Mount Guff has flared into life. The eruption sparked by Gerry McGeough’s opinion of nationalists functioning as British prosecutors and judges in the North’s justice system has, despite its intensity, generated more heat than light.

Even then it takes but a little heat to send a coalition of the excitable and the execrable ringing in an emergency in the hope that the first responder will be the firemen from Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s great novel on censorship. There, it was the responsibility of the firefighters to burn books.

Most of those frothing at the mouth have been unionists. Maurice Morrow of the DUP wants McGeough prosecuted for hate crime, Sammy Brush, a former member of the UDR terror regiment, seeks to have McGeough booted out of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, while TUV leader Jim Allister is endeavouring to have McGeough's licence revoked so that he may be returned to prison. Central to this discourse of outrage has been the suggestion that McGeough was threatening the people he labelled as traitors.

The supposedly incendiary words uttered by McGeough and which so ignited ire are as follows:

And under the cover you have Catholic Nationalist, people from Republican families, who are now sitting as Diplock court judges and prosecutors and all the other stuff of the day that you can’t possibly imagine and they are arrogantly passing judgment on patriots ... So again you have Irish Catholics, traitors in effect, administering British rule here in the Six Counties ... And we need a united Ireland ... And then we’ll deal with all these other issues that I’ve been referring to, the collaborators and all the rest of it, but in the meantime we need to get our country re-united and we need to get the English out of here – they’ve no right to be here. 

Abhorrent if you are a British judge or prosecutor, but in no way out of step with the long held republican view of such people, particularly those who served as functionaries of Diplock. It would be difficult to make an arguable case that McGeough was running contrary to republican icons such as Bobby Sands or Kieran Doherty on this one.

Nor has the Tyrone republican  introduced a shockingly new term into the political lexicon. Martin McGuinness called republicans "traitors to the island of Ireland" but unionists are not looking him locked up for it. Why McGeough’s use of the word traitor should be anymore incitement to hatred than McGuinness’s we are left to guess. Seems it is a matter of who is being hated. To boot, those making the most noise in this have all sat comfortably in cultures and parties whose stock and trade has been fashioned from labelling all and sundry traitor and Lundy. Disingenuous cant.

The media is of course entitled to ask McGeough what he meant when he said that people are traitors who should be dealt with once the country is united. "Dealing" with people can be interpreted in many ways. The important thing which was not addressed is that McGeough at no point in his interview described the people he was criticising as legitimate targets. Had he done so that would have given cause for serious concern. As he was clearly talking about a post-British withdrawal scenario we are entitled to infer from his comments that he thinks those who worked the British justice system should be dealt with, as other countries have dealt with such types: prosecution under Irish jurisprudence for their alleged collaboration and have them tried in courts of law. He has said nothing that would lead us to think anything else.

Not that anything of the sort is ever likely to happen. Those of us who think Declan Kearney was on the money when he said there is no point in stopping a war only to continue fighting it by psychological and political means, recoil from the notion of punitively dealing with anybody for their role in the conflict.

For all I know Mr McGeough might hold me, because of my atheism, as a traitor to the Catholic faith who should be put on trial for heresy once the Catholic theocracy that he might prefer to govern the island is established. While his opinion on that might appal me I prefer to stick with the Stephen Fry assertion that:

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?

One irony in this brouhaha is that the judges and prosecutors referred to in the McGeough interview are very much "dealing" in a very tendentious manner with people for events in the past. The institution of the judiciary in the North was involved in heinous travesties of justice. It jailed the innocent, facilitated RUC torture, ridiculed each other's judgements during the thoroughly discredited supergrass era, shirked from convicting state killers, inter alia. Judges have never been brought to account: no inquiries, nothing. Their past it seems is immune from any effective scrutiny. It is alright for McGeough to face prosecution and imprisonment for matters pertaining to his past but when he calls for the prosecutors and judges to be dealt with it is greeted with a cacophony of rage.  

None of this is about responding to illegal threats because Gerry McGeough made none. It is very much about muzzling republicans who have the temerity to state in unambiguous terms the contempt with which republicanism has long viewed British judges and prosecutors.

