What Now For the Prisoners

Tonight The Pensive Quill carries an article by Guest Writer Alec Mc Crory

Yesterday David Ford rejected the suitability of a new body scanner for use in the prison estate based on a highly dubious report. According to the findings of the pilot the new technology was found wanting in the detection of contraband. The report claims the state-of-the-art equipment failed to detect items as varied as mobile phones, knives, drugs and pens secreted on the persons of members of the prison staff. A likely story, if you ask me.

This report should be treated with extreme caution. The methodology employed raises serious questions as to the veracity of its findings. Screws who have been vigorously opposed to the ending of full body strip searches were used as guinea pigs to smuggle items on their persons for detection. All manner of contraband including, I presume, hand guns, AK47s, and RPG rockets passed through the scanner undetected. It would make one wonder whether the machine was switched on at all. How does a piece of modern technology fail so comprehensively to do the job it was designed to do? Surely the manufactures would have something to say about such claims. Or are we dealing with a conspiracy to subvert a perfectly good machine for ulterior motives?

And so after six months of testing we are told that the new scanner is not fit for purpose. How then are we able to make our airports and ports safe for the general populace to pass through yet we are unable to do the same in HMPs? Either Mr Ford is incompetent or he is having a laugh at everyone’s expense. Are we really to believe in the modern age the great minds at the NIPS cannot come up with a workable solution to this problem? Perhaps we have the wrong people doing the job. Or worse: We are dealing with a bunch of luddites opposed to technological solutions to Victorian practices. Both ways the system is failing and all the prisoners suffer as the result.

The upshot of this latest setback is that prisoner will endure more months of brutal and degrading treatment. By ending the protest it was hoped that Ford use the opportunity to expedite the pilot scheme and introduce the new systems. How wrong were we to expect such a common sense approach? In a sense we should not be surprised by this newest failure by the NIPS to do the right thing. The prison system has always been slow to change without the application of pressure. What now for the prisoners?

I could go on to deal with the role of the politicians in all of this but I would not be telling people anything they do not already know. I think it best to end with my final question: What now for the prisoners? Not to learn for the past will lead to the same mistake being repeated in the future.


  1. Thanks for posting this short pice in super quick time. Can always rely on you two for assistance.

    Daivd Ford had indicated he intention to pilot another machine but he requires a certifacte to do so. Add this time to another six months of testing and we are looking at another year of strip searches.

    This time around he should use Magabherry, including Roe House, as the site of the pilot. This would allivate the pressure on the prisoners and act as a interim arrangement until such time as the new results are through.

    No one needs nor wants another round of protest. Patience is wearing very thin.

  2. How much 'allowance' are screws getting for invasive procedures?
    If this has been proved effective in Australia, England and the US, why is it not available for detecting items here?
    In my own experience body searching (rub downs) fails in about 30% of cases.
    A wee FOI on how much of these folk's wages is made up of any such allowance might pjut it into perspective.

  3. Alec,
    Stephen Murney's article alerted everyone that the brutality is alive and well in Maghaberry.
    Ford does not only appear to be failing more and more in his ministerial role he does not seem to fairing too good in the humanity stakes either.
    Always saddened to read this stuff.

  4. Alec good post a cara as I said earlier I wonder what the manufacturers and designers would say about these findings,it seems their machines as effective as a chocolate tea cup, this report will have no doubt repercussions world wide in terms of other prisons and airports, I wonder would it be advisable to inform the prison service that for these machines to work effectively they must be turned on and plugged in first, Helen Mc Clafferty thinks its just that the po,s enjoy being pervs I,m inclined to agree.

  5. Why is there no editing facility here.


    it is not only Ford who is failing but the entire administration at Stormont. The politicians were gifted devolved responsibility for the prisons two years ago. This has not made a blind bit of difference one way or another. But responsibilty works both ways hence they are at fault for not finding answers to these vexing problems.

    The two nationalist parties claim to be working hard behind the scenes to find a resolution but there is nothing to indicate what progress they are making. Without product it is impossible to evaluate these claims. Nothing has changed on Roe House since the 2010 agreement which poses serious question marks over their ability to influence these affairs.

    Their excuse is that these are complex matters that require time and patience. Well, that is fine for the politicans but time is not a luxury the prisoners can afford. Lying naked and bruised on the floor gives one a different perspective does not encourage patience nor forebearance. The political prisoners have endured this treatment for two years now with no let up.

    The time for quiet endeavour in the background is long gone. Political parties must speak out loud and clear and, more to the point, they must use the power to bring about an end to the human rights abuses. To subject a prisoner to the indignity and humilation of a full body strip search in the modren technological age is an affront to humanity.

  6. Alec:

    True and down to earth piece you have put on TPQ, and thanks for highlighting this serious issue.

    The so called failing of the scanners to detect such a large number of items is just beyond belief, and, as far as I'm concerned, It is a blatant and downright lie. This is nothing but a setup by ford and the screws and Prison authorities, also, some one higher up the echelon. To me they are saying, Thank your GFA for this, Now lie down Croppies, have they not tried this scam before!.

    as marty has stated, Lets see what the manufacturer of these scanners have to say, lets see if they show a video of evidence of screws passing the scan and having scissors/knives/mobile batteries/drugs on there person. Its an absolute load of rubbish, and, taking the piss.

  7. Im thinking, there is enough documentation from all sources to co consider sending out bundled packaged to the USA Media Outlets. An ongoing campaign of sending documentation should be talked about. Not to mention the Write up of Baggot saying that Republicans are treated different than Republicans. The Media Outlets might not get it at first, but if they keep seeing it, it will get somebodys attention. 40 Million Irish Diasporia World Wide. USA has the highest. Even if it means to send out documentation to irish american friends you have who will send, to Media Outlets. The British Government has instilled a fear to keep you from doing this, as a means to keep you isolated, in the,same way an abuser, uses this same means. It would be intrresting to find write ups from TSA, and "quotes" from TSA. The primary goal, is to " break free " of the mindset, that the British Givernment has forced upon you. 99% of the battle happens within the mind. The 1% we see is what makes it 100%.

  8. Alec:

    "it is not only Ford who is failing but the entire administration at Stormont. The politicians were gifted devolved responsibility for the prisons two years ago."

    The secretary of state now has full control over the prisons, Prison staff come under her and MI5, MLA's in stormont have no say on the matter, Ford has no say on the release of prisoners, that is down to the secretary of state and MI5 also, Is not Marian and Martins case not proof of this, I posted on here on a different thread The specifics of it. There is no editing button on TPQ, just a delete Bin.

  9. Itsjustmackers a cara we say this almost ad infinitum norn iorn is a subsidiary of MI5 and Villiers is the CEO, the rest is just a circus without the sand ..

  10. itsjustmackers

    there are certain issues that remain with the BSS but the day to day running of the jail is the responsilility of the local admisitration collectively. Ford is primarily responsible in his role as 'minister, but he has a 'justice committee' to advice.

    When was the last time SF or the SDLP call for a debate in the assembly on the prisons? Quirt conversation behind closed doors don't cut it.

    The first time I binned a comment Mackers give off to me.

