any historian of the conflict knows the dominant element in the SF leadership ran the IRA. The Movement was one joined in a strategic nexus where those who wanted an IRA-free future decided the strategy including the decommissioning aspect whcih Danny Morrison argued equates with an IRA surrender.


    ‘They know deep down though unionism will never accept the democratic process when it doesn't favour them. Otherwise the nation would never have been divided in the first place.’

    An interesting point but does it allow for a right to dissent from the nation? And if it does not we are left with obligatory nationalism? And that leads to armed republicans shouting no dissent from the nation.

    There is more points of convergence between SF and the Stick politics than divergence. The one thing that can be said about the Sticks is that many of their membership had a strong social conscience.

  37. mackers

    'An interesting point but does it allow for a right to dissent from the nation?'

    Isn't that what it was/is all about? A self interest group which not only refuses to be part of the nation but exists to keep a portion of national territory apart. Would Bradford be permitted through a vote to be a part of Pakistan?

  38. Dixie,

    Michael, shinners like yourself think elections and getting votes is some kind of progress which is balls.

    I remember Morrison writing that if SF took every nationalist vote in the North and won a majority of seats in the South it still would not shift the Brits; only armed struggle would do that. Armed struggle was never going to do it which leaves us looking at the likelihood that there is no republican strategy for getting rid of the Brits; just the same Brit terms that have been on offer since Sunningdale – unity approved by a majority in the North.

    Did I just bang my head off a brick wall in the last post?
    Probably, unfortunately

  39. Given the events of the last couple of days and nights and all that has been since said respect of it, would it be an overstatement to say we are witnessing the Orange Card being played once again in an attempt by that organisation/loyalists/loyalism to come together to at least have the parades commission removed?

    Or could it be that the Orange Order is letting us know the Orange State is still in existence (contrary to what SF would have us believe)and the OO is publicly rejecting (and thus humiliating SF) attempts by the SF Chav's to woo them by love bombing?

  40. talking of investigations...i see the London courts refused Malasian people an inquiry into the murder by Scots guards there in 1948. The judge ruled after all this time it would be impossible to ascertain if the killings were deliberate. 24 men were executed and it is accepted they were not insurgents. How many years ago is that? 64? I really believe the Bloody Sunday enquiry was McGuinness' 'reward'.

  41. Having said that the Japanese executed over 150,000 Chinese when the invaded Burma and Malaysia. But that was probably a wee accident.

  42. Larry,

    how about a piece for TPQ on that issue?

  43. Larry,

    ‘Would Bradford be permitted through a vote to be a part of Pakistan?’

    At some point in the future with the breakdown of nation states and the formation of new political frameworks, this type of thing might not seem as far-fetched as it does today. Nations are historical products and not timeless entities. They came into being and will undoubtedly go out of it. But I wonder about the room for dissenting from nationalism and the forms that it can take. I tend to see isms much like religions. There is always a danger in making them obligatory. At the same time at the level of political organisation in today’s world it is difficult to see how your question could be answered in the affirmative.