I believe Gerry McGeough's characterisation of the people he excoriated to be weak polemic rather than strong analysis. Wrong as the AOH man might be, Vincent Browne's words from 2005 should sound a cautionary warning: "The censorship of falsehood, inevitably will cause the censorship of truth."


  1. And they will plow Mount Guffs emmisions to fertilize their soil. Incredible wonders spring forth. Haha.
    Something about McGeough must terrify them as they are always conspiring against him, I must read more on him in that case.

  2. Never mind the 'dealing with traitors' guff, its the Southerners who need to watch out!

    “The south urgently needs us northerners to take control of things because they have just gone so wishy-washy it’s beyond belief – they’ve no spark of patriotism, they’ve turned their back on their faith, everything you could possibly imagine – they’ve really no sense of Irishness worth talking about so we have to re-instill all that in them.”

    At first I was concerned, now I just think he's a head-case!

    ....and maybe stuck in the 1980's Shinner mind-set of ' we are right no matter what'.

    Mind you, plenty of nutters in the DUP!

  3. What exactly he meant by "dealing with" is unclear and really a moot point. To be anti-treaty in this day and age will bring the faux outrage of the awful SF and unionist parties upon you. More interesting was this quote:

    "The South urgently needs us Northerners to take control of things because they have just gone so wishy-washy it’s beyond belief – they’ve no spark of patriotism, they’ve turned their back on their faith, everything you could possibly imagine – they’ve really no sense of Irishness worth talking about so we have to re-instill all that in them."

    I nearly fell off my chair laughing, DP Moran would be proud! McGeough is clearly a basket case, more to be laughed at than offended by.

  4. it's ironic that the two unionists who commented here easily identified what was the standout comment from the McGeough interview while the usual suspects who are chronically incapable of engaging republicans chase of in pursuit of a chimera.

  5. Peter/Steve

    I think you make fair comments. But when one considers the likes of Sammy Brush who is so vociferous about anything McGeough then you could say like meets like. In an exchange that I had with Sammy a few years ago he was vitriol about ALL Catholics. It was his view that as a member of the UDR ALL Catholics who got beaten up or targeted by the UDR got what they deserved including any Catholics who were killed by collusion. The guy is a hate filled little shit and its amazing the credibility that he has within the unionist community.

  6. Oh please Christy, spare us the whataboutery. McGeough does not speak for all republicans and Sammy Brush does not speak for all unionists. I think we are all grown up enough to know this.

  7. Not sure why you went down the strawman way with Daft-as-a-Brush, Christy. But I imagine Brush may still be a bit annoyed considering McGeough tried to kill him.

    But they probably are like for like, and as Peter said they don't speak for all of their respective communities.

    Lets be honest, anybody who votes for the DUP needs their head seen too.

  8. Whilst not having read Mr McGeough's interview nor having much inclination to do so ... I am of the opinion there's something slightly messianic in in the tone of the quote Peter, Steve and Mackers in the comments section above, draws attention to.

    It appears to me that Mr McGeough is so self-righteous in his opinions that he has lost sight of any tangible connection with the majority sway of opinion in the south. His insulting utterances, and indeed the reactions to them are an irrelevance to the vast majority down here ... a total irrelevancy save to those few remaining theocratic fundamentalist republicans. In truth his shibboleths serve no function but to further marginalise and alienate support from sometimes legitimate Northern Nationalist concerns.

    Certain shades of Unionism need the likes of Gerry McGeough and his ilk ... just as much as he and his cronies needs continuation of the bwad Bwits and the bwad collabowators nawwatitive.

    Wake up from your slumber Gerry and face reality.
    Republicanism as once practised is a beaten docket ... a beaten docket with equivalent value. Get off the stage man ... otherwise you're destined to become an embarrassment even to yourself!

  9. Peter

    The article above refers to Brush and Morrow -2 particularly sectarian individuals -1 of whom I had first hand experience with.