  11. Alec:

    The first time I binned a comment Michael Henry came up and said, "I don't have to Bin my posts". lol.

    What is said behind closed doors is for those who are talking ie , There ears only, be they Loyalist,Sdlp,Alliance,SF.
    What I meant was, The Screws and Govenors come under MI5 authority.

    SF have members on lot of Boards, but, They have no say on anything which relates to security, so they are just puppets filling a vacum of vacant seats in a board room.

  12. I'll try be brief here as still looking further into the scanner debacle which has been nothing but smokes and mirrors, Ford nor anyone from stormont has made common sense proposals, common sense pilot schemes, valid research, they have produced extraordinary "results" as said 57% - think next time ya getting on a plane.
    There were two options the 2nd an x-ray like machine - if I recall it has been used elsewhere with proviso for exposure to radiation - safety.
    Yes they say it could not be trialed as quote ford "English licence needs approval" -
    I'm looking in depth at what trials and uses of scanning equipment has already been used which I did some preliminary research last night.
    A company I can post the link here is marketing, selling the BOSS chair mark 2 for prisons,airports,customs, the lot.
    The pilot scheme on the 'wave' scanner it would be helpful to see the results, check their veracity, was this a proper research trial or some Sunday picnic affair. What was their control group? Switching the machine on or off? They don't seen to know the difference.
    This is supposedly government not your local supermarket out for shop-lifters.
    Its happened in other countries where both types one technology - 'wave' scanning and x ray has been tested simultaneously - which one is best for the purpose gets the nod - that would be common sense.
    I'll avoid contempt for ford - his modernization prison reform agenda using strip searching! What has any of the GFA shared future fairer future parties and politicians done to change this.
    Read Stephen Murneys account earlier of strip searches -
    I'll be back after some reading but do they listen-do they learn-is there any genuine commitment for change or just punish humiliate degrade republicans-what next -

  13. Micketbhroy gets his comments from the bin itjustmackers a cara ..

  14. Alec a cara I mentioned to you elsewhere that I thought a judicial review might be worth a look at,the craic in the courtroom would be 90,on the one hand we have Ford and his bigoted experts telling the world that these machines are crap,on the other hand we have grosvenors from prisons across the water, heads of security from many international airports ,the designer and manufacturers of these machines and the press! do you think a judge will be careful on that judgement a cara what do you think a cara ?

  15. itsjustmackers,

    i understand where you are coming from but the arguments need to be turned back on those that said devolved powers would make the difference; devolved powers over the areas of justice, policing and prisons. Once we expose the claims of having power to shape and decide policy in said areas then we can call a spade a spade. Your puppet analogy holds up very well.

    However, even in terms of a minimalist approach the nationist parties have failed to give the prison issues a proper airing at level of local goverment. No crisis meetings called for, no emergency sessions, no urgent stratagies to address these problems. Beyond backdoor conversations and public utterances the politicans have produced nothing in the way of results on even the smallest matters.

    God forbid anyone would interfere with the No1 governor's right to run the prison. Not even a court will venture onto such dangerous ground.

    At present five men are being held in isolation of full protest because of alleged loyalist threats. Their entitlements under the compact are being overshadowed by sinsiter elements within the prison system working to a spook agenda. Were such a threat to be real then Roe House is the safest place for these men. so the threats not only deny these men fair treatment but the logical outcome is simply ignored.

    JR's are pending on all these case against the backdrop of a court never having limited the governor's power to make such decisions. The old saying - 'you can never beat the system- comes to mind.

    The jails have not changed for Republicans. All of the freedoms won in the 80's have been rolled back by the GFA and other agreements. Criminalisation is alive and well in HMP's.

  16. marty,

    thank you for your ideas which are being pursued as I post. It will be interesting to see the gap between what Ford claims and the capabilities of the technologies as marketed by the manufactures. Fun times ahead.

  17. Alec,

    the edit facility is called a spell check! The problem with deleting your comment is that if you don't do it right away and repost immediately people might respond and no one else reading it is sure what they are responding to. There is no grammer police here so don't worry about typos. If you do then do the spell check

  18. Alec:

    SF went in to the GFA with Blindfolds on, they really thought they had a great agreement, further from the truth, They could not be that naive to think they were actually speaking to British Government Ministers, when, they were actually speaking to MI5, the head of the British Government, I have pointed this out on several occasions, When The British PM David Cameron was speaking to Mrs Finucane regarding a Public inquiry for her husbands (Pat Finucane's) murder, he stated, If I stated that you can have your public enquiry, There are those within these corridors who would prevent it!! , MI5. As for SF, when they went out and protested about the arrest of Padraig Wilson, He was released, But this one will make you laugh, AS posted on here as a link, Sean Kelly was arrested in relation to a youth being shot in both legs in ardoyne, It was stated it was a paramilitary shooting, Well Low and behold, PSNI are now saying, "IT WAS JUST A SHOOTING, who is pulling who's strings, shot in both legs and its classed as just a shooting.

    Sean Kelly released unconditionally Shooting was not punishment shooting

  19. I doubt there's anyone with any commitment to make any inquiry on one of there ministerial boards to hold ford or any of them them to their word, to prove there is no power, no justice, as alec says more of the same for republicans.
    Holme house prison as mentioned by ford when saying English prison awaiting approval uses the BOSS chair scanner - its in their reports and can provide link if needed.
    That's secondary in some ways to showing stormont has no power no willingness to change, Been concerned about the lads in solitary on protest, the lads from Tyrone had been on hunger strike to SSU - what threat to them? the threat was on wing with loyalists which is why they commenced hunger strike. Its being used as further punishment by the prison regime.

    Its probably clear whitehall-Westminster etc control the prison issues so again ford is a mouthpiece for a nothing assembly through devolution and the GFA reserved and excepted justice and policing powers mean ford,Quisling SF or any British lackey on the hill cannot make any change to this, its a total charade-they pay lip service to their masters,
    Meanwhile there's no change in the prison, justice or policing at all -

  20. Alec,
    Nationalist parties will never deviate from their fence sitting stance. Anyone who is prepared to police prisoners has gone full circle. I wonder some times iif it is the prisoner or the warden / politicans who are being compromised in that scenario? The fact that Republican prisoners are still being stripped and brutalised speaks volumes about our politicans.

  21. Alec
    Just looking at your very appropriate title 'what now for prisoners'
    What is there now for prisoners,? Decency has been met with undulated brutality, the end of the protest should have provided breathing space for each side.
    Common ground could have been found. Criminals are not held on secret evidence nor are they dragged before the courts on manufactured evidence, the are not held in interrogation centres for unduly long periods of time, Republicans are. The state defines the difference in every other aspect and then once in their custody they are treated like criminals. I think on reflection all of us could be doing more.

  22. Anthony:

    Thanks for putting the link on TPQ.

    "Michael Campbell has been held in inhumane conditions for a number of years now in lukiskes prison in Lithuania, has Republican activist Michael Campbell been forgotten by the wider Republican Movement?"

