They Came To Bury But Not To Mourn

Via The Transcripts, Martin Galvin speaks to Anthony McIntyre, former IRA prisoner now author, historian and political commentator, via telephone from Ireland about Martin McGuinness’ legacy.

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(begins time stamp ~ 27:08)

Audio: Portion of Martin McGuinness’ speech at the 1986 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis is played. (audio ends)

Martin: Alright. With us on the line from Ireland we have Dr. Anthony McIntyre; he’s a former IRA Volunteer, somebody who is an author of a blog, The Pensive Quill. He’s an author of the book, Good Friday, a great analysis of the Good Friday Agreement. And, Anthony, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.

Anthony: Good Afternoon, Martin. I’m pleased to be on.

Martin: We’re trying to push everybody, this is a very big subject, we’ve got a number of people on, so we’re not giving anybody as much time as we would like to – what do you think, as somebody who, like Martin McGuinness, would have felt at one time that the only way there could be justice would be to end British rule and that the only way to achieve that would be to take up armed struggle – you served time in that, a number of years in that in The North – he served two separate times of imprisonment within The Twenty-Six Counties. What do you think Martin McGuinness’ legacy will be to the Republican struggle?

Anthony: Well I think it will have, in many ways, it will have failed on two fronts: the military and the non-military. I mean Martin McGuinness was a key IRA figure – former Chief of Staff, former Northern Commander, former president of the IRA Army Council, sat on the Army Council for years. And the IRA campaign was aimed at coercing the British out of Ireland regardless of the wishes of the people in The North. The British objective was to ensure that the IRA did not succeed in that campaign and that the IRA would be brought to embrace the Principle of Consent which meant that the British would only leave The North if a majority of people in The North consented to the British leaving. That means that the IRA campaign, in respect of getting the British out of Ireland, was an unmitigated failure. So Martin McGuinness failed there. Secondly, in terms of political institutions, he became the Deputy First Minister and ended up, at the end, being compelled by the force of logic and passion at the grassroots, which even surprised me, to bring to an end the institutions by coming out of his sickbed – in a very admirable manner it has to be said. Because it took some strength even to get from Belfast to Doire and to put on the performance that he did but that’s by-the-by. He brought down the institutions and what he brought to an end there was a period of Sinn Féin failure in government which they now concede and for which they’ve been called ‘roll-over Republicans’ or ‘Martin and his Muppets’ because it’s hard to imagine a more ridiculous looking team ever on the benches of Parliament than the Sinn Féin team at Stormont. And for ten years they took abuse, arrogance, yet never told the grassroots about it, the voter, until such time as they decided to bring it down. And I often wonder, well I don’t often wonder but I’ve taken to wondering recently, if was Martin McGuinness was compelled to sign the closure order on essentially his own project in the manner that Jimmy Drumm was forced to sign the closure order on his ceasefire, which he was party to in 1976 when the new emerging leadership of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness forced Jimmy Drumm, against his wishes, to read out the Bodenstown commemoration speech in 1977, June 1977. And during that speech Jimmy Drumm stated that the ceasefire had been a mistake. I think there’s a possibility the same has happened in Martin McGuinness’ case. So in my view, Martin McGuinness’ leadership has been called into question on two serious fronts.

Martin: Anthony, I should note that when I got involved working with Irish Northern Aid I was asked to train over in the Belfast Press Centre and we never even talked about consent – that was a term you would never use. You would refer to it as ‘the Unionist veto in The North’ because the majority of people – you know as the 1916 Societies and other groups proclaim now, majority of people throughout all of Ireland favoured an end to British rule and you’re not talking about getting their consent to partition you’re talking about a veto within The Six Counties. And it just shows you how that language has changed. What is your reaction to the funeral? There was a Tricolour there, there was a number of noted political figures attended the funeral, how does that funeral play into the legacy, as you’ve described it, of Martin McGuinness?

Anthony: Well I think what happened there is that the, like much else about Martin McGuinness’ life, the IRA has been pushed to the background and the IRA was, in effect, hidden from that funeral. There may have been key IRA figures putting on the Tricolour standing at the coffin as it was leaving his home but in order to allow the dignitaries, as they are called, and the luminaries to come to bury Mr. McGuinness - but not to mourn him - they had to hide the IRA. And therefore there was no chance of Arlene Foster and Bill Clinton and that whole parade of politicians marching behind a coffin with the beret on it and the black gloves, the sort of standard funerary symbols of the IRA dead. Now in my view, we may well have a whispering campaign of some sort, or at least a whispering to the grassroots, that the beret and gloves were inside the coffin – basically still hiding the IRA away – and that the whispering that the IRA went up and put the Tricoulor on the coffin. This is all for people who are prepared to believe anything as long as it’s whispered to them. In terms of political reality, the people who came to bury Martin McGuinness but not mourn him were from the political class. They were those people who were authenticating the rule, the victory, the triumph of consent over Martin’s earlier life where he advocated, and was a strong advocate and a forceful advocate of the politics of coercion, the war to coerce the British out of Ireland. And I think this is what this funeral was about from their point of view and ensuring that that was the dominant political message that went out: Unity only by consent. And the sort of subtext of it was: The IRA campaign failed. The British Principle of Consent won. The British did not ever accept the IRA’s terms for disengagement from Ireland. The IRA accepted the British terms for British disengagement from Ireland. And that, in my view, sums it up.

Martin: Alright. I should note just on the BBC website there was a Martin McGuinness section on his obituary and I hit that up and it was actually – he and I carrying a coffin in 1985 at the funeral of an IRA Volunteer. And you can see people with berets, you can see a masked party of IRA Volunteers – and this was done at a time – I was banned, that’s why I was invited specifically to carry the coffin along side him in Doire under the watchful eyes of British troops – that’s a difference between the type of funeral that that might have been some time ago and the funeral that Martin McGuinness had and his legacy. Anthony, why was it, what was it about Martin McGuinness that made IRA Volunteers trust him so much to the degree that they did, that they made him so influential that they would follow him into this resolution of the conflict – this cessation that you’ve described?

