Thursday, 31 May 2018

Sinn Fein's grotesque mass-murderer plates

Many people have decorated plates in their homes, perhaps a holiday scene or a plate with a landscape or a picture of pet animal.

They can be quite attractive but you can always rely on Sinn Fein to produce something that is crass and grotesque., a decorative plate to honour two mass-murderers!

The Burns & Moley Sinn Fein Cumann has produced a special 30th anniversary commemorative plate which can be purchased for £35.

Full details are available on the Newry & Armagh Sinn Fein facebook page.

The commemorative plates feature portraits of the two IRA men with an armed and masked IRA man on each side with a raised revolver.

The two IRA men, Volunteer Brendan Burns and Volunteer Brendan Moley died on 29 February 1988 when a bomb intended for an attack on the British Army exploded prematurely in a hayshed at Crossmaglen.

Those who were intent on causing death and destruction died as a result of their own bomb.

There is an IRA memorial for the two men, there is an annual commemoration at the memorial, organised by Sinn Fein.  In the past this has had prominent Sinn Fein speakers such as Conor Murphy in 2002, Bairbre de Brun MEP in 2004, Martin Ferris in 2013 and Gerry Adams in 2015.

IRA memorial at Donaldson's Road, Creggan
But that is not enough for Sinn Fein and so for the 30th anniversary they have taken the opportunity for some money-making merchandise with a special Burns and Moley commemorative plate.

So who were the two IRA men that Sinn Fein commemorate and what do we know about them, apart from the fact that they were killed by their own bomb?

As regards Brendan Burns there was an account of his IRA career in the Irish Times (1 March 2005):
Brendan Burns was one of the most effective IRA operatives of the entire conflict.  but it's not at all clear that he ever put himself in personal danger, except from his own bombs.
His 10-year career, indeed, is emblematic of the gap between the IRA's heroic self-image and its great skill in inflicting more suffering than it endured.  What Brendan Burns was very good at was placing bombs on roadsides and getting the hell out of there before they exploded.
He is widely believed to have planted the IRA bombs that killed 18 British soldiers at Warrenpoint in 1979 and five soldiers at Camlough two years later.  Most of those who died in these explosions were in their late teens or early twenties.
Mass murder of British soldiers by the IRA at Narrow-water
There can be no doubt that Burns and Moley were guilty of mass murder because it was admitted in the Sinn Fein newspaper An Phoblacht and the republican journal IRIS (Issue 18 - Autumn 1993).

The IRIS article was headed 'A Tribute to the Two Brendans' and it described their role in a number of IRA killings including the murder of two young British soldiers near Crossmaglen on 9 July 1986.  One of the murdered soldiers, Carl Davis, was married with one child and his wife was expecting a second child.  The other soldier was Mitchell Robert Bertram.

Brendan Burns and Brendan Moley were mass murderers.  

So if you are a republican in South Armagh you can join a Sinn Fein cumann named after two mass murderers, you can attend an annual commemoration in honour of two mass murderers and now you can have a tribute to two mass murderers hanging in your living room or sitting on your mantelpiece!

And some people suggest that Sinn Fein has changed since Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill took over the leadership ... well think again!

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Sinn Fein's 'shameful acts of glorification'

Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady
A few weeks ago an SAS flag was erected in the village of Loughgall and Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady said: 
'I'm appalled to learn that a British SAS flag has once again been reported flying in the village of Loughgall.  This shameful act of glorification will only serve to add further distress to the families of the nine men executed and I am calling for its immediate removal.'

Move forward a matter of days and Mickey Brady was speaking out again.  This time he was chairing a commemoration for IRA member Raymond McCreesh at the notorious Raymond McCreesh children's playground in Newry.

Mickey Brady speaking at a Sinn Fein commemoration
at the Raymond McCreesh playground
The event was to honour Raymond McCreesh and it was in effect a 'shameful act of glorification'.

This is just another example of the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein, whose approach is 'do as I say', not 'do as I do'.