    Its sad that in this day and age that those who languish in foreign prison seem to be forgotten about, especially by mainstream Republicans ie, SF, and former comrades etc. Were has republicanism gone, being stretched into the ever growing British stormont regime , seems British is the norm these days, and those who are Interned, are , broadly speaking , being forgotten about by mainstream Republicans. I wonder if SF in the 26 counties could even muster to get Michael Campbell's plight brought unto the floor via a motion to request That he be able to serve the remainder of his sentence in Eire, Or, Seek TD's opinions and ask if they would support such a motion to be put to the senate.

  23. itsjustmacker

    I disagree with you that Sinn Fein thought it had a good deal. I beleive they knew the game was up and their backs were to the wall. Decommisioning and Policing were put on the long finger to allow the leadership time and space to prepare the ground for such decisions becoming inevitable. All the hype was for the optics and designed to soothe the nerves of the base. Gerry and Martin both knew the final destination in the broad strokes.

    I accept your view on the malign and corrupting influence of the security services in all of this. But there are still republicans on the ground who believe the party has power to shape the present and the future. What is happening in the jails and the courts defies this claim.

    Britian's grip on the north is as strong as ever even if it is now dressed up in quasi democratic structures.

  24. Alec,

    we have spoke about this so often. I think the leadership delayed decommissioning to inprove their own career prospects not to prepare the base. The base by and large swallowed everything they were fed and in extra quick time.

  25. mackers in the early days you were shocked by the GFA so much so that you thought they couldn't go for it. Because we have talked about it many times doesn't mean I accept your analysis. I don't believe they could have pulled off decommission in the very early days, which is why the leadership kept it cover up to win support for the GFA. It was impregnated in the Mitchell Principles but most didn't spot it.

  26. It is true that Michael Campbell is the forgotten prisoner. I am guilty of this as much as any.

  27. Alec,

    I knew they would go for the GFA. I told you in your house the following morn it was so bad they would have to sell it by installment. You told me they would go straight for it. Once that happened the leadership could have sold anything. It was effectively over after that. The promised opposition was all waffle. Any delay that was explained in terms of opposition might have had a basis in some figures at a senior level having qualms but not at base level. The base allowed themselves to be hopelessly compromised at the GFA. The failure to oppose that was the real defeat. This is why opposition to policing was too little and much too late. Do you think if the leadership were to call on them all to assemble at Dunville Park Sunday 3 o'clock sharp for a space ship to take them to a united Ireland they wouldn't turn up?!!

  28. Alec,

    'Britian's grip on the north is as strong as ever even if it is now dressed up in quasi democratic structures.'

    One does'nt have to support the GFA or the institutions to see that it is nakedly democratic.

  29. Robert,

    once SF endorsed the consent principle they recognised a democratic basis to partition. There is no getting away from it. How liberal a liberal democracy is it however?

  30. Anthony,

    'How liberal a liberal democracy is it however?'

    Depends, I think, on what we benchmark it against.

  31. Robert a cara nothing democratic in an unelected unaccountable sos overriding a judges decision to grant bail to Marian Price or nothing democratic in interning Martin Corey and Marian Price on secret evidence, not my idea of democracy.

  32. Mackers

    The reason why the leadership sold the GFA by installment was beacause of a degree on uncertainty on its part in relation to the base. I still contend that the rank and file did not fully grasp the finer detail and many were happy to rely on leadership interpations or on the assurances of a confidant. The ugly vistas that would unfold were covered up in order to hide the unplatable truths. However, once the process begun and the leaderships grip on it became tighter, it became more diffult to oppose it at critical stages.

    I accept that the failure to oppose the GFA was the real defeat. After that the process of watering down Republican objectives was inexorable. But the fact it was unfolded by installment itself suggests it could not be swallowed in one single dose.

    That space ship would have had no shortage of passengers at anytime, but more recently there has been a hemorrhaging due to the unfulfilled promises of a better world. Political policing and a corrupt justice system has created new grivances that do not argur well for the future. Working class alienation, both protestant and catholic, is increasing due to the crippling effects of econmic downturn. Both communities are now pitted agianst one another in a sectarian struggle for finite resources. The feel good factor that hearlded the onset of a bright new future is deminishing at an alarming rate. Society in the north is not as confident as it was ten years ago.

    PS. Robert you will appreciate I offer a republican perspective which you may not find agreeable.

  33. Re - Michael Campbell and I'm no 'legal eagle' but Michael appealed his conviction and to be honest I thought that process is still ongoing, although please correct any point I make.
    European union countries inc Lithuania signed into prisoner transfer agreements from December 6th 2011 where a national is serving time in a foreign jail a PTA should apply. The reason at the moment it doesn't is as quite rightly Michael Campbell is entitled to appeal.
    However as
    itsjustmackers says where has the Irish government been on this? A human rights issue - Has any TD's raised it - campaigned for his human rights- then belfast court refuses extradition of liam Campbell to Vilinus Lithuania due to over-crowding,unhygienic conditions - on Lithuanias appeal not to extradite liam Campbell - saying conditions were based on out-dated reports - the judge said reports show a consistent pattern re prisons in Lithuania and getting worse. The jail Michael is currently in!!
    I haven't kept up with the situation but feel liam and Michael Campbell have been let down here, if liam was extradited would that then change from ignored forgotten by republicans to murmuring of injustices of Irish prisoners overseas?
    The legal process is so drawn out-you get the obvious media black-outs too-
    a sad-sorry situation I can't see the politicians doing much about it any time soon

  34. You make the point, Mackers.

    Sinn Fein accepted the democratic basis of partition, but not Irish Republicans.

  35. Robert,

    It is nakedly partitionist.

  36. Alec:

    "I disagree with you that Sinn Fein thought it had a good deal. I beleive they knew the game was up and their backs were to the wall. Decommisioning and Policing were put on the long finger to allow the leadership time and space to prepare the ground for such decisions becoming inevitable"

    We are entitled to our differing opinions on the GFA negotiations, that's what debating is all about, SF took a deal, the same deal they could have had in 1974!.
    Now down to the nitty gritty of , lets say, cease fires, and, decommissioning. You know as well as I and others, SF gained control of the army council for one reason and one reason only, to get rid of the weapons, they knew that was their only way forward, They changed more laws than anyone ever has, all against the original general army council rules, also SF laws which they pushed through, by making sure they had a majority ,they even made sure they would win the vote at those meetings, so in fact, as SF they were talking to the British, and as SF they were the army council, two tongues two faces. I honestly don't think there backs were against the wall, I believe they knew exactly what they were aiming for, but got less due to , "Those men in suites", the ones who walk up and down whitehall in London every day, ears and eyes open, and , they are doing exactly the same in the 6 counties, SF were up against the most intelligent lying people they have ever met, except under interogation were those same suits never identified themselves, they sat in a corner in the dark, saying nothing, but recording everything. We might differ in opinion on the SF GFA negotiations, but, we wont fall out over it. But, I think we can agree on one thing, No Matter what extra SF had have got at the gfa negotiations, It would still have been as it is today, A british run statelet with SF being members of that British statelet. NO ONE CAN DENY THAT. were is the so called Power sharing?, all the power lies in The Secretary Of State and MI5, That is now common knowledge, everyone else are only puppets.