Anthony: Probably his longevity at the leadership level. I mean as far back as most people’s living memory can recall Martin McGuinness was there. He was the alpha and the omega of the IRA in many respects. In 1972 he was already pretty famous by the time he went to London for negotiations with the British. After that he became a key figure in the minds of the Republican support base and a hate figure for the British. So people always identified Martin as ‘the IRA figure’. Someone who would be hard, someone who would be tough, someone who would have the Volunteers’ interests at heart. And in that way I feel that because he had been around so long, because he had directed so many operations, because he was Chief of Staff at the time of the killings of the British paratroopers, the killing of Mountbatten, the killing of Robert Bradford – these are all things that took place on his watch – key IRA killings. And I think that he was viewed very much as the man that could be trusted in a way that people came to feel Gerry Adams couldn’t be trusted because Gerry Adams began to be viewed as a politician and there was always a hostility towards politicians. But it wouldn’t have mattered had Martin went first rather than Gerry in terms of making the call for politics – he would have been mistrusted because bear in mind, Gerry Adams had the same military record that Martin McGuinness has. The two could be separated by a cigarette paper that we used to write out from Long Kesh on – two key military figures but is was the perception of Martin as, what the media would call the ‘hawk’, the guy who would never let us down.

Martin: Okay. And just what did you think: Gerry Adams was the person who gave the oration at Martin McGuinness’ funeral. What’s your reaction to that oration?

Anthony: Well I mean the fact that Gerry Adams gave the oration, in my view, was that he was really saying: We are burying Martin here today but what I want you to remember is me. This is all about me. And again, as is his tendency to impose himself on proceedings, I mean, on this day and at this time Gerry Adams should be letting Michelle O’Neill come to the fore. But he isn’t. He’s trying to overshadow her on everything. And there is some suspicions now being aired by people that Martin McGuinness didn’t bring down the Executive, that he in fact was ousted and was compelled by Adams and the Adams’ lobby to bring down the Executive. And now since the passing-on of Martin McGuinness, or the illness of Martin McGuinness, we’ve seen Adams come more and more to the fore. And I mean Adams does have this effect, even though he’s not personally sectarian, attitudinally, he has this impact of alienating the Unionists in a way that one could say that Martin McGuinness didn’t have. So it certainly leads to an interesting time ahead and lots of things to play for. And I think the insertion of Gerry Adams back into it tends to create even more sectarian tension and inflame sectarian passions. And you cannot simply blame Adams for that – the Unionists have to take an awful lot of blame for this because their attitude has been woeful. And I know that they have decided to start to behave civilly – turning up at the funeral and so on – but the manner in which they treated that crowd of Sinn Féin people in Stormont that you had one SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) MLA saying he was shocked as he watched all the ranks of former IRA men and women being humiliated by the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and not a word out of them. I mean the DUP have done this and their complete arrogance has inflamed the situation in The North so I don’t know, I mean, what way it’ll go but what we can say is that high-profile funeral, the presence of people like Bill Clinton and everybody else at it, makes it very, very hard for people entering these negotiations, who are now in these negotiations, to face the blame for them going wrong. So we can see the whole thing pushed to the deadline – pushed to the point of brinkmanship. But it has to look now, one would argue, that the – I mean a possibility for a deal anyway does increase. And Sinn Féin have a get-out clause because Arlene Foster turned up at the funeral, was clapped and they can say that: Well, now what we should do is – maybe we can go into government with her. She’s not so bad after all. She has come to her senses. The best situation, the best outcome for them is for Sinn Féin not to call for her to resign or stand aside and then for her to voluntarily stand aside for a period of weeks and that gets them all off the hook. And I think something like that is likely to happen.

Martin: And that was exactly the offer that she was given by Martin McGuinness some time ago – just to stand aside for a few weeks – and just like Peter Robinson did. Had she taken that she wouldn’t have had the election, she’d still have a ten seat majority and people wouldn’t be talking about maybe replacing her in future within the DUP. Alright, Anthony, we want to thank you for that and we’ll just play one more clip and then we will be going to Ed Moloney.

Thank you very much.

Martin: Thank you, Anthony.

(ends time stamp ~ 42:36)


  1. Whether or not quisling $inn £eind micro minister was an agent of influence or informant, the fact is he did live a charmed life ,little jail time none in the black north where the action was,no attempts on his life by loyalists that we know of , no charges of directing terrorism at least by the RUC, I think if these facts were laid out in a court of law so to speak ,the jury would return a guilty verdict,,Paisley and his arch bigot of a wife accepted him as a friend ,why?Paisley himself an arch villan went to his grave also with the deaths of many at his behest or quest for power,Mc Guinness was a failure both as a militant and a politician as Anthony pointed out,however he did succeed in deconstructing republicanism and leaving it fragmentised,but then again this would not have been by his own hand ,here to is outworking of Kitsons Low Intensity Operations, so in essence Quisling $inn £eind micro minister Martybroy McGuinness was indeed a rollover republican,and indeed the muppets that followed him will be judged by history as such ..

  2. SF should just say 'we were criminally wrong and we are sorry'. ENDS.

  3. It's odd to think that Adams and crew may have compelled him to bring down the institutions but what if Foster had stepped aside?
    Perhaps there was another reason altogether to have McGuinness removed. A reason that if it went public would have destroyed SF....

  4. no attempts on his life by loyalists that we know of

    Marty its worse than that, Michael Stone stalked him in Derry but the security services informed MMG of this so he changed his routine leading Stone to abort the idea of attacking him there, and instead swtiched his venue to somewhere he could be sure of MMG attendence, then 3 Vols were shot in Gibraltar and so Miltown cemetary became his target.

  5. AM you are right there probably will be some "don't tell anyone I told you but the beret and gloves were in the coffin, ha, ha we put one over on the Brits again" and of course it is nonsense - his funeral was about as establishment as it gets - he was celebrated by "luminaries" because he delivered what the British & Unionists had failed to deliver - he got Articles 2 & 3 removed in the south and a large part of the nationalist community to agree to the Unionist veto - who knows perhaps there was a Victoria Cross in his coffin instead.

    We will likely never know the truth but he was either protected or just the luckiest person in the six counties - don't know why he never bought a lottery tickets - he would surely have won unless of course it wasn't luck.

  6. I respect a lot of the comment on the Quill, I have plenty of time for the commentators and I support it 100% as a valuable resource for alternative and important viewpoints which would otherwise go unheard. However, all this unsubstantiated talk of Mountbatten being a paedophile or Martin McGuinness being an informer with absolutely no evidence turns me off. A bit of hearsay perhaps but not of a sufficient weight to be regarded as evidence. A few conspiracy theories that sound plausible but then, that's the thing with conspiracy theories, they all sound plausible to some extent.

    It takes away from the arguments against these people from whatever quarter. Mountbatten reinforced the caste system when he was in India. He was a military man for the British Empire. With the actions of the Empire and the inhumane treatment meted out to the untouchables in India these two facts, out of many, make him a pariah in my eyes. Unfounded chit-chat about paedophilia takes away from the real arguments. He might have been one but there is nothing to substantiate that belief.