However, the next time there is any discussion about the Sinn Fein sponsored commemorations and glorifications of the IRA or the erection of memorials to IRA terrorists, we can remember the words of Mickey Brady and quote them back to Sinn Fein - 'this shameful act of glorification'.  You could also quote back Mickey Brady's demand for immediate removal'.

And if Mickey Brady is looking for some 'shameful acts of glorification' to have them removed, perhaps he could start in his own constituency with the name of the Raymond McCreesh Park and then move on to the Provisional IRA memorial beside the Ti Chulain Centre in Mullaghbawn.

He might also consider moving further afield to the republican memorial which was erected outside the Church of Ireland parish church in Dungiven.

Mickey Brady should be reminded time and time again of those words 'shameful act of glorification' as indeed should other Sinn Fein politicians.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Hugh Jordan: 'Who brought the gun into Irish politics?'

Sunday World columnist Hugh Jordan

In his Sunday World column yesterday (27 May 2018) veteran journalist Hugh Jordan wrote: 'Fred Crawford, one of Sir Edward Carson's right-hand men in the original UVF ... became infamous as the man who introduced the gun into Irish politics.'

It is a comment that one hears from time to time from people who should know better.  Indeed the last time I heard it was from a Dublin government official as we were walking round a historical exhibition in the centre of Belfast.

There can be no disputing the fact that Fred Crawford armed the original Ulster Volunteer Force and indeed his autobiography was entitled Guns for Ulster, but is it true to say that Carson, Crawford and the other unionist leaders 'introduced the gun into Irish politics'?

It is simply untrue because guns had been introduced into Irish politics long before the third home rule crisis and even before the first home rule crisis.

Members of the IRB with guns, in the 19th century
The Irish Republican Brotherhood also known as the Fenian Brotherhood was formed on 17 March 1858 and on 18 September 1867 members of the IRB attacked a horse-drawn prison van in Manchester.  Two prominent IRB men were being transported in the van and the intention was to free them.  

IRB bomb at Clerkenwell Prison (1867)
During the incident a police sergeant named Charles Brett was shot and killed by the IRB, some forty-five years before the UVF was formed.  The IRB were using guns in the middle of the 19th century so it is not true to say that Carson, Crawford and the unionists 'introduced the gun into Irish politics'.

Irish republicans were using guns in 1867 and they were also using explosives.  An IRB attack on Clerkenwell Prison on 13 December 1867 resulted in the deaths of twelve innocent people, including a seven-year-old girl, with many more being injured.

Image result for ulster reform clubThere was another more minor historical error in the article where Hugh Jordan wrote: 'The story goes that Sir Edward Carson and a small coterie of confidants enjoyed lunch in the [Ulster] Reform Club before making their way along Donegall Place to Belfast City Hall where the historic signing [of the Ulster Covenant] took place.'

No there were religious services across Ulster on the morning of Ulster Day.  Carson and many other Unionist leaders attended a service in the Ulster Hall before making their way to the City Hall for the signing.  It was after this that they made their way to the Ulster Reform Club, not before.

The error about the lunch in the Ulster Reform Club is relatively minor but the other 'error' is much more significant.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Both Lives Matter

The referendum in the Republic of Ireland has removed the 8th amendment from the constitution and has opened the door for abortion on demand.

The Fine Gael government has proposed that abortion should be available for every pregnant woman up to 12 weeks.  That is unconditional and unrestricted abortion on demand up to 12 weeks.  

Here is an impression of an unborn or preborn child at 12 weeks.

Yes at 12 weeks the baby is small.  It is only a few inches long but our personhood has nothing to do with the size of our bodies.  Whether you are six feet, three feet or three inches you are a person.

You have only to look at the little preborn child, even at 12 weeks, to see that indeed we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.  Those are some beautiful words from the Bible (Psalm 139:14) but even if you don't read the Bible or believe in God your own common sense will tell you that the unborn child is 'fearfully and wonderfully made'.