  37. Anthony:

    "Do you think if the leadership were to call on them all to assemble at Dunville Park Sunday 3 o'clock sharp for a space ship to take them to a united Ireland they wouldn't turn up?!! "

    Off course they would, did not martyboy state, "Don't leave comrades, we will lead you to the republic!", This space ship is the 23:59 to the Republic, all aboard.

  38. AM,
    Thanks for highlighting PSG link re Michael Campbell, its a shame he doesnt feature in much of the discourse regarding republican prisoners, its not to say he has been forgotten by SF but has he been forgotten by republican groups with lots of prisoners themsleves?.....
    i don t think we can say one prisoner suffers more than an other because one is in solitary confinement, or one is held very far away in an unfamiliar ennvironment, who knows what each prisoner goes through themselves.....by that logic they all deserve equal attention.

  39. On the subject of what to do to help, I think the problem is very much an organizational one- had they been represented poperly I think more could have been done to further their cause.
    In days past pow groups were made up based on the prison they were in; today its based on the wing. Some groups cover some on one wing, some on both wings, some say they cover "independent pows" without much elaboration on who they are....etc. Could you imagine the h-block campaign being run like this?
    Also most support groups are being run by political groups instead of by the pows and their families. The problems with this are obvious...
    What's needed is a broad front like the NGA, with no political group connections, based on the sole fact of being a pow/ political prisoner. When people see there's enough maturity in the movement to do that, then they might listen...and in turn the brits will listen.

  40. itsjustmacker

    I don't believe we are miles apart on this. Yes, I agree G&M were able to see the final destination in broad strokes much more so than the base. Were I differ with you is on the point of whether or not they thought they had a good deal. As republicans they must have known the GFA delievered a mortal blow to the PRM. If Mackers and I could see it the next morning surely the leadership could see it also.

    Perhaps they did hope to secure greater gains believing they still had strong bargining chips in the form of decommissioning and eventual support for policing and justice. However, the GFA and the demands of unionism imposed serious limitations on how far they could go. Add to this the sheer force and cunning of British diplomacy and their fate was sealed.

    The tactis deployed by the leadership within the PRM are now well understood and require no further eloboration. Suffice to say that G&M were blessed with having the most compliant base willing to led like sheep. Mackers is right to flag up the absence of any real opposition after McKevitt's poorly planned attempt to outflank Adams and McGuinness. All the stuff of history now.

    Whatever differences we have we can be in no boubt about the final outcome.

  41. I am and always have been of the opinion that the surrender that was the gfa was a carefully choreographed surrender by instalment,Joe Cahills "ya we won" rant would have looked and sounded even more hollow had decommission and support of the police followed in quick succession to the singing of that worthless piece of paper,like Adams presidential address at the Ard Fheis re policing written for him by Jonathan Powell, who said how pleased he was that Adams quoted it almost word for word ,the decommissioning and the policing issues were organised and directed by quisling $inn £eins new found friends in Whitehall,the not an once crap was a blind to give the fools the impression that the clowns were still running the circus,Anthonys spaceship call would indeed attract many supporters who in minds eye see them more like lemmings, at the recent black flag demo on the Anytout rd I got into conversation with q$3 supporter who in fairness turned out on a dreadful night to show solidarity with Marian Dolorus and the Price Mc Glinchey families,I asked them why they still supported q$£ given their appaling record on Internment and every other issue in Stormont their only response was its peace and they accepted it was peace at any price.the brits must be congratulated the job they done on the makeover of the PRM it would be the envy of any political fashionsta, Itsjustmackers if your using my description of q$£ers its Bhroy I tag onto their names in reference to Bhroy harriers that Adams aunt Annie. used to talk to me about a lot.

  42. Mackers, you were shocked by the GFA. I recall you saying they ccould go for it and I said that they would. My understanding was that we were discussing whether or not they would sign up. As the conversation developed we discussed the drip feed approach to seeling it to the base. It's a long time ago now but this is how I recollect it.

  43. A well written piece Alec and I'm sure the debate will continue across many platforms. I hope that the pows take a unified stance in their approach and we can take our lead from them and their families.

    Fionnuala raised some very relevant points about the 'nationalist' politicians and their tendency to fence sit, this will also provide the opportunity put pressure on Sinn Fein and their constant contradictions, one one hand we have McGuinness calling on people to inform on and criminalising republicans, and on the other we have Raymond McCartney, who sits on the justice committee stating that the pows are -political prisoners.

    Hopefully some clarity can be extracted from the shinners as to their official position, their presentation to be all things to all men,republican, and administering british rule is so threadbare that I'm surprised and fragments remain. A few letters in the papers both locally (herald and times) and nationally (Irish News) questioning Francie Molloy in the run up to the election is an excellent opportunity to highlight the pows situation and apply a pressure.

    I would agree with Mick3 that the families should take the lead, whatever ideological differences exist between groups, they are suffering at the hands of the same machine. And as Mick3 has indicated if faced by a cohesive front, with a mature head and egos left at the door then people will have to listen. Hopefully 15 years after the signing of the gfa, we can look back and learn from our mistakes. It may have taken some of us a bit longer than others to catch on, but with the right approach things can be turned around.


  44. Alec,

    I was not shocked at all by the GFA. A year before it I wrote:

    What the British were allowing republicans - by permitting them into all-party talks where they can argue for a united Ireland without the remotest possibility of securing it - is an opportunity to dig a tunnel to the moon.

    The night it was agreed I was interviewed by Paxman and described it as a British declaration of intent to stay.

    The following morn I called into your house and told you it was so bad for us that the leadership would have to push it through the base in installments. You disagreed and said they would push it in one go.

    I had also talked to some senior people in Belfast and told them the first thing to watch for was big Adams sending some one (I used the term fool) out out to tell us it was a transition to a transition. As sure as ... in Conway Mill big Kelly gave that line word for word. I was sitting smirking in front of him, knowing that I had told enough people how it would play out.

    In the end you were right. You attended the ard fheis where it was accepted in one go and you made a point of refusing to applaud and got a glare from the same Kelly.

    Up until then I expressed the view to you that we had two movements, a grass roots republican one and a Stick leadership. But after that it was clear they had all gone Stick. The first act of decommissioning saw me and you in a down town bar. I was meeting a journalist and you weee meeting me. Yiu didn't trust journalists! You expressed amazement that there was no resistance whereas by that point it didn't surprise me.

  45. Alec:

    Nice to agree on most off what has happened and is happening.

    Marty I read about them (Bhroy harriers) Broy Harriers, de Valera's men. They are mentioned in this piece from Ed Moloney Put up by Eamonn Mc Cann on the sunday tribune, very interesting read.

    The governments don't want the IRA to disband

  46. Itsjustmackers thanks for that spelling correction,always spelt them with a h ,I stand corrected.

  47. Alec,

    but it does not require republicans to approve partition in order to give it a democratic basis. The demos does that. Republicans have effectively been marginalised from the issue.

  48. Marty,

    Those still commited to the violent overthrow of the state along with an insignificant number of others, not disposed to militarism, are alone in their opposition to the office of the Secretary of State. Unelected and unaccountable as it appears, it exists by consent freely given and democratic mandate regularly exercised as part of the overall structure of government here. We don't have to endorse to observe that to be the case.
    Democracies permit criticism of its political system however when that
    opposition manifests itself violently there is justification in setting aside due legal process, in specific cases, in order to preserve life.