    McGuinness turned his back on armed Republicanism and hob-nobbed with the British establishment. He shared a platform with the PSNI. He called Republicans traitors because they didn't listen to those who voted for the Good Friday Agreement and continued violence. His politics changed in many ways. If I hear arguments against those changes I would most likely listen. All this airy-fairy stuff turns me off. It takes away from legitimate debate.

    I don't expect this view to be welcomed. However, arguments based on substantiated facts are more persuasive. I have heard allegations against practically every Sinn Fein member being an informer. Or British establishment figures being paedophiles. They allegations are all crowd-pleasers. We all love to think the worst of the enemy. We could argue all-day about who is or isn't an informer or a paedophile but without a conviction in court or a confession on a tape or even a bit of weighty evidence we have little to go on. Even then, with confessions on tape or convictions in the courtroom there will still be miscarriages of justice. None more so than on on-line debates.

  7. These are good points, Simon. You're right.

  8. Simon

    Good points. However Derry under McGuinness being saturated with touts to the extent it was estimated 2 out of 3 volunteers were informers under his control hardly tallies with him being such a 'hawk'. It was the least effective area in the conflict from early on. The British media are trying to make a Michael Collins type figure out of him. I do not believe he was a Brendan Hughes type operator for a split second. Derry was so poor under him that people used to take bets after an attack about how many hours it would take for the RUC to find the weapons used. I would also hazzard a guess that the attack at Magee Campus killing a lecturer and two RUC detectives investigating it was not done by the Derry Brigade. Also it was in his area a huge haul of weapons were recovered after the Lybian shipments had successfully landed. Heggarty 'bought it' for that. Which also fits in with my own belief that those influential agents required ready-made scapegoats to hand. There were no shortage around McGuinness. I agree entirely with your view on the slander of Mountbatten. It demeans the debate with the lack of evidence. However, that for me is not the case regarding Martin McGuinness. He did absolutely everything bar confess that he was an agent. I would have had more respect for him had he done so.

  9. Simon,

    your view is always welcome here probably because it is so authentic.

    I think the serious points tend to be lost when those type of allegations are thrown about and are backed up by no evidence. I believe that the concept of speaking truth to power is a valuable one and draws its potency from its willingness to speak truthfully about power. That means describing it as accurately as we can and not resorting to embellishment because it adds the jingle effect or because it is easy to smear the opposition because people are willing to believe just about anything of them.


    I have spoken about this to many people and have found nothing yet that would lead me to believe McGuinness was an agent. So many IRA operations went wrong that a case could be fashioned against anybody associated with them. Every point you raise can as easily support the view that he was an asset rather than an agent.

    While you seek to present your argument logically, we have seen all too often the rant and scream that he was an agent. But it is based on hearsay and whispers.

    We need to look more carefully at the type of things counter insurgency strategists do - clearing the ground so that the insurgency leaders most likely to look at solutions most satisfactory to the counter insurgents, come to the fore. This is very different from running someone as an agent. The British worked to their end goal using both assets and agents but the two are very different things.

    I wrote this This piece more than ten years back, trying to deal with the same sort of thing.

  10. Daithi D I was in Milltown that day as a steward,earlier I had pushed who I now know to be Stone on, at thejunction of Shaws rd and Stewartstown rd Trench house side of the rd ,believing him to be a press cameraman,this was the cortege for Mairead,if Stone was on a suicide mission to kill either Adams or Mc Guinness that day he could have easily done so,I watched Adams a few days later keep well back at the gates of Casement when the corporals were being attacked,but again back to the charmed life of Mc Guinness ,I know of no other prominent "republican "who seemed to be almost untouchable well apart from Gerry Itwasntme but then again he wasn't in the Ra,

  11. Thanks for the kind responses. Anthony said "I think the serious points tend to be lost when those type of allegations are thrown about and are backed up by no evidence." This is the crux of the matter. With McGuinness' recent history critics could go to town with arguments against him from a Republican point of view without resorting to speculation.

    Surely a more important lesson for Republicans would be how an active Republican can change and become part of the establishment. We all know the lessons on informing. Isn't it more frightening that someone who isn't an informer turned their back on armed struggle? Turned their back on socialism and flirted with big business. That's a lesson which if not learned will lead to it happening again in the future. The fact that seismic changes can happen in any life is a life-lesson for everyone.

    As for Mountbatten, allegations of paedophilia can dehumanise and make his death that little bit more appetising. Surely there are other lessons here. That an establishment figure, a royal, an Empire builder can be targeted with two innocent children which means he himself, as a target, outweghed the plight of the innocents.

    I guess targeted attacks often brought premeditated or split-second decisions whether to kill innocent people as well and it is this the outcome of this argument which would carry a valuable lesson. The relative peace is the perfect time for such debate when objectivity is at its strongest and passions at their weakest.

    There is so much known and so much accepted that a rich debate can take place rather than circular arguments about things we don't know and may not ever know.

  12. Anthony a chara lack of evidence does not prove lack of guilt,it proves those who are involved are forensically aware so to speak , in Mc Guinness case the evidence is in part his uninterrupted leadership of the movement in Northern Command,never being interned or indeed remanded on any charge north of the border , this itself should have raised eyebrows , that no charges were ever proffered makes it look that indeed he was a protected species , yes it doesn't prove that he was an agent of influence or active agent provo-cateur,but like a lot of other people who looked at that mans history my conclusion is that yes he in all probability was,if Scap was a top agent in place for that length of time , it follows that as Kitson suggested that this movement was destroyed from the top down .it was not the ordinary volunteer who lost the war ...

  13. Mackers

    That was an interesting read. I don't mean to sound offensive (us being twins and all) but you were at times performing sensational acrobatics as barrister for the defence. Where do you draw the line between an agent working towards a British agenda and one being directed by the British themselves. Is it the difference between a class-based education and a correspondence course in the same subject? Do you believe he 'knew not what he did'?

    I absolutely believe the entire leadership and those directly below that have a lot to answer for. They should fuck off and fade away. Standing on the steps of Stormont calling people traitors to Ireland was THE defining moment for me. It even roused me from my cloud of confusion and disgust to contact people I had not been in touch with for a decade or more to simply ask WTF??? The sight of that performance and after so many bodies had been left in ditches was stunning in the magnitude of the horror of it. What were Stars, Dignam and Burns so savagely sent to the here-after for after writing letters to their families when Martin all along was heading for Regal settings?