However there is an old saying 'out of sight and out of mind' and that is one of the issues.  That little 12 week old baby is in the womb of the mother and therefore 'out of sight'.  We can see and hear the activists arguing for the right to abort that little child but the child is 'out of sight' in the mother's womb and cannot speak for itself.  The womb should be a place of safety but sadly that is no longer the case.

A battle has been lost and this will spur on the pro-abortion lobby in Northern Ireland.  However THE STRUGGLE TO PROTECT HUMAN LIFE IS NOT OVER and of course the most basic human right of all is the right to life.  That is why we say BOTH LIVES MATTER.

We live in a sinful world and we 'all have sinned and come short of the glory of God'. (Romans 3:23)  It is also a selfish world and so often our thoughts are about 'I', 'me' and 'my'.

As the poster above illustrates, pro-abortionists will speak about 'my body', 'my uterus','my rights' and 'my rules' but never about 'my baby' because that would recognise the existence of another self and another person.  They prefer to keep the unborn child 'out of sight' and 'out of mind'. 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Antrim Camogie and the Felons Club

Antrim Senior Camogie team with the name of the Felons Club on their jerseys
The Felons Club in West Belfast is a social club for Irish republicans who have served time in prison. Back in 2016 the Felons Club agreed to sponsor the Antrim camogie minor team with between £1,000 and £1,500 a year..  In return the name of the Felons Club was printed on the team jerseys.

According to the Felons Club chairman Gerry Scullion: 'We were approached by an official from Antrim Camogie a few years ago and asked if we woud consider sponsoring the minor team.  We were happy to do that and did did everything asked of us, from sponsorship to feeding the kids before matches and sometimes afterwards.'

'Then earlier this year we were asked if we would sponsor the senior team and we were delighted to do that.'

Gerry Scullion and one of the Antrim Camogie jerseys
with the Felons Club name on it
However Antrim Camogie has now cancelled the sponsorship deal and according  to Scullion: 'We then received correspondence from the Antrim chairperson who said they weren't allowed to be linked to any entity that was political.'

The story was reported in the Irish News (24 May 2018) but when the newspaper contacted Antrim Camogie they said, 'we have no comment to make'.

The Felons Club can be traced back to the 1940s when Gerry Adams Sr and Joe Campbell, both former IRA prisoners, established Ex-Penal Servitude Prisoners and acquired club premises.

This organisation was later renamed the Irish Republican Felons Association and they are the owners of the Felons Club.  

In 1999 Danny Morrison wrote: 'Nelson Mandela is an honorary member; so is Beirut hostage Brian Keenan.'

There are a lot of questions that could be asked about this but much of the media simply ignored it.  

Friday, 25 May 2018

The Sinn Fein MP and McCreesh Park

Last Sunday 20 May the republican organisation Saoradh commandeered a children's play park in Newry to commemorate the IRA terrorist and hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.  It was the 37th anniversary of his death but the Saoradh event seems to have had a limited appeal.  The photograph below will tell you all you need to know about the size of the crowd.

The children's park was renamed after McCreesh in 2001 and has been at the centre of an ongoing controversy as Sinn Fein and SDLP councillors have voted to retain the name Raymond McCreesh Park.  With the last vote a few SDLP councillors abstained but the rest of the SDLP members voted with Sinn Fein.

The Saoradh event was on Sunday and then on Monday night (21 May) it was the turn of Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein MP Mickey Brady chaired the gathering and said: 'Sinn Fein will continue to remember our patriot dead.'  The main address was given by former IRA hunger striker Paddy Quinn, who was arrested on 25 June 1976 on the same IRA operation as Raymond McCreesh.  The following year he was sentenced to 14 years for attempting to kill soldiers, 14 years for possession of an Armalite rifle and five years for membership of the IRA.

Sinn Fein estimated that the crowd numbered 300 but as the photograph above shows, it was less than that, perhaps 200.  Nevertheless it was much larger than the Saoradh event.