  49. Alec,

    'Working class alienation, both protestant and catholic, is increasing due to the crippling effects of econmic downturn. Both communities are now pitted agianst one another in a sectarian struggle for finite resources.'

    How does the violence play into all of this?

    '.. you will appreciate I offer a republican perspective which you may not find agreeable.'

    Disagreeable yes but with no sense of rancour Alec. Anthony may be surprised to learn that it was something he said to me some time ago that affected my thinking profoundly. 'To engage is not to acquisce'

  50. Robert a cara once you set aside due legal process unless in circumstances such as England found itself in the autumn of 1940 then you lose the argument and allow those who would push us towards an Orwellian society where a few will keep the many subdued by" universal deceit where telling the truth is a revolutionary act"Robert no matter what flag flys here if we allow the use of secret evidence to be used against the likes of Marian Price and Martin Corey then Pastor Martin Niemoller,s First they came quote could be the order of the day

  51. Robert a cara in relation to the office of sos here as a democrat how can you support an unelected and unaccountable person the power to overrule the courts and the justice ministry,and the parole commission, in other words why bother with the middle men if thats the case we could save a good few quid and then while we are at it the assembly could be ditched as well,fuck me we could get rid of parliament and take this all the way back to giving the queen total control of the realm just like the good oldye days

  52. Mackers,

    Partition has no democratic basis.

  53. Marty:

    Don't worry about the spelling, and, it was not meant to be a correction.

    I just copied and pasted, don't forget, I went to St Gabriels secondry Interegits school on the crumlin rd. lol

  54. Alec,

    unfortunately it has a very solid democratic basis. The vast bulk of the people in the country have validated it. I don't like that it is so but it just happens to be that way. But I am still entitled to dissent from it.

    I tend to look at this thing the way I would at a creationism v evolution debate where faith challenges evidence. There is really no argument I can make against evolution nor one I can make against the notion that partition has been democratically validated.

    What can easily be said to have no democratic basis is the republican armed force that is used against partition. That is why so many of us who have come through the jails and the armed campaigning are challenged by the logic that confronts us. On the one hand we have wanted all these rights for the Irish people and on the other armed struggle asks us to deny serious rights to the Irish people.

    I don't think that I can make a case that would persuade me that I can justify trampling over the rights of the Irish people.

    But it is an argument we have had a million times.

  55. Alec this in part addresses the type of discussion we had on partition.

  56. Robert/Marty,

    It is a function of democracies that some positions crucial to a democratic society are beyond direct popular control - judiciary for example. MI5 is democratically constituted but does it function democratically and within the law?

    The SOS might be democratically constituted but the role is one less of checks and balances and more of subverting other supposedly more salient features of the democratic system. Northern democracy is undermined by the role of the SOS.


    I get the distinct feeling that there are more than just republicans who feel the SOS role is one the North would be better off without.

    Setting aside due legal process - always a dangerous self serving phenomenon that hides a multitude of sins - might appear more attractive a proposition when those who set it aside have a proven record of not being serial rights abusers. Hardly something we could say with confidence of the British Government Robert.

  57. Macker's

    The Irish people have never been asked to vote on partition rather they have been presented with politically constructed agreements that have partition as their basis. Partition was imposed on the Irish people by a British government that threatened 'an immediate and terrible war' should the people refuse to accept the terms of the treaty.

    In more recent times, the GFA was 'democratically' endorsed by the people in concurrent refrenda that were partitionist mechanisms designed to underpin the Unionist veto.

    The game is definitely not straight by any stretch of the imagination.

    I know you long enough to recognise one of your favorite debating polys. I am not ignorant nor irrational. Republicanism has always viewed British occupation as something that prevents the realisation of a real Irish democracy.

    Partition divided the country and the people and is therefore anti- democratic. We will always be miles apart on this subject.

  58. The rights of the Irish people tgo determine their own affiars in a truly democratic fashion have been subverted by a foregin parliament and the power of veto of a minority.

  59. Anthony a cara I,m with Alec on this The big lad has got it spot on imo.

  60. Alec,

    there is little point in resorting to shouting 'debating ploys' or calling people double barrel names if there is a flaw in your argument. Improve the argument.

    Republicanism has always viewed British occupation as something that prevents the realisation of a real Irish democracy.

    But the republican argument is hopelessly marginalised here. The Irish themselves have endorsed partition and given it a democratic basis. They have done so through mechanisms that they participated in and did not boycott. I don't like that but that's what happenes when you work with democracy; the outcome often goes against you.

    The Irish people are also aware of the role of foreign parliaments and the power of a minority in the North and have fashioned a framework for dealing with it that we as republicans might not like but have to live with nonetheless. They have decided amongst them that they will not impose an obligatory nationalism on the island until such times as a majority in the North agree to embrace the national outcome. In doing so they recognise the right of people to dissent from the nation. I actually pointed all this out at the RDS in 1995 only to be told by the leadership that I was way off the mark; that they would never agree to it.

    As republicans we are faced with a situation where the Irish people have a right to decide what political structures they want in place on the island; what mechanisms they approve of to bring those structures about; what prioritiy they give to the problems they perceive as existing including the stance of the unionists; and what strategies to use for the resolution of any problems that arise.

    As a republican I don't see how I can behave as an absolutist and tell them they can only have the rights I tell them they can have. They don't need my approval or endorsement before their decisions can be regarded as democratic.

    It is hard to insist on any rights for the Irish people while at the same time denying them the right to make decisions about the use of political violence. This is I think one of the central flaws at the heart of the physical force tradition - although you have not made any argument here in relation to that tradition so I am being expansive in my reply rather than answering you specifically.

  61. Marty,

    it worries me not in the slightest. You are entitled to be with whoever you like in these discussions. Your freedom to dissent from my opinion is every bit as worthy of defence as is your right to dissent from the Brit position or the SF position.

  62. Under the GFA the power to call a referedum rests with the BSS under the clearly defined and limited conditions. Unlike their Celtic cousins the Irish people do not possess a mechainism for making their wishes heard without first having to jump through the many hoops written into the GFA. Instead of a level playing field we have two halves of the pitch both with differnet surface conditions. It's nonsense. And because the people have bought into it doesn't make it right or fair.

    Today Sinn Fein is calling for a 'boder poll' - a entirely patitionist demand because it applies only to the six-counties - and it has been rejected out of hand by Villers who sees no evidence of the need for one. Therefore some BSS sometime in the future must be convinced of the case for a 'boder poll, before he/she would agree to having one. The 'triple-lock' represents an obsticle course put in the way to make Irish unity as difficult as possible.

  63. Gee thanks Anthony the brit position I can understand still looking for q
    $£,s though a cara.its an interesting tussel and I for one am enjoying sitting back and watching how this one pans out but I reckon I,ll not live that long.

  64. Mackers,
    I don't have a lot of time for people who call an arguement in their own favour. Its displays and is merely another clever debating tactic.make your point and dispense with the self congratulation.