    McGuinness was no Hawk, he was an electric Hare and the dogs followed him DOWN THE TRACK like the fucktards they all are. Anyone connected to that shower who would attempt to tarnish anyone's character after everything they have sat back and permitted are deserving of absolutely nothing but contempt. It brings into serious question their own roll all along and simply obliterates and erases any credibility or respect ever held for them. I don't share your opinion, I believe he was on board with a British agenda and he delivered it. He is no hero. It matters not, it is merely my observation and interpretation of events and regardless, Derry and everywhere else is better off for an ending of the conflict. Life is good. Just don't present me with a parrot and tell me it's a Golden Eagle.

    In more important news today, Celtic 2-0 up and marching on-wards to TEN IN A ROW...

  14. AM+marty, oberving the current civil war in the US security apparatus made me think more on competing British security interests Ireland, for example why Scap gave that briefing to the World In Action team about MMG.I often assumed a homogeneity of purpose in the security services, who competed with eachother but wouldnt explicitly work against eachother. Its also assumed that the wind down since 1982 was the rate at which Adams and MMG could bring the Movement along with them to the British postion, but competing security interests on the British side had to be settled too. We could see from the Scap interview at least one section of the apparatus didnt want MMG to have a peacetime role.

  15. Anthony,"clearing the ground so that the insurgency leaders most likely to look at solutions most satisfactory to the counter insurgents" yes indeed a chara and as Kitson would have it remove any obstacle in the way of putting your pawn in the Kings position, I believe this is the case with both Adams and McGuinness the "mutt and Jeff"of the movement,Adams the politico with the backing of Belfast and McGuinness the army man from Derry who would keep the shinners in place,and all around them the movement was crumbling and leading activists removed by either bullet or Chinese whispers, that all this could happen and this pair not being aware of what was going on beggars belief , I,m also of the opinion that the trip to S,Africa was the turning point for the rest of the crew , ie, they may have been told in no uncertain terms the stark reality of refusing to accept the upcoming deal either death or long time imprisonment or the kudos of bringing about "peace" seats in govt ,wealth freedom of movement etc this to me was the outplaying of the end game started and initiated by Kitson it,wasnt the republican movement who played the long war it was the brits they choreographed it all the way .what hastened it and left it messy was imo the chinook helicopter crash at the Mull of Kintyre killing key players, rather than rebuild that knowledge those in power decided that it was time to close down the organisations on both sides that the brits had so much control of , what we witness today is the untidy outworking of that crash ,its my theory a chara

  16. Larry,

    in a world where there is no right not to have our opinion offended I will not get into angry mode as a result of the views of a poison dwarf!!

    Seriously and very much to the contrary, there were no acrobats performed. The position has been maintained consistently as you can se from the old Blanket article. If new material emerges it will change but not until then. As I said in another comment, speaking truth to power only works when we speak truth about power.

    An asset can work towards a British agenda but that does not make them agents. The SDLP were assets to the British during the war but they were hardly agents. An asset and an agent of influence may push the exact same views but for different reasons. The asset because he believes them to be right or sees some advantage in them, even a very narrow and selfish advantage. An agent pushes them because he is directed to push them by his handlers and knowingly cooperates with those handlers against his own side. An agent crosses over to the other side whereas the asset does not. That does not stop the asset consciously working against the stated intention of his own side.

    The "knew not what he did" aspect is something that discolours the picture.

    I absolutely believe the entire leadership and those directly below that have a lot to answer for.

    True, but not for being agents. That needs to be demonstrated rather than assumed.

    Starrs et al probably deserve posthumous pardons as do all whose case was handled by the security dept.

    All your hostility towards McGuinness and all the shortcomings you point out do not add up to him being an agent. I think agent is a term we should use with maximum exactitude and not one to be thrown around liberally.

    None of that invalidates what you imply - that an asset in some circumstances might be no different from an agent and in fact might even be worse. If we take what Morrison and Adams did to the hunger strikers, there is no pardoning that, neither now nor posthumously.

  17. Marty,

    lack of evidence does not mean lack of guilt. But we make decisions to sanction on the availability of evidence, not the lack of it. Everything you point out is consistent with him being an asset. It could also be consistent with him being an agent but as there is no evidence for the latter and there are alternative explanations that can be proffered for his behaviour. They do not paint him in a good light but they are far removed from categorising him an agent.

  18. Mackers

    'A poisoned dwarf' ?? A tad harsh old chap ... I had absolutely no idea you were acquainted with my mother!

    The entire issue is very murky, clouded and confusing. I hold no hatred or bitterness towards McGuinness. I simply find it confusing and impossible to understand his speeches, his roll and his actions and the results of it all. The double standards of behaviour and treatment meted out is impossible to accept also. But hatred or hostility is not an issue. My life is in a great place today and I comment here as a hobby, not out of any political drive as such. Had SF and its leadership stated the war was not winnable as they did in 1987 and then proceeded to a cessation, no complaints could be made as to where things are at today. It is not where we are, it is the method of getting there that is disgusting. Anyhow that is another matter entirely. Riding two horses at once is a hobby they were immediately very good at, maybe because they have been doing it for decades. As I said previously, it matters not at this stage, just observations and contemplation.
    I agree with you about the nutting squad victims, they should be pardoned and their families compensated out of SF coffers. The 25 million from Columbia would be a good starting point then the Northern Bank proceeds too.

  19. Anthony agreed and until someone delivers a smoking gun then this was he /was,nt he will go on for years to come,but even accepting him as an asset is damming in itself given all his speeches at graveyards,Ard Fheis etc his contradictory stance to former comrades continuing on where he left of and his portrayal of them as traitors as Larry states must have sickened quite a few people,I think his actions and his words as a quisling micro minister ,and his acceptance by Paisley and his arch bigot of a wife point to something that they have been told about Mcguinness,s past rather than a Damascus conversion of a former terrorist, I don't think a Damascus conversion would have appeased that bigot or his wife,I know your a man that can see those 50 shades of grey and as a simple black and white guy I buy what I,ve seen and heard of that man ,my old and faithful inner doppelganger says he was waster that's good enough for me,


    Then MMG should be held to the same level of proof he held others he killed to.

    And I get and appreciate the difference between agent and asset.

    One is witting and the other is not, intentional versus negligent.

    But if ever there were nails to hammer shut this accusation conclusively…

    Then it comes from the bats used to beat the Donnelly family.

    After all, me thinks MMG protested too much to Martina Donnelly when she confronted him after what his Provo goons did to her and her family (i.e. he told her it was because her husband Micky accused him of being a traitor). He even had her children beaten for this! Why the overkill?

    And so just as judges and juries in criminal courts make life or death credibility determinations based on the facts known, we too can make the same kinds of determinations all the while noting that indirect evidence is as good as direct evidence.

