https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/opinion/legacy-scandal-london-and-dublin-must-not-let-ira-snatch-victory-from-jaws-of-defeat-says-ruth-dudley-edwards-1-8654118 “Legacy Scandal: ‘London and Dublin must not let IRA snatch victory from jaws of defeat,’ says Ruth Dudley Edwards In the latest essay in our series, RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS writes that the NIO has …
Yesterday evening in conjunction with REACH our group welcomed Ulster Scot historian and writer Dr. David Hume.
A former member of a Ministerial Advisory Group on Ulster Scots, he is a former journalist and senior administrator with a large cultural organisation. David was awarded a PhD in 1994 from the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. David told the intriguing story of the Ulster Scots from ancient times, through migrations, battle and siege, the Plantation of Ulster, the 18th century, the emigration of thousands to America, and the radicalism which underpins the Ulster Scots as a community. He also looks at the present position of the cultural community which defines itself as Ulster Scots and where it is going in the future.
A very enjoyable discussion and insight into Ulster Scots.
“Legacy Scandal: ‘London and Dublin must not let IRA snatch victory from jaws of defeat,’ says Ruth Dudley Edwards
In the latest essay in our series, RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS writes that the NIO has come up with is a Sinn Fein wish list on legacy, but it is not too late to fight back (See below for link to rest of series):
In four decades of following events in Northern Ireland closely, I’ve seen much that appalled me, but the legacy scandal is particularly horrifying.
If the British and Irish governments aren’t shamed into repudiating this squalid monument to appeasement, so ably analysed in this sequence of essays, they will, quite simply, be letting terrorists snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with shocking effects on the future of the whole island.
The IRA leadership isn’t stupid. It knows very well that it was defeated by the security forces and is relentless in its mission to rewrite history so as to persuade the young as well as future generations that it won.
It does this by the perversion of truth, the contamination of evidence and the cynical use of the institutions of a liberal state against its most loyal servants.
I come from an Irish nationalist, Catholic (though not sectarian) background and was born, brought up and educated in Dublin, but in my late 20s I became a British civil servant.
After jumping ship to become a freelance writer I attended innumerable Anglo Irish conferences, and I came to know officials and politicians from both governments — particularly those from the Northern Ireland and Foreign Offices and the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs.
As they worked together before and after the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, I realised that foreign office diplomats were so anxious to see the point of view of the Irish that they were forgetting their duty to stand up for unionism — let alone the security forces who had saved the province from civil war.
It seemed to become widely accepted that the British government must be even-handed but that it was fine for the Irish to be part of a pan-nationalist front with nationalists of all stripes including those of Irish-America.
That attitude became ingrained and goes largely unquestioned. A country that had almost no supervision of its police force supported republican demands to emasculate the RUC and make the PSNI the most scrutinised force in the world.
Latterly, with Fine Gael apparently looking to form a coalition with Sinn Fein after the next election, you have an Irish prime minister opening the West Belfast Festival without one word of criticism of its eulogising of terrorists and bank robbers, and a foreign minister who blunders into disputes about the Irish language and prison conditions for dissidents that are none of his business.
It shocked me in the 1980s how little most diplomats seemed to understand what they were dealing with. John Hume dictated policy to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which persuaded its UK opposite numbers that concessions to nationalism would change the hearts and minds of republicans and that alienating unionists wasn’t a problem since they wouldn’t resort to violence.
In his arrogance, John Hume believed he could persuade republican leaders to follow him: instead, he unwittingly gave them a legitimacy that would ultimately enable them to displace his party.
As a journalist from 1993, I spent time trying to explain to unionists how the southern Irish establishment thought, and to the Irish and British the reality that Sinn Fein was gradually learning how to get its way with diplomats from both jurisdictions (and later, the US) through a mix of charm, cunning and threats.
Neither government seemed to see what was obvious about Drumcree – that republicans were creating the conditions in which they could secretly foment violence, destabilise Northern Ireland, and present themselves on the world stage as victims of bigotry and brutality.
What they succeeded in doing was tapping into the tribalism that is not far under the surface in the Republic. Both governments were in thrall to the peace process, which was used by officials and the nationalist establishment to sweep IRA misdeeds under the carpet.
The few journalists who pointed the finger at paramilitaries were accused of being anti-peace. It was impossible to dislodge the misconception that republicans would embrace peace and become democratic politicians as Irish revolutionaries had in the 1920s.
When Tony Blair swept into power in 1997, determined to become a great peacemaker, it was not long before the republican negotiators who had feared the machinations of Perfidious Albion were sniggering to each other after visits to Downing Street about “The Naïve Idiot”.