  65. The Irish people agreed to the many hoops in the GFA. It is what they signed up to. This was why it was so important to have SF reject it. But they didn't. The base gave them the green light and the moment was lost.

    The SOS right to call a referendum is a failure of SF strategy which we have a right to imagine should have secured at the very least a joint decision on the matter.

    But it is academic because regardless of who has the power to call, it will make no difference. There is no chance of a majority in the North going for it. The true chickens of Northern nationalism are coming home to roost. Its national aspiration can be accomodated as far as they are concerned within a British framework. Didn't Professor John Whyte just get this right in his work Interpreting Northern Ireland all those years ago?

  66. Alec,

    if you can't hack it don't argue.

  67. Mackers,

    I can hack it. But try to let the points develop before calling a winner. Surely you haven't convinced yourself that you have all the arguments.

  68. As you can see my contributions are full of typos but I'm sure you know what I am saying.

    By the way, I entirely agree with your last comment. Amazing!

  69. Alec:

    It was written into the GFA,

    A United Ireland will only become possible with the will of the Majority of the North if they so wish.

    SF bought into this.

    The Border Poll to me , would not make one iota of a difference because The GFA supercedes it.

  70. if you can hack it good. You'll need to in this game. No. I don't have all the arguments. That's why I engage in listening to others and have no problem with them dissenting from my views. And why I accept the Irish people have rights regardless of what I say. The days have long gone when I felt comfortable telling the Irish people it was our way or the highway.

    The referendum is not worth a hill of beans. Adams didn't inject it into the discourse because he thinks it will be forthcoming but beacuse he had a chance to set the unionists off when they were going bonkers anyway.

    Anyway, it is brandy time

  71. Alec,

    write it out in Word first if the typos get to you. There is no spell check facility in most of these blog comment sections

  72. Anthony:

    Just clicked on your Link.

    Republicans Acknowledging A Democratic Basis To Partition.

    Excellent piece, and, from 2002.

    That's what I was thinking, way before they even signed the gfa.


    If you don't have MS Word, you can get a full free open source office suite at:

    Free Office Suite Open Office Org Dowload Anthony Just opening a Bottle of Brandy Myself.

  73. Mackers,

    truly humbled to be playing with the big boys: Big boy's rules, eh. I will do my best to keep up with the cutting edge debate.

    The Irish people have rights indeed and it is very important that these are respected. Unfortunately they never have been respected by British governments or by unionists. Home rule was opposed by Carson and those who swore to resist it to the last drop of Irish blood. The only time that the Irish people voted for independence that vote was suppressed by a superior forigen power. So called peace treaties have been forced upon the Irish people by the point of a sword and threats of terrible war. And so it continues.

    The GFA was agreed within the recognised and accepted parameters of partition. It was an accord reached between unequal political forces supported by international capital. Sinn Fein's capitulation has dealt a mortal blow to the Republican project from which it may never recover. But I defy those who say the right to national soverignity is limited by the lesser right of a minority to excerise a veto.

  74. Marty,

    '..in relation to the office of sos here as a democrat how can you support an unelected and unaccountable person the power to overrule the courts and the justice ministry,and the parole commission,..'

    I don't, I would much rather have those powers vested in a Stormont Ministry. I can't help but noticing that you outline circumstances that could equally apply to Marian's Royal Pardon.

  75. I sent both when one was meant to be a reworked version of the other.

    I am to chill out. Enjoy the bandy. I don't drink in the house as I need to be out making a complete fool of myslef.

  76. Alec,

    I'm sure you will manage.It's hardly the first spat!

    The Irish people have rights indeed and it is very important that these are respected.

    Have they the right to reject political violence being used against their wishes? have they the right to be free from republican physical force?

    The GFA was endorsed because people wanted peace. It wasn't any threat of a terrible war from the Brits, unionists, republicans or anybody else that caused the vote to go the way it did. They felt it was the best way to bring an end to the violence that they never endorsed and which they felt was never going to alter the constitutional status quo.

    The expressed wishes or approval of the Irish people are in place. Whether the Brits respect those wishes is another matter. I doubt the Brits respect much. But then republicans don't respect the wishes of the Irish people either.

    Have people the right to dissent from obligatory nationalism and subsequent to that can arrangements be made and endorsed nationally that give expression to that dissent?

    The GFA was agreed within the recognised and accepted parameters of partition.

    Which people knew of in advance and opted to go with anyway.

    Sinn Fein's capitulation has dealt a mortal blow to the Republican project from which it may never recover.

    There is no history of anything recovering from a mortal blow. I think it is mortal but I am not so sure you do. You probably think it is close to mortal.

    I defy those who say the right to national soverignity is limited by the lesser right of a minority to excercise a veto.

    The defiance doesn't amount to much. The power to make the defiance effective simply isn't there. People agree to a range of political frameworks for managing their affairs. You and I might think they have come about unfairly. But as Bertold Brecht said 'the people have voted, the bastards.'

  77. You could never drink in the house. I enjoy a brandy or whiskey in the house.

  78. Robert a cara a pardon that no one can find ,now one thing the Brits are excellent at and that is book keeping,its also interesting that the previous sos Patterson was able to quote verbatim from this missing document ,We wrote to the queen and told her that some of her servants were either negligent or guilty of destruction of royal property,her reply is hanging up in our bog! I would have thought that with the setting up of a devolved justice ministry and the justice committee then there would be no need for intervention by a sos but then I forgot about the real bosses here thats mi5 imo a cara ..

  79. The Irish people on a thirty-two county basis have the right to determine their own affairs free of external impediment or interference There you have it, the republican position restated. Now you can play around with this until we are both blue in the face and I am certain you will.

    Do people vote for war? No. Peace is a more harmonious hunman condition. Generally, war is made by the politicans and the ordinary people are used as canon fodder on the field.

    So, what you are saying is that the people voted for peace which is totally understandable. Therefore, the political and constitutional details of the GFA were secondary to the popular desire to see and end to the violence.

    The expressed wishes of the Irish people to live in peace is in place rather than their approval of a partitionist framework.

    Have people the right to dissent from obligatory nationalism?

    People have the right to dissent from all manner of things if they so wish. But as we live in a world where the nation state is still the common currency then I would suggest most people favour some form of nationalism.

    Again, I have not read Bertold Brecht but I am sure he did say that, and they are my sntiments entirely.

  80. Alec,

    The Irish people are not under any obligation to accept what the republican position is. The onus is on republicans to convince the Irish people of the merits of the republican position.

    We live in a complex and interdependent world. Every country has some degree of interference from other countries and interfere in the affairs of other countries. This hold true even in a world which we might wish to see as being characterised by domination and dependence. But your use of the word impediment is valuable because it allows us to ask if the Irish people regard it as the type of impediment that you do. I don’t think they do.

    Do people vote for war? No. Peace is a more harmonious human condition.

    Is that a yes or a no to the question of whether the Irish people have a right to be free from republican violence?

    So, what you are saying is that the people voted for peace which is totally understandable. Therefore, the political and constitutional details of the GFA were secondary to the popular desire to see an end to the violence.