    So who are you going to believe: self-serving politicians like Kim Jong Gerry and Kim Il Martin who have a long verifiable public record of lying and inconsistent positions that benefit the enemy versus people who aren’t politicians, don’t have a history of lying or changing their positions?

    Bon appetite:

    Document: Is Martin McGuinness a British Agent?
    by Brian Nugent

    The Death of a Traitor
    by Deaglán Ó Donghaile

  21. Owen,

    the attack on the Donnelly home is hardly what nails it. Too much inferred from too little. The attack demonstrates a totalitarian hostility to dissent and alternative ideas. It is not proof of being an agent. Few of us in life go through it requiring a beyond reasonable doubt basis for our beliefs. Where we manage to avoid our own prejudice we are guided by the balance of probability criterion. The latter standard can very much deduce that he was an asset but there is not enough in it to assert that he was an agent.

  22. Anthony I,m with Owen here and I guess I,m not alone , put the accusation to a Diplock court.or a closed court, one that Martybroy was willing to participate in and lets guess the verdict , evidence who the fuck needs evidence this is norn iorn where the judiciary bangs up the innocent the chucks just banged them..

  23. Marty,

    yet so many Diplock verdicts were unsafe, even wrong.

    Thinking he is an agent, asserting he is an agent, reiterating that assertion endlessly adds nothing to the veracity of the accusation.

  24. Anthony a chara ,Every verdict in the Diplock courts were imo unsafe and unjust ,I was a tad facetious with that comment,I don't think quisling Martybroy is an agent ,he is like Monty Python,s parrot sketch "no more" and in republican parlance "yer only as good as yer last job",he will be a big loss to his quisling cronies but an even bigger one to his brit masters..

  25. AM said: "Owen, the attack on the Donnelly home is hardly what nails it. Too much inferred from too little. The attack demonstrates a totalitarian hostility to dissent and alternative ideas. It is not proof of being an agent. Few of us in life go through it requiring a beyond reasonable doubt basis for our beliefs. Where we manage to avoid our own prejudice we are guided by the balance of probability criterion. The latter standard can very much deduce that he was an asset but there is not enough in it to assert that he was an agent".—Anthony

    MMG’s goon attack on the Donnelly family...

    Is but one set of nails in this agency coffin, so to speak.

    Sure that attack was totalitarian and hostile to dissent and alternative ideas.

    All totalitarian attacks are!

    And for the same reasons: to cover up hypocrisy & treachery.

    To maintain control by squelching dissent and alternative ideas...

    Such as “Holy shit! They’re lying!”

    If you start from the vantage point that no mendacious Machiavellian is unwitting….

    And consider MMG was always told by so called dissidents he was stooping down low.

    That he was pursuing an internal settlement and ferociously doing so.

    And that he had heard this ongoing critique, as we all did, from at least 1986.

    All the while PIRA per orders killed, maimed, slandered & intimidated...

    Genuine Irish patriots!

    All of which in keeping with standard imperial divide & rule tactics.

    That all then, along with Martin Ingram & other insiders,

    Is probable cause to indict!

    Because: 1) Intentional agency and treachery occurred within PIRA high command;

    And 2) MMG, among others, is more than likely connected to this agency & treachery,

    Given his intentional actions and in-actions and the fact that he was in charge.

    After all, you don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to indict.

    So let a jury of his peers decide if it all amounts to:

    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    You say it’s too much inferred from too little. We disagree.

    I myself believe Martin Ingram as well as some other insiders.

    And if a jury did too then that along with all the rest...

    Can be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and like any credibility determination...

    It is likely beyond the reach of an appeal.

    Perhaps then what we need is a trial in absentia because after all he is gone.

    It could be much like the one people in the USA held for Henry Kissinger.

    We could even call it: The Trial of Martin McGuinness.

    You can have the Defense table if they’ll have you (but no winking at the jury!).

    And I nominate Martin Galvin for the Prosecution.

    Think of all the tickets we could sell!!!

  26. Owen,

    I doubt Martin Galvin would want to prosecute on such a flawed basis.

    If you followed the Martin Ingram case against him (which I responded to myself) the person most damaged was Ingram himself. His credibility began to be strained there. The case was hopelessly weak.

  27. Anthony,

    Then I would gladly offer my services.

    Your concerns go to weight, not admissibility.

    And any judge's instructions would direct the jury to consider...

    The totality of the circumstances.

  28. Owen,

    but admissibility does not interest me. Weight does. And the weight thus far has been on the light side.

    The totality of the circumstances would allow for him being an asset.

    As for the jury of peers - given that his peers allowed him to do what he did it is highly unlikely they will find against him regardless of the evidence.

  29. Owen. I haven't seen anything there that would be either admissible or have any weight.

    Your "Walks Like a Duck" school of law makes the British system during the Troubles look quite just and fair.

  30. Mackers

    If someone is a long term asset to the enemy they are professed to be fighting and sending people out to kill and die against is that not treasonous? Surely however you cut it it is not the action of a national hero. The man is guilty it is simply a matter of how you want to word the charge.

  31. Larry,

    being a long term asset to the enemy is different from being a long term agent for the enemy.

    An asset who knows they are an asset and who works to deceive their own side and whose deceit extends far enough to lead to the futile deaths of their own activists, minimises and blurs the gap between asset and agent. Assets can be treasonous beings without being agents. We need to define the categories as exactly as we can.

  32. Mackers

    OK then, so regardless of terminology or a specific label, it seems pretty clear McGuinness was guilty of working against his own side. Voluntarily too at best which is all the worse. Sad legacy.

  33. Then Anthony a chara that brings us right back to if it walks like a duck etc, if Adams and MMcG had addressed the issue with openness and honesty instead of sending out the minions to spout the mantra "the war isn't going anywhere" followed by drip feed bullshit "not an ounce not a bullet",etc, ,lies ,lies and more dammed lies until the movement was reversed up a cul de sac it couldn't get out of ,we all might not be where we are today ,then they murdered vol Joe O Connor in a bit of "internal housekeeping" and still he had the gall to call militant republicans "traitors to Ireland"when the Duckster and cronies placed the tri colour on that coffin it was I think obvious to most a clear and unambigious statement that they really haven't gone away ye know,agent or asset I don't give two flying fucks what label he goes under,he ended his political career in failure that is without doubt,brit soldiers have testified that he was a protected species as a volunteer that says it all really ,,one protected and nurtured asset to me .

  34. Larry,

    I have been trying to make that case for years. He was hardly alone in doing it.