    I never suggested either Brush or McGeough spoke for all their respective sides -Brushes remarks were made only a few years ago -are you making the same hype about his talk of ALL Catholics being responsible for the IRA and he and his UDR cronies gave them their deserving comeuppance at the roadside or by collusion used loyalists as their proxy to do what they would like to do?

    This isnt whataboutary but showing that bitter sectarianism is still riff in the very minds of those trying to get as much mileage out of McGeoughs comments as they can without themselves being put under scrutiny. Bit like the kettle calling the pot black as they say.

    I have often been disturbed by rants from McGeough just as I have been with Brush. If McGeough's comments are so disturbing why are Sammy Brushes not equally disturbing to you? probably because you're not a catholic or nationalist I guess.

  10. Where do I say that I am not disturbed by Brush's rants? The article and comments are about what McGeough said and the reaction to them. Why don't you write an article about Brush and I'll comment on it. I (and Steve) have repeatedly made clear our thoughts on the DUP and OO and our opposition to them and their petty sectarianism in the comments sections of this blog.

    I commented on this thread as I am really intersted in the notion of the ultra-gael and the desire to de-anglicise Ireland from Moran's Irish Ireland campaign to O'Duffy's Blue Shirts as depicted in the film Jimmy's Hall. It seems the boul Gerry is of their ilk. That's why that quote struck a chord. I have no time for religion or for hating people due to what church they go to so don't try to judge me on what I didn't say.

  11. Christy,

    "I have often been disturbed by rants from McGeough just as I have been with Brush. If McGeough's comments are so disturbing why are Sammy Brushes not equally disturbing to you? probably because you're not a catholic or nationalist I guess."

    Because I don't take Brushs shite seriously, nor now do I give any weight to McGeough's waffle.

    The reason McGeough cooment rankles unionists so much is that he talks as if "traitors" will be dealt with after a Military victory, like in Vietnam after the US pulled out. That's the implied 'threat' that some unionists look to get themselves into a frenzy about.

    Absolute pish but what do you do?

  12. Peter

    I was commenting on the reaction to McGeough -The man is a raving lunatic and equally as dangerous as Sammy Brush so just because Brush comes from your side is no reason why we can berate McGeough and ignore his mirror image and nemisis.


    As a Unionist you would be the enemy whereas he probably would view me as a traitor -Brush is only anti Catholic/Nationalist so you and Peter are safe from him but the rest of us would not be if he got his way. You and Peter each quoted McGeough on what he proposes to re-instill in anyone from the south and many others but he is no better than Sammy Brush.

  13. Christy,

    "As a Unionist you would be the enemy whereas he probably would view me as a traitor -Brush is only anti Catholic/Nationalist so you and Peter are safe from him but the rest of us would not be if he got his way.

    IF he got his way. Even other Unionists can see he's a rabid bigot. Not likely to 'get his way' in these times.

    You and Peter each quoted McGeough on what he proposes to re-instill in anyone from the south and many others but he is no better than Sammy Brush."

    I'm not arguing that with you save to say the article is on McGeough, not Brush.

  14. Steve,

    the article is not on McGeough specifically but more on attempts to censor his opinion. Brush is one of those who want him silenced so he is very much in the frame for discussion.

  15. AM
    Yes we know that but I am not prepared to have to be seen to be balanced every time I post. Christy is taking exception because we didn't criticise Brush. I shouldn't have to be seen to be balanced on every comment. Anyone who follows this blog know that Steve and I despise political unionism and religious orangeism and hold no truck with Brush and his ilk, but I'm not going to state that every time I criticise a republican.

  16. Steve

    "Even other Unionists can see he's a rabid bigot. Not likely to 'get his way' in these times" The same could be said about Nationalist opinion of McGeough but Brush does not come in for the same sort of sensational coverage. Instead Sammy Brush gets to run his mouth off about McGeough and he escapes the same sort of bad press for having same sort of extreme view -but he's a unionist so having a 'dim view' of all Catholics is more acceptable.