    I think a good argument can be made for that. But the Irish people are probably better placed to tell us than I am. The Irish people probably would prefer an end to partition but can republicans deny them the right to decide how that end should be put into effect? I think the rights of the Irish must prevail here.
    People might favour some form of nationalism but they also might favour mechanisms for the operationalisation of that nationalism.

    Brecht was being contemptuous of those who ignore the right of the electorate to make choices. What are your sentiments – that the people are bastards? !!!

  81. Theresa May criticises judges for 'ignoring' deportation law.

    Guilty before a trial, doe's that not ring a bell:

    So they are guilty one and all? what next may you ask.

  82. Mackers,

    You keep serving up truisms. The Irish people are not obliged to accept any position. Not the most insightful statement.

    I understand the world is complex. How could it be anything other with the multiplicty of peoples, cultures, religions, language, ect. Some forms of interdependance are positive whilst others are negative. Relationships and systems based on a power imbalance are those that are gernerally considered as bad: Absolutism, Captialism, Imperialism, Colonialism, etc. It is another truism to say that some countries suffer a degree of interference from other countries. There are many examples of these today; Iraq and Afghanistan are the most obvious ones. Occupation - the denial of the unversially recognised principle of Self-Determination - is the most agressive form of interference. During the long history of British colonialism the Irish people has experienced every form of wickedness imaginable. But I not going to give you a history lesson.

    As a rule all people have the right to be free from all forms of violence. If that's not an answer to your question then I don't know what is.

    I am sure that over the centuries the Irish people would have opted for a paeceful end to colonialism, domination and occupation. However, anywhere else in the world where people won their freedom it was usually a very violent and trumatic process. The history of decolonisation is characterised by gross violence. Would you and I prefer to see a conflict free society? Of course. I would like to see it even more so for my children.

    On a final note. All of the great revolutionary movements have been the work of highly motivated minorities seeking change.

    This debate will end up going round in circles. We will always disagree.

  83. OH! the people can be bastards.

  84. "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter"Churchill.

  85. Alec,

    I understand the world is complex.

    And I serve up truisms! I certainly don’t serve up torturous republican theology. It is one of the reasons republican ideas are so effectively marginalised.

    The core problem with what you say is that you seem to have no way of addressing the fact that the Irish people have approved a framework for dealing with the North. They no longer seem to share the republican perspective that the problem is one of occupation but one of a section of the Irish people freely choosing to live outside a unitary state on the island. The republican analysis has lost any hegemonic purchase.

    As a rule all people have the right to be free from all forms of violence.

    Which takes us to the question of how to address what you define as the problem of the Irish people having a right to be free British interference. It seems clear that you are telling us that the Irish people have at least two rights: to be free from British interference and to be free from coercive force not approved by them to deal with that interference. I agree with that. So how is it resolved. It can’t be argued that the Irish people have these two rights but we are only going to respect one of them. That merely justifies everybody telling the Irish people to get stuffed as they really have no rights; that we can trample over those rights when it suits us.

    All of the great revolutionary movements have been the work of highly motivated minorities seeking change.

    What is this ‘non truism’ supposed to tell us? Are we to infer from it that maybe the Irish people don’t after all have a right to be free from the violence if it is revolutionary violence?

  86. Mackers.

    Once again we must agree to disagree on the point of revolutionary movements being the work of motivate minorities. While revolutionarey processes engage all of society and generate societal upheaval, protagonists are minority groups.

    I do not accept the Irish people freely choose to live outside of a unitary satate but rather their choices at any time are limited by particular political frameworks. The desire for a peaceful existence also plays an important part in these decisions.

    Opinion polls in the south invariably show a majority in favor of reunification. The Republican demand for a thrity-two county referendum is democratic one; much more so than the concurrent referenda offered by the GFA of which the one in the six-counties holds sway.

  87. Unless others wish to comment on this, I feel we have come to an impasse.

  88. AM said: "...once (P)SF endorsed the consent principle they recognised a democratic basis to partition."

    There is no doubt that PSF endorsed the so called "consent" principle which was a complete capitulation of sovereign Irish Republicanism & Nationalism on their part. Hence their falling out with their former better parts such as yourself, Brendan Hughes, Dolours Price, and Marian Price, among others. But to say PSF recognized a (British) democratic basis to partition (which is certainly standard MI6 and PSF eye wash) is to buy into a fraud and an absurdity. Compare: what chance then or now of the National Liberation Front of Vietnam accepting the US offered choice of direct rule from Washington, DC or indirect rule from Saigon? To color this kind of imperially rigged choice as having a "democratic basis" because colonized people voted for one imperial choice over another imperial choice is really meaningless and treasonous because its an obvious exercise in futility for those seeking genuine national liberation.

  89. You are correct: there is no getting away from fact that PSF recognized a (British) “democratic” basis to partition. And that fraudulent word “democratic” is standard political eyewash from the usual suspects in PSF, MI6, Dublin & the US State Department. Hence PSF’s falling out with their former better parts such as yourself, Brendan Hughes & the Price sisters, among others because this “recognition” (or starter for denial) requires complete capitulation and defeat of genuine national liberation from imperial colonial power and the denial of same. Compare for instance the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. No chance the Viet Cong being duped by such a phony (American) “democratic” basis for the continued partition of their country no matter how many Vietnamese would have voted for indirect rule over direct rule from Washington, D.C.

  90. Alec,

    the old brain does reach saturation point quickly these days. Not like the jail where these things could be debated for weeks. Tempted to get the brandy here. Seem to have dome Sweet FA this past two days but this. At least this article got well read.

  91. Alec,

    there is little in the way of freely choosing anything. We are always governed by constraints and contingencies. But people are aware of what that setting is in the context of the current discussion and make decisions for dealing with it.

    They take the view that the Brits are here because a section of the people in this country want them here. And if they didn't want them here the Brits would go.

    They have opted to deal with that in a way that is objectionable to us. For that reason we dissented from the GFA. Yet it poses a challenge to republicans that cannot be overcome violently.

    Opinion polls in the south invariably show a majority in favor of reunification.

    They also show a total rejection of republican armed force as a means of dealing achieving that unity. We can hardly respect their wishes on one and ignore the other.

    Fine. Then we have to let the Irish people decide how they wish to approach that matter. They will almost certainly opt for unity but only when a majority in the North agree to it.

    The problem for republicans is that the decision of the people in the North is underpinned by the people in the South assenting to it whatever it may be. It has strategically outflanked republicans and enshrined the consent principle. Republicans have yet to come up with a strategy that has the potential to overcome it.

    I know you are tired of it so if you want the last word go ahead and we will leave it at that.

  92. Marty,

    if I am not mistaken, he also said it is the worst system of government possible ... except for all the rest! Not that we would recommend him on much but he was witty.

  93. In our own history it would not have been a natural choice of the Irish people, nor a desireable one even, to vote for the partition of their country. I'm not going to elucidate the reasons for this as I know you are familiar with the times, being an historian and all. Suffice to say, the Irish people had endured a decade of intense conflict and craved peace and stability. Hence the desire for peace under extreme conditions is not always a sound basis for making important decisions.