  35. Anthony,

    But admissibility precedes weight.

    You don’t get to the latter without the former.

    And the weight of evidence isn’t a factor for indictment.

    We can disagree about the weight of this evidence, many jurors do.

    But since the totality of the circumstances would allow for him being an asset,

    Then what we have is a distinction without a difference.

    Assets tend to be unwitting and manipulated.

    Even unscrupulous ones: in it just for the money.

    Because they don’t often times know who they’re really working for.

    Whereas if they know they’re being manipulated and used then they’re agents.

    Either way it’s treason (for what that term is worth in Ireland).

    Because I put Adams & MMG in with the usual suspects of FG, FF, Labour, etc.

    Sure there may be differences of degree, but not kind.

    All are vassal state supporters for imperial wealth and power.

    And they cannot not know that.

  36. I have't seen anything there that would be either admissible or have any weight.

    Simon, then you are not looking.

    Why wouldn’t the statements of the Donnelly family be admissible?

    Why wouldn’t the statements of various security insiders and others be admissible?

    Why wouldn’t MMG’s own statements and actions be admitted against him?

    Your "Walks Like a Duck" school of law makes the British system during the Troubles look quite just and fair.

    Nice try, but my “school of law” allows for jury trials and requires evidence.

  37. AM: “McGuinness knew exactly where he was steering republicanism. He deceived the rank and file every bit as much as Adams. He seemed to love the trappings of office. Yet, none of this can be read as him being an agent. The lot of it fits easily into the asset category.” 8:50 AM, April 03, 2017

    Since he knew exactly where he was steering republicanism…

    And deceived the rank and file every bit as much as Adams…

    And they both knew that’s exactly what the Brits wanted…

    Tell me when you have had enough?

    After all, criminals rarely take the stand and admit their crimes.

    But that doesn’t stop a prosecution proceeding with other evidence.

  38. Marty/AM,

    Before the ceasefire and the GFA was there talk of halting the campaign coming internally from the top down among the Volunteers? Or were a lot of the 'rank and file' volunteers blindsided by this turn of events? Or how was the cessation dressed up internally? Please forgive my ignorance, but when we saw the huge convoy of cars with tricolours flying we assumed we were 'sold out'. It's a hell of an eye-opener to read the comments on the TPQ this passed while I can tell you!

  39. Marty

    I would go further and state that all those attending his funeral and a large portion of those voting SF now are condoning McGuinness Donaldson etc and their agenda. The IRA was never anything but an idealist minority, an armed pressure group. The mass support for SF is effectively anti IRA pro agent/asset agenda. The 'Peace-Process' the designer attire it hides beneath.

  40. Steve R I clearly recall the late Mickey Ferguson (whom I had long suspected as an agent,def an absentee landlord)calling to our home in 94 just after the signing of the GFA or as Anthony called it in his brill book Good Friday the death of Irish Republicanism, to discuss the current state of play so to speak ,he started to spout waffle( which we had been already told was doing the rounds) about the war not going anywhere it was at that stage we interrupted him with "Sunningdale for slow learners" he turned on his heels left our home and never returned, a lock of months later while we were working in the garden one lovely evening (rare) a local cease fire hero called and was winking and nodding about not a bullet or an ounce being handed over ,he had been told this from a very, very high source,wink ,wink ,I asked him was he a betting man ,a bottom up movement my fucking arse.
    Larry from what I can gather ,not being the most welcome person in quisling circles or pens(bahh bahh type) depending how you see them,but from a few who I do converse with they seem to be more interested in the price of a pint in the PD than whats happening to Tony Taylor or austerity ,that,l be the way until reality catches up and bites them in the certainly seems to me that peace at any price has taken seed, but in time and distance from armed conflict,aided by continuous corruption ,scandals and ego,s in Stormont , we are seeing that with the emergence of hard working young activists like PBP,S Gerry Carroll who will give a whole dynamic to working class politics.. hopefully so

  41. Steve R

    The loyalists on the mixed-wings in the H-Blocks were aware of talks about a cessation as early as 1988. One of the UDR 4 Noel Bell (who tragically lost a baby in a car accident at Lough Erne) was talking bout hawks and doves. Martin McGuinness was the hawk (a wee canary it turns out) and Gerry was the wee dove. Nationalists/RCs thought they were doing too much whacky-backy in the big cell and delusional dreaming of getting out. They were better informed than republicans were from start to finish. In 1994 people who were worried about a ceasefire were reassured 'there's talk of an oul ceasefire'. It was brushed off contemptuously as tactical, not serious. Then the cavalcade then the not an ounce not a bullet then it was 1998.... SF people 'still believe it' is all a tactic. The rest of us just 'still can't believe it' period. What a coup!

    They took the Armalite and ballot box strategy of garnering electoral support for the war and instead used electoral support to destroy the IRA from the top with the foot-soldiers clueless.

  42. Steve R
    Do yourself a favour and get Maloney's A Secret History of the IRA. It takes you through the machinations of the peace process from the republican perspective. It is unputdownable. I read it after reading Godson's bio of Trimble "Himself Alone" and you can see very clearly from these 2 books how tightly choreographed the whole peace process was from start to finish. How the British, with help from Dublin and Washington, led unionism and republicanism to accept the GFA by moving in baby steps towards the goal. The big questions that are not answered are 1) when the choreography all started 2) how complicit the Bearded Satan and MMG were in the whole choreographed process, hence the debates on AM's blog. Could they possibly have undertaken such a massive job if they weren't agents? Or were they just increasingly compliant assets?

  43. Owen, well for a start even if we assumed Martin McGuinness was still alive and a trial was possible any evidence would have to show or demonstrate something. Your examples do not.

    All your individual incidents and examples are used collectively by you to prove McGuinness is a traitor. You assume the veracity of these examples when none of the examples individually have been proven.

    Let's assume he did say he ordered a beating because he was called a traitor. That doesn't prove he ordered a beating. If he did order a beating it still doesn't mean he is an informer. The statement by the Domnelly family which you say includes a confession of guilt by McGuinness in relation to the beating may be admissible in a separate trial relating to the beating but is so far removed from the charge of being an informer it wouldn't be admissible. Are you, like the British, relying on confession only evidence? If you are it would relate to the beating and not to the charge of being an informer. There is nothing to corroborate it in any event.

    The evidence of the security insider is second hand. It is hearsay. Even the typed transcript isnt admissible. If his actual handler came up and swore he was his handler then maybe that would be admissible. It wouldn't prove anything though.

