Current Affairs Politics

Deaf, Dumb And Blind – The Irish Media On British Terrorism In Ireland

A mural in Belfast on collusion
A mural in Belfast highlights the collusion between the British military and paramilitary forces and British terrorist groups in the north-east of Ireland as part of Britain’s counter-insurgency war in the country

We are told repeatedly by the political establishments in Ireland and Britain that there is no hierarchy of victims in relation to the war which erupted in the north-east of Ireland during the late 1960s and which lasted (formally) until 2007. So why are Irish men, women and children murdered north and south of the British-imposed partition line by British state-backed terrorists clearly held to be of lesser value or import by many of Dublin’s media elite?

Is it because the British terrorists were fighting as part of Britain’s counter-insurgency war in Ireland and the majority of the Irish journalistic establishment were sympathetic to the objectives of that war? Is it because the Dublin press regarded the Irish Republican Army as “terrorists” while the British Unionist militants were classed as “paramilitaries” alongside the British “security forces”?

Perhaps it’s because our major sources of news and current affairs during the height of the conflict, RTÉ, the Irish Times and Irish Independent, were riddled with active or former members of the Workers Party, which was dominated in the 1970s and ‘80s by avowedly Neo-Unionist sympathisers?

While the Workers Party has moved on many of those ex-WP infiltrators have become the doyens of Ireland’s Dublin-based media, still wielding power and influence behind the closed doors (and shuttered windows) of Ireland’s elites through an incestuous web of journalism and politics. Their poisonous legacy is as virulent as ever, still corrupting the news agendas of our national press and our radio and television broadcasters. In years past former British terrorist leaders like David Ervine were eulogised and fawned upon in the Irish press while their Republican counterparts were demonized and set up for character assassination (or actual assassination). And that is still the agenda.

From Fitzjames Horse:

“I am not holding any brief for the IRA and their actions such as the mass bombing of Belfast in July 1972, Bloody Friday, or any other attack by bomb or bullet. Nor am I going to play the Loyalist politician game of talking about a hierarchy of victim.

What I am going to do is say that there was a hierarchy of “combatant”. The IRA and the Brits were opposite sides of the same coin. Of course Unionists would not like me saying that. They have issued their respective apologies for Bloody Friday and Bloody Sunday – but should they? Even in a pro-forma way? They fought their wars and for the most part played within their rules.

Unionists would see the IRA and UVF-UDA as two sides of the same coin. They are wrong, deliberately so. It elevates Loyalists to a status that they don’t deserve. If Loyalist thugs wanted to serve their community the option to join the legal RUC and legal UDR was open to them. Nationalists had no such legal option.

I am not saying that IRA were rebels with a cause. But I am clearly stating that Loyalist paramilitaries were a rabble without a cause, except sectarian murder. The British Bullet is one thing. The IRA Bomb is one thing. The Loyalist Meat Cleaver which EVENTUALLY ended your life is very different.

Republicans have apologised for their excesses. The British have apologised for their excesses. The Loyalists – their entire campaign was about Excess. Republicans do themselves no favours by seeing the Loyalists as people somehow caught up in something beyond their control.

So why does Miriam O’Callaghan tackle Gerry Adams on his alleged involvement with the IRA? Why does Gerry’s insistence that he was never involved with the IRA irritate so many journalists?

Well, let’s start with the premise that journalists are hypocrites. Twenty years ago as the Peace Process was gaining momentum, journalists played the Northern Iron Office game of differentiating between Sinn Féin and the IRA. Fair enough. I went along with it as well. All for the Common Good. Let’s be adult about this, the whole point of the Peace Process was to get the IRA to stop shooting and bombing and get them into Government. Creative Ambiguity dictated the distinction was made. And it worked well – too well. Sinn Féin was only supposed to be the minority Nationalist party but, oops, Sinn Féin ended up the majority Nationalist party.

So what do journalists do? Having helped in making a distinction twenty years ago they now seek to blur it.

Questions are asked of Gerry Adams. He denies his own involvement and apologises for the IRA excesses. But nobody asks these questions of Loyalist paramilitaries. And they have much more to answer for. They are still involved in criminal activity. And nobody can quite get their heads around the sheer sectarian nastiness of the 1970s.

So why aren’t questions asked? Well, Loyalists were always a marginalised part of the Troubles. A sideshow? Except of course for the people bereaved through their butchery. They were never meant to be part of the solution.

Was that butchery part of the Conflict? Or was it something different? Just serial killing using the Conflict as a cover?

And yet for me that butchery defines the Troubles. The wife who was phoned by her husband’s killers so she could hear the torture. Or Rosemary McCartney who was abducted with Patrick O’ Neill and taken to a UDA Romper Room where Rosie was forced to SING for her killers. While watching Patrick being tortured by Davy Payne.”

No one is denying the right or even the correctness of Irish journalists quizzing Gerry Adams TD about his past as an active Irish Republican and opponent of the continued British Occupation in the north-east of Ireland. As a member of Dail Éireann and perhaps one day of Rialtas na hÉireann that questioning is entirely appropriate.

However perhaps the next time Miriam O’Callaghan or anyone else in RTÉ feels like flexing their investigative muscles they might also ask Peter Robinson, Joint First Minister of the North of Ireland and leader of the DUP, what exactly was his involvement with Ulster Resistance, the British terrorist organisation that received one of several large arms shipments from Apartheid-era South Africa under the auspices of the British Security Service, MI5. Perhaps RTÉ, or heaven forefend the Sunday Independent, might also investigate the number of convicted terrorists that are members of the DUP or who have stood as DUP candidates in the North of Ireland?

Or will the anti-Republican media establishment in Dublin continue to believe that when it comes to the British terror gangs in Ireland, my enemy’s enemy is my friend?

Deaths caused by British Forces:

51.5% Civilians

44.8% Paramilitaries/Insurgents

03.5% British Forces

Deaths caused by British Terrorists:

85.4% Civilians

9% British Terrorists

4% Republican Forces

1.3% British Forces

Deaths caused by Republican Forces:

52% British Forces

35% Civilians

11.7% Paramilitaries/Insurgents

00.4% the Irish security forces

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3 comments on “Deaf, Dumb And Blind – The Irish Media On British Terrorism In Ireland

  1. Pride and Prejudice in NI
    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that Loyalist in possession of a good weapon must be in want of a Catholic to murder.
    However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is feared as the rightful killer of some one or other of their menfolk.
    “My dear Mr. O’Prey,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that this is a Loyalist area at last?”
    Mr. O’Prey replied that he had not.
    “But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”
    Mr. O’Prey made no answer.
    “Do not you want to know why they have taken it over?” cried his wife impatiently.
    “You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”
    This was invitation enough.
    “Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that it was taken over by a young man of large fortune from the East of Belfast; that he came down on Monday in to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his paramilitaries are to be in there by the end of next week.”
    “Is he married or single?”
    “Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year from drugs. What a terrible thing for our boys!”
    “How so? how can it affect them?”
    “My dear Mr. O’Prey,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his killing one of them.”
    “Is that his design in settling here?”
    “Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may kill one of them”


    • That was quite biting. And rightly so.

      Though here is an important point and one that is rarely made but should be more often.

      The largest British terrorist group on the island of Ireland was for 20 years a legal organisation under British legislation in both the North of Ireland and in Britain. It could legally organise, recruit, train and finance itself. It had its own HQ in the middle of Belfast while at the same time its gunmen and bombers murdered and maimed hundreds of Irish men, women and children.

      Forget the outrage over the Taliban al-Qaeda openly existing in Pakistan or Iran. The British were there first with the UDA-UFF.


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