    Republicans were never mandated to commence war. Revolutionary movements seldom if ever possess such mandates. The initators for these struggles are generally to be found in the objective conditions of a situation. I know you have little time for such rantings so you will have to grit your teeth. There is a lively debate amongst the historians as to whether or not Republicans had a mandate to initate hostilites against the British. Opinion on the question is divided.

    I agree with much of what Owen has said. The fact the GFA recognises partition based on the principle of consent is beyond argument. Sinn Fein's support for the agreement underpins that and obliges the party to work within the agreed framework for all future constitutional change. The people endorsed these arrangments in partitionist referenda as being the best chance for achieving peace. But do the people by this endorsement surrender their right to sovereignty?

    Sinn Fein can no longer claim to adhere to the republican position on partition. It now acts as facilitator of British rule in Ireland. The Irish people have wrongly consented to a political settlement that undermines the basis of any claim to sovereignty. As I said before, the game is not straight and the people fell for another clever British poly.

    Ruling by fooling is a great British pastime: I know I have bastardised this from somewhere.

  94. Alec,

    you have taken it from Connolly\;

    ruling by fooling is a great British art with great Irish fools to practive on.

    But as I said, I would leave the last word with you

  95. You will always correct me, lol. Of course, it was the bold Connolly. He also said way back in 1913 that partition would produce a carnval of reaction. How right he was on that point.

  96. Ruling by fooling is a great British art with graet Irish fool to practice on: Isn't it a fantastic saying and so ture.

    There are as many fools today as there were in his time.

  97. Alec

    "There are as many fools today as there were in his time."

    That is so true.

    and those same fools will generate future ones.

  98. itsjustmackers,

    not sure the meaning of that.

  99. Alec:

    More fools will follow the fools

  100. Alec Connolly was so right then and his saying are as relevant today,the man was a true revolutionary with the most amazing insight.

  101. This comment has been removed by the author.

  102. Alec:

    I am not calling connolly a fool, he was far from it.

    That's the last thing which would be on my mind.

    what I am stating is, those (Fools) who sold out and those (Fools) who follow them, will lead to more (Fools).

  103. Itsjustmackers, have just tuned in to the TPQ to read what was going on. Was reading your posts and those of Alec, with the exception of the withdrawn post. For a second I thought, I was a fool,then the realisation hit me,I was just perplexed. You know for a split second I thought you were suggesting being a fool was hereditary and could be passed on genetically.

  104. itsjustmackers,

    I removed that comment but not before you had a chace to see it obviously.

  105. Feel te love,

    this demonstrates the point Mackers made to me regarding bining comments. It causes confusion.

  106. Feel te love:

    lol, that really made me go into a kink!, hope you weren't wearing a clown suit when you typed that, because I binned mine years ago.


    I Don't have to ask as to why you deleted that post.

    But I have deleted one myself, the reason was, it was not accurate data, and could have meant something different to viewers on the blog, like confusion.

  107. Itsjustmacker. You are very welcome. Yes I had a bit of a raised smile while typing but I did'nt feel it was worthy of breaking out the big shoes on this occasion. Mackers thanks for performing the duties of a sitting moderator and facilitating conversation.

  108. Feel te love.

    The shoes part i well understand, Ive used them myself!.
    But I am trying to fathom this.

    "Mackers thanks for performing the duties of a sitting moderator and facilitating conversation..

    Why should Anthony have to facilitate our conversation, or, do you mean yours and alecs towards me, RE "Fool", that would be a grave mistake if you took me for a fool, I have nothing to hide, and have never asked or emailed Anthony to Facilitate any comments I have made, I speak my mind and answer as truthfully as possible, and, If i think some one is winding me up, I SAY IT AS IT IS, by they way, I take a size 7!!!!!. That's a Saoırse size.

  109. Itsjustmacker,

    relax. The guy was merely thanking us for hosting debate and giving our time to do so. He could as easily be thanking you and everyone else who takes the time to make their point. By extension hs did make that acknowldegement. There is not some booby trap hidden in every comment and if we jump too often it can sour the discussion.

  110. itsjustmacker,

    I hope you do not think I was having a go at you. I simply for an explanation. I am not on this site often enough nor am I familiar enough with everyone to know where they are coming from.

  111. Find this debate really interesting but just out of curiosity what is a 'Saoirse size'?

  112. Anthony:

    Sorry about that, me jumping to conclusions.

    Feel te love:

    Please accept my apologies.


    Please accept my apologies.

    Got another one of those special envelopes from the powers that be Yesterday , who are more interested in past events of the conflict than the present..

    Being pig sick is a minor statement.

    Sincere apologies to all for being over reactive.

  113. Fionnuala:

    Just noticed that, thanks for pointing it out, cracked up yesterday, made loads of errors.

    Saoirse na hÉireann.

  114. It's just Macker still puzzled, Im from Clonard we need things elaborated a bit more than others.

  115. Itsjustmackers. No need to pologise, thought it were a bit of light hearted banter. I was thanking Mackers for putting the comments up almost as they were sent, it is usually a site for posting long statements and considered opinion and not the one liners we had going that are usually found in a chatroom. Just so you are aware itsjustmackers I dont do winding. Take it handy cara.

  116. In this age of technological marvels it should be possible to develop a typo free system. The dog me somethin shocking.

    If I want to do spelling checks I have to open a fresh window and the interchange. It cracks me up. I know there must be an easier way.

  117. Hire a secretary Alec its the quisling $inn £ein way and easily affordable on an average industrial wage..

  118. Alec,
    My computer is still getting worked on or I would have a look. Take the advice Mackers is always giving and the advice we always ignore write it out on word first and then copy.
    Failing that use your phone like me.

  119. Nuala,

    it is the only way it is going to work. No matter how often we type a comment in here the problem is the same. Even when we check it we can't read from the page because we read from the mind's eye. It's impossible to proof read our own material. After erading through our comments here and thinking they are spelt right, if we copy and paste and put it on Word, the amount of mistakes it highlights makes us despair.

  120. Mackers,
    You are going to have to punish constant offenders and award those making an effort.

  121. Marty,

    I did ask the wife but her fingers are worked to the bone running after the kids, doing the house work, shopping, holding done a nursing job, etc. I told her it was a simple job so she said she would consider it. There is a wee hour at the end of each day she gets to relax. I think this would be the perfect time to check my comments for errors. What do you reckon?

  122. that is one sure way of getting a finger in the eye

  123. Mackers,
    If you enforce strict penalties it will bring the despair to an end, three strike rule not to be applied to phone users.

  124. Nuala,

    we will all be out if that is applied.

  125. Alec a cara go for it,I mean how dangerous can it be?????

  126. Fionnuala:

    Just noticed This,"Saoirse size'?"
    I Had a few Brandy's in me, But I cant post what I meant Here, I will Email Anthony and he can explain to you, It relates to 7 men!, ie, size 7. But Anthony will pass you the details. if that's okay with him. I don't fancy posting it on here,and, Anthony states it wont be printed. I am dubious as to what the powers that be can intercept.

  127. y dont we spel it as we sey it, that would be great fun, everyone else would think we were writing code. Just a thout!. I keep a google tab open, when i type a word and it is underlined, I just type it into Google and before I have finished typing the word, the proper spelling is before my eyes.