    As to McGuinness' own statements he has never admitted to being an informer. Even if he did it would not be evidence of guilt. Or are you back, like the British, to using uncorroborated confession evidence as proof of guilt? As I say the Ingram evidence wouldn't be admissible. Evidence should show or "evidence" something. If somehow McGuinness comes back from the grave and confesses and Ingram's unnamed contact cones out of the shadows and corroborates it a barrister could make easy pickings of the prosecution. Unless of course you have other definitive evidence, real or fantastic up your sleeve?

  44. Larry, dont discard your electric hare comment to soon, it was a very funny addition to the hawk/dove classifications.

  45. Simon we have discussed this many times over these last few years, you are as unwilling or unable to accept the fact that quisling $inn £eind have betrayed every single principle that this movement was founded upon yet you are willing to defend what increasingly looks like the undefendable, I yelled out reading books about united Irishmen meeting at the blacksmiths and the guy who always slid of then to reappear as an informant ,I like so many others said "how could they have been so stupid not to see that this an was an agent " do you not think the same will be said of some of us ,assets ,agents of influence .agent provo -cateurs call them what you will,they willingly adopted the role of gamekeeper from poacher and betrayed those who they once called mentor, chara, its history repeating itself and one thing this country is really good at is repetition ,, come on Simon step out of the bubble or pen just to have a look at the real world ..

  46. Peter

    During your time in the UDR did you review all our files? lol

  47. Marty, I think there is little to be made of the charge of informer as the word is traditionally known.

    There may be merit with the charge of asset but that depends on the definition and the scope thereof.

    If you take the word collaborator he may, amongst others, be termed this under the ideology of the Provisionals historically speaking. However, he took too many of his own people with him to be definitively be called a collaborator by them today. The world would be falling down with collaborators.

    I understand today's Republicans would term him a collaborator. I also understand there is much anecdotal evidence to show that the majority of Republicans remain of that viewpoint.

    However, without research and a tally we may never know the actual breakdown of those he brought with him and those who remained apart. The numbers are so vast that little is known about the actual breakdown. Little may ever be known.

    Therefore, I reject the charge of informer as it is traditionally known and would more readily accept collaborator or asset. The latter would of course depend on the actual definition.

    However, none of the above bothers me. I didn't go through prison or join any fight. That is not why it doesn't bother me but I understand it bothers some who did as they may feel betrayed.

    Republicans shied away from targeting the SDLP in the past who were at times every bit as collaborational as Sinn Fein today. Maybe if Republicans today had a real enemy to focus on they would turn a blind eye to Sinn Fein.

    All this talk of spies and informers is conducive to dissension in the community which is potentially damaging and irreparable if violence took hold. Look at the Officials. They were pariahs for decades after feuds. Wounds don't easily heal.

    Make the best of the situation. People are entitled to change and bring people with them. Let the baby have its bottle.

    Work on your own merits. Any internecine battles would be self-defeating and self-destructive. I would more readily trust a collaborator than someone who tries to spark a feud.

    Maybe talk of a feud is an exaggeration but self-destuctiveness can happen before any warning and I find it more than coincidental that those who cry "informer" without any factual basis are likely to be those to talk about punishment.

    There is no basis for the charge of informer and no basis for punishment. I am suspicious of people who argue either point and I wonder what is their agenda. Why? Because there is no evidence and the only people who would love a bit of in-fighting more would be Loyalists or of course the Brits.

  48. Marty/Peter,



    Where did you hear that?

  49. Daithi D

    Worry not, I a have a good notion of the carry on at this stage. RC church child abusers, Provos mind abusers. lol

  50. Owen, well for a start even if we assumed Martin McGuinness was still alive and a trial was possible any evidence would have to show or demonstrate something. Your examples do not. All your individual incidents and examples are used collectively by you to prove McGuinness is a traitor. You assume the veracity of these examples when none of the examples individually have been proven.

    How do you define proven?

    Let's assume he did say he ordered a beating because he was called a traitor. That doesn't prove he ordered a beating.

    Priceless! Hundreds of years of Anglo-American jurisprudence down the drain.

    “The common law corpus delicti rule prohibits the admission of an extrajudicial confession into evidence in a criminal case unless the prosecution introduces some evidence independent of the confession that the crime described in the confession actually occurred.”

    Works like this: Prosecutor puts on Donnelly family members who say PIRA goons beat them with nail studded baseball bats in their home, and also puts on their medical records showing the injuries forensically match their testimony [that’s the body of the crime: i.e. multiple counts of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault]; then the Prosecutor puts on Mrs. Donnelly to say MMG told her that same day that he ordered these beatings because he was called a traitor [see how this extra judicial confession gets admitted following the earlier proof of the assaults?]. Now any Defense Lawyer can argue that Mrs. Donnelly is unbelievable and that it’s quite possible the Donnelly family’s injuries could have been self-inflicted. But if a jury finds her believable and the Defense Lawyer delusional, then that’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt for the convictions.

  51. If he did order a beating it still doesn't mean he is an informer. The statement by the Domnelly family which you say includes a confession of guilt by McGuinness in relation to the beating may be admissible in a separate trial relating to the beating but is so far removed from the charge of being an informer it wouldn't be admissible.

    His extra judicial confession and the evidence of the beatings would be admissible in both trials, i.e. the trial for the assaults and the trial for treason because the former is part of a circumstantial pattern of conduct from which a jury can infer guilt of the latter:

    "Corpus delicti applies to all crimes, but it is considered to be an especially important concept within any murder investigation. There should be a body or at least a body of evidence for police to work with before they charge someone with a crime. When someone goes missing and these two things don't exist, police often have a difficult time charging a crime; if there isn't a body or at least evidence present to prove there was a death, then a person is most likely considered to be a missing person or a runaway rather than a homicide victim. However, it should be noted that the prosecution within such an investigation will aim to charge for a conviction of guilt in a homicide case even if the body is not located, just as long as there is substantial circumstantial evidence present that ultimately leads beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, if you were a suspect within a murder case, it would be really difficult for [a D.A.] to charge you with murder when they are unable to locate a body or sufficient evidence proving that you committed such an act. However, if your cell phone contained incriminating information that was associated you being the responsible party or co-conspirator in a crime like murder, then all cards are off the table and you can most certainly be prosecuted. Remember, there does not have to be a body present if enough supporting or circumstantial evidence is present. But what exactly is circumstantial evidence? This is when there is enough association or link between several factors and these factors infer that something took place. Such associations may be perceived as truth, evidence, and factual in nature, without the admission of any additional evidence."

  52. Are you, like the British, relying on confession only evidence?

    None are so blind as those who will not see.

