Saturday, 26 October 2013

A councillor who left Sinn Fein

The following observation was made in the Irish News (19 October) by columnist Newton Emerson:
Moyle councillor Margaret Anne McKillop has resigned from Sinn Fein, citing its recent support for limited forms of abortion.  In the 11 years that McKillop was a party member the Provisional IRA committed five murders.  Where was her uncompromising respect for the sanctity of life then?
Newton Emerson makes a valid point and Councillor McKillop's position is inconsistent.

I believe in the sanctity of human life but that applies to the victims of IRA terrorism as much as an unborn child.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

North Belfast News

In this week's North Belfast News (19 October) Liam Murphy takes a look at some Belfast streets and the people after whom they were named.  However there were a number of errors in the article.
  1. 'Drew Street was named after the fiery Rev Norman Drew who was a 19th century street preacher.'  No it was named after Rev Thomas Drew, minister of Christ Church in Durham Street.  He was also responsible for the formation of the Drew Memorial Church on the Grosvenor Road.
  2. 'Twaddell Avenue [was] named after William Twaddell, a native of Portadown.'  No, William J Twaddell (1884-1922) was not a native of Portadown.  He was born at Ballintoy in North Antrim but came to Belfast.  He married a woman from Portadown and was buried at Drumcree parish church.
  3. 'Michael Pratley was later convicted and hanged for the murder.'  No he wasn't.  Michael Pratley was accused of the murder of Twaddell but was hanged for another murder.  The murder of Twaddell was carried out by the IRA but no one was ever convicted for the crime.
Liam Murphy really needs to brush up on his local history or else the North Belfast News needs a new local historian!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Division in the GAA

Last night Peter Robinson MLA observed that there have been changes in the GAA and indeed there have.  Some of the old divisive rules have gone and that must be welcomed.  However more needs to be done and there is still a long way to go.
The constitution of the GAA includes a commitment to a United Ireland and requires that a member of the GAA subscribe to that aspiration.  For that reason it is impossible for a unionist to join a GAA club or participate in GAA games.
In addition a number of GAA clubs, grounds and competitions are named after Irish republican terrorists - not IRA men from some historic era but from the recent republican campaign carried out by the Provisional IRA and the INLA.
That is why Peter Robinson told the GAA that it is wrong to use the names of clubs and grounds to eulogise men of violence.  This is a subject that I have addressed on several occasions and a number of posts on this blog contain examples of this practice.

Some GAA leaders agree privately that it is wrong to name GAA clubs and grounds after terrorists but they seem reluctant to remove this blight on their organisation.

Meanwhile other prominent GAA figures want to cling to the past and Joe Brolly was quick to say that the naming of GAA clubs was 'no one else's business'.  'People can either like it or lump it.'  Brolly, who had a successful career in the GAA, is a son of Sinn Fein politicians Francis and Anne Brolly.  Today he said that he was proud that the hurling club in his home town of Dungiven was named after Kevin Lynch, a convicted INLA terrorist.  Brolly used to play for St Canice's GAA Club which shares its ground with the Kevin Lynch hurling club.

There is clearly a division in the GAA over this important matter and Peter Robinson's speech has exposed that division.  The real test for the leadership of the GAA is therefore whether or not they step up to the mark and face down the republican backwoodsmen and the political bigots in their ranks.

No other sporting organisation in Northern Ireland eulogises terrorists and murderers and this aspect of the GAA is a hindrance to building a shared future and a united community.

They have come a considerable distance but there is more to be dome, including the removal of the Irish republican ethos from the GAA constitution and the renaming of clubs and grounds that are currently named after republican terrorists.