You would think that the media would be all over a story about a Westminster MP who addressed a republican crowd at a children's park named after a terrorist and at an event to honour the terrorist.  But then of course, as so often happens, Sinn Fein get a bye-ball.

The story was covered in the Irish News and it got a mention in the Radio Ulster newspaper review but seems to have passed largely unnoticed by the mainstream media.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The GAA is an Irish nationalist organisation

Last Sunday there was some controversy at Healy Park in Omagh when several GAA supporters flew Palestinian flags in the ground.  This happened during the senior GAA championship game between Tyrone and Monaghan.

The Palestinian flags were removed and afterwards a GAA spokesman told the Irish News (22 May): 'There is no flag allowed other than the official (GAA) flag, national flag and team colours.'

By 'the 'national flag' he meant the national flag of the Irish Republic, the Tricolour.

Of course no GAA team is going to object to that since the constitution of the GAA contains in it support for a 32 county Irish republic. Another little reminder that the GAA is an Irish nationalist organisation, with a constitution that prevents unionists from joining.

A Protestant nationalist could join but not a unionist, whether that unionist be a Protestant, Roman Catholic or someone of no faith or another faith.  It is not a religious exclusion, it is a political exclusion, and the Tricolour rule is merely an expression or outworking of that Irish nationalist ethos.

Susan McKay - 'John Bull raped Mother Ireland'

Susan MacKay - journalist, author and commentator
Recently Sinn Fein TD John Brady claimed that England had 'raped and pillaged ' Ireland.

It's not the sort of terminology we hear so much of these days but John Brady has certainly brought it under the spotlight.

I have already posted about his tweet but some readers may not be aware of the history of such language because he is certainly not the first person to use it..  

The first time I came across it was back in 1984, which is more than thirty years ago, and it was in the pages of the Sinn Fein newspaper Republican News, but the person who used it was not a member of Sinn Fein.

That person was Susan McKay, who was born in Londonderry in 1957 and came 'from a Protestant background'.  

Susan MacKay was one of the founders of the Belfast Rape Crisis Collective and as a member of the BRCC she wrote an article on Rape - A Women's Issue? which was published in the Sinn Fein newspaper Republican News on 11 October 1984.  In the final paragraph she wrote: 
'The rape of Mother Ireland by John Bull provides a powerful metaphor for the national struggle.'
It was a metaphor which must have struck a chord with republicans in that it portrays the United Kingdom as a vile male rapist and Ireland as his innocent female victim.

However the same issue of Republican News reported the brutal murder of a former UDR soldier by the Provisional IRA in Cookstown.

Susan moved on to become a community worker in Sligo and Fermanagh and then turned to journalism.  In 2000 she wrote a book Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People, which she described as 'a study of the people I uneasily call my own.'

When we remember that she used the 'metaphor' of rape we can understand why she uses the word 'uneasily' in relation to 'northern Protestants'.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Sinn Fein - bitter and twisted

There has been worldwide interest in the Royal Wedding and it is certainly not surprising that RTE broadcast the event in the Irish Republic.  They did it because there is a lot of interest in the British royal family, even in the Republic, and furthermore the programme was provided to them by the BBC.

Some republicans were clearly annoyed by this and one Sinn Fein TD, John Brady, who represents the constituency of Wicklow, made his view very clear with this tweet.

.At the age of 44 he is not one of the veterans of the republican movement and he is younger than his new party leader Mary Lou McDonald.  He was only elected as a councillor in 2014 and then as a TD in 2016 and that was after electoral defeats in 2007 and 2011.

However there is a bitterness about his tweet and a very twisted understanding of history that says a lot.  Indeed it probably shows usw what a lot of Sinn Feiners in the Republic actually think.

Declan Kearney MLA, the Sinn Fein chairman, has this programme of engagement with unionists and talks about a New Ireland built on 'national reconciliation' but beneath the honeyed words and the polished performance there is a a very different reality.

Moreover Sinn Fein can't keep up the pretence for long as we have seen with Barry McElduff, Mairtin O'Muilleoir, Martina Anderson and now John Brady.  Even the language of 'raping Ireland', the choice of words, shows the depth of the bitterness.  