    If you are it would relate to the beating and not to the charge of being an informer. There is nothing to corroborate it in any event.

    Not even when he openly swore in an Irish Court in the 1970’s that he was PIRA? Or when every dog on the street knew he was PIRA Chief of Staff, yet he always traveled freely throughout NI and didn’t do any time in any British Prison? That he killed and harmed people for wanting an internal settlement and then he killed and harmed people for not wanting an internal settlement? This is called running with the foxes and chasing with the hounds or to quote Gerry Adams on OIRA’s Frank Ross: “Poacher turned gamekeeper.” Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    The evidence of the security insider is second hand. It is hearsay. Even the typed transcript isn’t admissible. If his actual handler came up and swore he was his handler then maybe that would be admissible. It wouldn't prove anything though.

    If jurors believed this testimony then it would be enough for a conviction. Moreover, there are a number of instances when hearsay can be admissible such as with Records of regularly conducted activity.

    As to McGuinness' own statements he has never admitted to being an informer. Even if he did it would not be evidence of guilt.

    And if Jesus rose from the dead a 2nd time and says it’s so you’d say no it’s not.

    Or are you back, like the British, to using uncorroborated confession evidence as proof of guilt?

    Errr, if MMG said he was an informer then there’s plenty to corroborate that!

  53. As I say the Ingram evidence wouldn't be admissible.

    Only if MI-6 or MI-5 told a British Judge it wasn’t. Otherwise, read it & weep:

    “Ingram, a former NCO in the army's highly controversial Force Research Unit, revealed the existence of 'Stakeknife', the British agent who was running the IRA's internal security unit. Freddie Scappaticci initially denied he was 'Stakeknife', a denial backed up by senior Sinn Fein figures. Eighteen months later, however, republicans accepted the man who was charged with catching informers in the IRA's ranks was himself an informer.”

    Evidence should show or "evidence" something.

    I agree and the following is evidence of something, i.e. treason:

    In the brief transcript, an IRA commander tells the MI6 handler about a forthcoming attack at two border checkpoints, one on the Derry/Donegal frontier, the other in South Armagh, on 24 October 1990. Five soldiers and a civilian were killed in the Derry attack. In the same document the IRA commander discussed the head of the Provos' 'Northern Command', the man who intended to launch a series of so-called 'human bomb' attacks on British Army installations across Northern Ireland. According to the document the MI6 officer encourages his informer 'to push this along as quickly as possible' - in other words, allow the attack to go ahead.

    If somehow McGuinness comes back from the grave and confesses and Ingram's unnamed contact cones out of the shadows and corroborates it a barrister could make easy pickings of the prosecution.

    Are you Dave Chappelle?

    Chappelle OJ Jury Duty

  54. Owen, much as I'd love to argue that the totality of your "evidence" wouldn't be enough for a prima facie case against McGuinness I don't think I will for three reasons.

    The first is that this is a circular argument that won't go anywhere.

    The second is that you clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

    The third is that it appears that you have decided McGuinness is guilty before your so-called fair trial has even started. I have stated there is no evidence that he is an informer. It doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't one. Just that there is nothing to demonstrate that. You don't seem to be open to the idea of the possibility of him not being an informer and pre-trial I think that says something.

    The last two points necessarily mean a never ending circular argument. You are too entrenched in your position. I am open to argument but not a circular one. I want a debate to have a destination not a time wasting waffle to nowhere.

  55. Owen,

    if the case you made seemed weak to me at the start it seems more so now. The legalese employed in the discussion seems more like a mask to cover the gaps. His conciseness pitched against the prolix seems the more convincing.

    In my view your earlier observation that the attack on the Donnellys nailed McGuinness as an agent carried no weight. It proved nothing. Now we are asked for a jury to infer from this that and the other. That is far removed form having nailed it. I think it also gave the game away. The determination, even desperation, to have him nailed as an agent, has given rise to a lot of heat but little in the way of light

    Even in the wholly academic realm of any trial by peers, where people might consider admissibility then weight, an opinion from the Donnelly family that McGuinness ordered the attack (even while most likely correct) would not even make the admissibility criterion.

    But you announced him guilty (weight) and then searched around for as much as you might get over the admissibility line.

    While it might be psychologically satisfying for many of his detractors to pronounce him an informer (in some cases as a means to dull the effects of their own reluctance to make any attempt to stop his most non-republican project when there was a still some chance), it ultimately nails nothing.

    I don't believe Simon is insisting he is not an informer. Few who think rationally about these matters would go that far. What he is saying, much like myself, evidence precedes a finding of guilt. You found him guilty first.

  56. Steve R

    I heard it personally I was on the same wing in the same block. I thought they were just desperate to get a release date, clutching at straws. They were in fact very well informed.

  57. Simon,

    I think asset is a much less value loaded term than collaborator.

    The problem with any of these terms is that those who employ them, no matter how genuinely, end up sounding like those Tridentine Mass advocates who accuse those who say the mass in the vernacular of being traitors. Few pay any attention. And rather than make the accusation ring authentic it causes it to sound strident.

  58. Owen

    If reasonable convictions were to come about because everything the British press have to say is true then alien's from outer space spotted in greater London in the 60's and 70's would still be in one cell along with the Birmingham 6, Guildford 4 and every other case the British press has ever whipped up euphoria about. Read it and weep is right -but not in the way that you mean it.

    Maybe when you read newspaper articles you not swallow it as if it were gospel truth -and even gospel truth can fall foul of facts and reality.

  59. AM, I realise collaborator is a more loaded term but surely it was used at least informally by Republicans with people during the conflict who persuaded people to give information to the police etc. It wouldn't necessarily have meant the person was targeted even with vandalism of property never mind violence.

    My point is that someone can only collaborate with the enemy and if the PSNI are no longer the enemy in the eyes of people who McGuinness brought with him then was he a collaborator? If he was then only in the eyes of some uncertain number of people and most if not all those he brought with him would be tarred with the same brush. (no pun intended).

    My argument is charges like that are loaded as you say but I go further than that by saying the terms are a nonsense because they would describe so many people as to be rendered meaningless. The terms have little practical use.

    I find asset an interesting concept but it would require an agreed definition and proof. Otherwise, it is just a critical analysis which although welcome is based on opinion. Michael Collins would still be seen as an asset to the British in his time but only to some. The opinion would split Ireland in two.

    So one man's asset is another man's freedom fighter. (pun intended).

    Christy, kudos if you have read down this far but your point about trial by media is an important one. How many people have had their trials warped against them, safeguards and all, due to the media? Look at The Sun and Hillsborough Disaster. There are almost endless examples of injustice.