As far as the two governments were concerned, the 1998 Belfast agreement was supposed to solve everything, and the default position was to clear every new hurdle with another bribe for Sinn Fein.
When David Trimble was displaced by Ian Paisley, there was no senior unionist negotiator who really understood the republican gameplan. It was on Paisley’s watch that in 2005 the constant republican demand that there be no hierarchy of victims was enshrined in a government document defining a victim as “the surviving physically and psychologically injured of violent, conflict-related incidents and those close relatives or partners who care for them, along with the close relatives or partners who mourn their dead”.
As Sinn Fein diligently continued spinning their lying narrative about the past, as young people were told that the British state was behind most paramilitary murders, that nationalists had had no vote and that the IRA had had to fight for equality and human rights, few unionists did much to make their case in either Dublin or London.
The Sinn Fein leadership directs a ruthless cult intent on gaining power in the Republic and then bullying Northern Ireland into a united Ireland. As the contributors to this series have laid bare, what the NIO has come up with is a Sinn Fein wish list. But it is not too late to fight back.
The DUP are in an unprecedentedly strong position at Westminster and have no excuse for not making the complete revision of these obscene legacy proposals their priority.
They should have a task-force at work studying the many brilliant suggestions that have been made here in order to make truly equitable proposals about how the law can be upheld, the justice system can favour victims rather than perpetrators, the police can be saved from a system designed to discredit them and the story of the troubles can be told by historians.
Few of Sinn Fein’s opponents bother to tell the wider world what is going on here, but it is vital that the republican narrative should be countered at every turn in Dublin and London as well as Belfast.
It’s no good blaming politicians and journalists and civil servants for misrepresenting what happens here.
If you don’t bother to make your case about it publicly, you will lose the argument. Deservedly.
• Ruth Dudley Edwards is a writer and commentator. She is author of The Faithful Tribe: An Intimate Portrait of the Loyal Institutions and her most recent book is The Seven: the lives and legacies of the founding fathers of the Irish republic
On Friday September 28th , Reach UK hosted what is thought to be an inaugural event between a Loyalist Community Group and members of the LGBT community. Held in the Reach office , Newtownards Road, Belfast. As part of their ethos of an inclusive Britishness for all, Reach UK invited members of the PUL and LGBT communities to come together in a spirit of inclusivity and diversity
About 50 guests including youth workers from the Ulster Unionist Party filled the premises to attend the event which had two themes, Ulster Scots Translations and a Life Time Achievement award ,
First up was the presentation of Ulster Scots translations in both electronic / PDF format and framed posters for the offices of Cara Friend , A series of framed posters relating to bullying, suicide awareness, safe school space and the youth work provided by Cara Friend were presented to members of Cara Friend by the renowned author , historian, past MLA , Doctor Ian Adamson OBE, we are very grateful for the translation of the literature into Ulster Scots which Dr Adamson kindly carried out for us via his Pretani Associates community initiative . Cara Friend provides a unique youth service in N.Ireland which supports LGBT young people through one to one support sessions and the provision of safe-space groups. They have over 500 service users with more than 1000 people in receipt of training.
Secondly , to mark the date, Ulster Day , Reach UK launched its inaugural Lifetime Achievement award which will now take place on September 28th each year , the first recipient was Belfast Councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE, a member of NIGRA since 1975, with a background in the Department of Health , Jeffrey won a 1981 landmark case in the European Court of Human Rights which decriminalised homosexual behaviour. This case also set a president in the USA . He is a Unionist Councillor for Balmoral area where he represents all members of the community without fear or favour. A copy of his book on Montgomery Hyde , the Unionist gay rights reformer in the 1950s was presented to the members of Cara Friend . Reach Chairman Jim Wilson presented Jeffrey with a cut glass trophy award inscribed “ for a lifetimes outstanding achievement , promoting the rights of all “ . Jim also highlighted the work of the PUL community through the years in the promotion of rights and a proud arts and cultural tradition we can all be proud of .
It was with sadness that , as referenced by Finola Meredith in her Belfast Telegraph article , a group of Nationalist , Republican and neutral(?) Councillors in Belfast City Hall prepare to celebrate the LGBT community in the form of a stain glass window, that , perhaps the greatest champion of the LGBT community, Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE has been deliberately and cruelly excluded and written out of history by those protesting the most about discrimination and inequality , this simply because he is a Protestant and Unionist , the PUP Councillor Julie Ann Corr-Johnston also is excluded because of her religion — shame , shame, shame .