  17. Peter

    I initially said both you and Steve had made fair comment about McGeough -I just drew out the difference in treatment and opinion between 2 men who are cut from the same cloth so to speak -why should we have to listen to Brush on McGeough... the gun-toting postman who hates all Catholics? Brush expressed some very extreme views to me only a couple of years ago -I noted how quickly they were hushed over -no media uproar for him.

    Why are you so touchy about Brush? Why does Brush get to shout down McGeough unchallenged but god forbid if McGeough says anything?

  18. Pater,

    you are free to be as unbalanced as you like but that does not constitute strong grounds for complaint when Christy tries to add balance.

  19. Christy,

    They are cut from the same cloth, is it the perceived media bias that your getting at? I haven't lived there for some time but when I did even the BBC had a Shinner tinge to it. I remember listening to news reports of some disturbance and those present from the PUL side would be 'Loyalist Paramilitaries' but invariably when describing the other side it was just 'Republicans'. I even remember going to a Loyalist rally before the GFA that was supposed to start in front of City Hall. It was delayed because the parade stretched halfway up the Newtownards road with people, we couldn't believe the news report saying later it was 'just a few thousand'. It easily would have been 35000 perhaps more. So the bias is something that cuts both ways.


    Figured that out after I posted, got the wrong end of the stick earlier. I'm against censorship so McGeough should have his say along with Brush, but we should be entitled to ridicule them for it also. I actually had to google Brush because the name wasn't familiar, and had heard of McGeough but for some reason I thought he was in Germany. But its clear neither of them are right in the head though.

    But a question for both you and Christy and anyone else from the Republican side. How do you view the partiality of the media in the wee 6?

  20. Steve,

    pro state - and the Shinners are pro state.

  21. Steve

    I think the media spin according to the political agenda of the NIO at any given time -and if SF suit their purposes then their voice will take precedence over PUL.

    My view is if McGeough is fool enough to make his outrageous public statements then then he can expect fair criticism -I think his extreme views do as much to frighten a nationalist like me away from him but the media should not just reserve doing so for McGeough. Sammy Brush is always given a platform to condemn McGeough but Brush is no sweetheart himself and I suspect has a very dark and sinister history of his own.

  22. Tain Bo Says

    In the beginning, god took a great big shit and ever since, man has been content to stir it.

    One can always cloak oneself with religious conviction the problem with that is ultimately convicting others who do not dawn the same righteous garments.

    Is anyone truly offended when boils on the face of religions’ break and spew out their infected puss?

    Personally, I find the Beano more enlightening but never as funny as religious zealots! The romantic historical novelettes are in dire need of updating. I would state that Gerry needs to define “traitor” or more to the point “REPUBLICAN” as the rosary bead republicans played a pivotal role in the GFA and once again the RC god failed to deliver the promised land.

    Though, it would be nice to actually say something critical on the subject it is just sad that today’s green and orange zealots have to take turns sharing the same shit stirring stick instead of living by that what they use for personal belief. Republicanism is not defined by allegiance to the RC Church nor is Loyalism defined by Protestantism. As usual all that religious bigots manage to do is stir up sectarianism and blacken the image of those who truly believe in their religion.

    I smell a sequel to the Passion of the Christ, the passion of Gerry. The man is entitled to his beliefs and opinions. I am not a subscriber to that defunct line of thought and consider Gerry much the same as the bearded one, very poor representatives of both Irish Republicanism and Roman Catholicism.

    Thankfully the religious zealots grew fewer each year and their foolish utopias of theocratic rule are exposed as failed entities.

    As a republican I have no argument with anyone who sincerely believes in a god and does not use their religious belief as a battering ram or war cry. Political and religious beliefs are two opioids’ that do not mix. I have no problem with Anthony believing in the flying spaghetti monster. Sorry Gerry, the image of pint swilling, rosary bead counting, is too funny not to mention hypocritical. Choice is simple on that one, either obey your gods’ laws or obey your own version as biblical context can be translated to suit almost anything.

  23. AM, we can rule Adams out of the prostate presence in the shinners.