With people like that representing Sinn Fein in the Dail and with leaders who continue to eulogise IRA murderers, Declan Kearney's carefully crafted narrative of 'national reconciliation' and a New Ireland with equality for all lacks any credibility

Friday, 18 May 2018

Eamonn Mallie's tweet - is it not smug, arrogant and patronising?

Eamonn Mallie
Eamonn Mallie has just posted the following on Twitter and Facebook and it is based around a comment from Professor Jim Dornan on the future of the Union and his view of that future.

#Brexit/NewIreland ....I’ve been uniquely saying thinking Unionists share Prof Jim Dornan’s view. “There is a lot of people nowadays, not just me, who are saying ‘you know what, if somebody offers me a better deal and somebody offers me a good deal, then I would go for it’."

So Eamonn is 'unique' in saying that 'thinking Unionists' share the view of Jim Dornan about the Union and the United Kingdom, a view which could be described as ambivalent or even agnostic.

So as someone who does not share that view I must be, according to Eamonn Mallie, an UNTHINKING UNIONIST.

Is there not something rather smug about a commentator dismissing so many of us as UNTHINKING?  Is there not something rather arrogant about dismissing the overwhelming majority of unionists as UNTHINKING?  Indeed is there not something rather patronising about describing us as UNTHINKING?

I don't know if Eamonn is actually 'unique' in saying this, which is what he claims, but if he is .... then he is uniquely wrong.

I disagree with Professor Dornan but I have no objection to the tone of his comments.  It is the way that Eamonn Mallie has tweeted about it that is the problem.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Bookshops are on the rise

A new report by PWC highlights the winners and the losers among shops on High Streets across the UK.

I was pleased to see that coffee shops, tea rooms and ice cream shops are on the rise and especially pleased to see that there has also been an increase in the number of book shops.

Meanwhile there has been a fall in the number of estate agents, banks, travel agents, convenience stores and pubs.

At one time there were so many predictions about the demise of the book and its replacement by the internet.  In fact I find the internet complements the book but those predictions have proven to be unfounded.

Yes some people will order books over the internet but there is no substitute for the pleasure of browsing in a bookshop.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Celtic fan who runs Politics Home

Earlier today I was looking at a report on the influential political website Politics Home, which is edited by Kevin Schofield.  I wondered what newspapers he had worked with before taking up his new post in 2015 so I checked out his Twitter account and was shocked.

For those not familiar with Kevin, here is how he describes himself on his Twitter account:
'Ex-Herald, Scotsman, Daily Record and Sun.  Now editor of, Husband, dad-of-two and lifelong Celtic fan.'

So there we are, what is the world coming to?  One of Britain's most influential political websites ... edited by a 'lifelong Celtic fan'.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Strengthening the Union

Policy Exchange, which is probably the UK's leading think tank, has organised a conference in London on Monday 21 May on The Union and Unionism - Past, Present and Future.  

There are political speakers from across the United Kingdom, including Michael Gove MP, Ruth Davidson MSP, Arlene Foster MLA, Lord Murphy of Torfaen and Jim Murphy, former leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

There are also contributions from historians and commentators, including two from Northern Ireland, Professor Lord Bew of Donegore and Arthur Aughey, Professor Emeritus at the Ulster University.

Some weeks ago Sinn Fein organised a United Ireland conference in London,  This time Policy Exchange is organising a United Kingdom conference and it certainly looks to be a much more substantial event.

It is right that pro-Union politicians and parties should engage with historians and others to reflect on the Union and how we can strengthen it.  We also need to do more to sell the benefits of the Union to those who are ambivalent and indeed the two go together - we strengthen the Union when we sell the benefits of the Union and convince the waverers and the unconvinced.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Ulster-Scot who founded Cliftonville Football Club

The actions of the Cliftonville Football Club players and supporters on Saturday were demeaning to the oldest football club in Ulster, and indeed in Ireland.  Their behaviour was also disrespectful to those who founded the club and guided it through many decades.