Ulster’s Solemn League and Covenant, commonly known as the Ulster Covenant, was signed on and before 28 September 1912. The signatories, 471,414 in all were in protest against the Third Home Rule Bill introduced by the British Government in the same year. Sir Edward Carson was the first person to sign the Covenant during a carefully choreographed ceremony at Belfast’s City Hall. Carson marched in military procession toward the hall, behind a flag said to have been carried by King William III’s troops at the Battle of the Boyne.
In the grand entrance he leaned over a circular table, tightly draped in the Union Flag and signed with a silver pen, followed by Lord Londonderry (the former viceroy of Ireland), representatives of the Protestant churches, then by Sir James Craig before the throngs waiting outside were ushered in, 500 at a time, until the doors were closed near midnight.
Women added their names to a separate declaration pledging to associate themselves with the men of Ulster.
We, their descendants, just as they were, are duty bound to defend our country and its people from any perceived threat to our way of life.
We know the war prepared
On ever peaceful home
We know the hells prepared
For such as serve not Rome
The terror, threats, and bread
In market, hearth, and field –
We know, when all is said,
We perish if we yield.
On Sunday 9th September our group took part in a Memorial dedication on the Shore Road, Belfast.
Among its participants was the British Legion, Army cadets, Somme associations, some orange order members and community groups including Dalaradia. The parade was led by the City of Belfast Fifes and Drums flute band.
The procession made its way along the Shore Road, North Queen Street, Limestone, York Road – stopping to lay wreath at the Times bar while continuing on the Shore Road stopping at memorial for dedication.
On Saturday morning members of Dalaradia took part in Row on Rows Largest Human Poppy World Guinness Book of Records attempt. We tried but unfortunately didn’t break the record.
However the positive was at the very least raising awareness of the sacrifice made by so many during the World Wars. The event took place just a few days after neanderthal republicans whom are stuck in a time warp, burned Poppy Wreaths on bonfires.
The poppy is NOT a political/religious statement, symbol or message. It is not a sign of support for war, but instead a symbol of remembrance and hope. It is the international symbol of remembrance that applies as much to Muslims and Hindus as to Christians. It is totally ecumenical.
In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now famous poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance for everyone.
There has been widespread condemnation of a bonfire based in the Bogside area of Londonderry and rightly so.
The names of PSNI officers Ronan Kerr and Stephen Carroll as well as prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay were placed on two banners to be burned. They had all been killed because of their profession by cavemen republicans stuck in a time warp using the cover of a “war” to justify their criminality and drug dealing.
Among other items the bonfire featured was Union flags, British Army flags, Israeli flags, a Donald Trump election sign and one of the saddest sights in recent times the bonfire had poppy wreaths which had been stolen from the city’s cenotaph on the 3rd of July 2018, 2 short days after being laid to remember the sacrifice both Protestant and Catholic, unionist and nationalist – made in the trenches stretching across northern France for our very freedom they take for granted today.
Hundreds gathered to watch the bonfire be set alight. Fire crews had to be dispatched to contain the blaze from spreading to nearby buildings which at one point had been 10 to 15 metres away. Police also came under attack by petrol bombs during the bonfire. Last week a sign mocking the death of the father of a victims’ campaigner who was killed by the IRA in 1975 was also placed on a Republican bonfire in Newry, County Down.
Is this 1969? 1972? 1990? No, its 2018. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
Is this what we are up against at a time of “peace”. Chants of “oh ah up the RA” and “F the Union Jack we want our country back” echoed across the Falls Park during the Council funded West Belfast Festival – Feile an Phobail (Festival of the People).
Many groups including our own work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year in an attempt to steer our community in a more positive direction. As a group a big emphasis of our work would be directed toward impressionable young men and women who we are duty bound to educate about our past and help navigate and facilitate a brighter future.
Among the 10,000 strong crowd literally thousands of teenagers, who wouldn’t have been born during the conflict, waved pro-IRA flags shouting “And we will fight you for 800 more”. What is going on within their communities and homes? Are they being taught hatred and intolerance as opposed to respect and reconciliation? People are not born to hate.
“Of the people” meaning what exactly? According to Feile an Phobail, which this year marked its 30th anniversary, the organisation aims to “promote social inclusion and the celebration of diversity”. The festival director Kevin Gamble said: “This year, representatives from all communities were welcomed to Féile to have their voice heard. This covered a wide and diverse range of society.” I’m pretty confident members of the PUL community would not feel welcome whatsoever. In fact, i would go as far as saying any right and forward thinking people within their own community would not have felt comfortable in this environment.
It is an absolute outrage and one i hope is not a glimpse into this beautiful country’s future.