As a teenager in the 1960s I supported Cliftonville, as our local team, and it was a team that drew support from across north Belfast.  There were Protestants and Roman Catholics among the supporters and there were Protestants and Roman Catholics on the team, including such notables as Dr Kevin McGarry.

Unfortunately the photograph of the players and manager, standing together on the pitch on Saturday, with their heads bowed during the national anthem, sent out a message that today this team only fields nationalists.  Whether that is true or not is irrelevant.  That was the clear message on Saturday.

Such antipathy to the Queen and the national anthem would certainly have horrified the founder of the club, John McCredy McAlery (1849-1925).

As well as founding Cliftonville Football Club in 1879, McAlery was also the man who introduced football to Ulster.  He had seen the game played in Scotland and when he introduced it into Ulster it was played under the rules of the Scottish Association.

John M McAlery
McAlery was also the moving force behind the formation of the Irish Football Association in 1880 and became the first secretary of the IFA.. In 1882 he was the captain of the Ireland team in their first international match, which was against England, although a 13-0 defeat must have highlighted the fact that they had a lot of work ahead of them.

J M McAlery was also a successful businessman and much more.

He was a devout Presbyterian, with a keen interest in the Bible and in biblical prophecy.  His wife shared his views and she was the daughter of a Presbyterian minister.

At that time there was a strong temperance movement in Ulster and McAlery served on the council of the Irish Temperance League which advocated total abstinence.  He also served on the board of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

The latter part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century covered three home rule crises and saw the emergence of a strong Ulster unionist movement to preserve the Union.  McAlery was a convinced Ulster unionist and he was active in support of the West Belfast Division in Belfast, as well as a member of the Orange Order.

I think it would be fair to assume that the founder of the club, who was a royalist as well as a unionist, would have been horrified by what happened on Saturday.

There is a short biography of McAlery on the website of the Ulster History Circle's Dictionary of Ulster Biography.  It records in some detail his contribution to football and mentions his business interests but unfortunately omits any reference to the other aspects of this notable Ulster-Scot.

Another of the early members, William Kennedy Gibson (1876-1949), played for the club and also played thirteen international games.  Later he became president of Cliftonville Football Club.  Like McAlery, Gibson was a strong unionist and was elected to Belfast Corporation as an Independent Unionist, with the support of the Belfast Citizens Association.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Patricia MacBride - republican commentator

This morning I was interviewed on the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster, along with Patricia MacBride.

The presenter was Vinny Hurrell and he started the interviews by saying: 'Let's discuss with the commentator Patricia MacBride and the former DUP MLA Nelson McCausland.'

How contributors are introduced on the programme is something I had raised before with  the presenter and so today he very courteously asked me if I was content to be described as 'a former DUP MLA'.  'Nelson, I can't remember, do you like it or not like it when I refer to you as a former DUP MLA?

I replied, 'Well I'm not a person who would have any difficulty with that, obviously.'

Vinny then responded by saying, 'I think you told me off before.'

I responded, 'I did but we should give everyone's political background and I think it would be fair to say that if I was described as a unionist, Patricia MacBride might well be described, I'm sure she wouldn't disagree with it, as a republican.'

Vinny asked Patricia MacBride, 'Are you happy with that?' and she replied 'Oh, absolutely.'

Vinny said, 'Oh, fair enough' and I added, 'That perhaps shows a better approach in future.'  This part of the exchange ended with Vinny saying, 'Note taken, thank you Nelson' and I also thanked him.  So there it was, a 'unionist' commentator and a 'republican' commentator, and that's balance.

The word commentator is a neutral word that carries no political connotation.  It is a soft and neutral term that almost suggests impartiality.  So the original introduction suggested 'unionist politician' versus 'neutral commentator' and that was of course a misrepresentation of the situation.  In reality it was a 'unionist' commentator on one hand and a 'republican' commentator on the other.

On her twitter account Patricia describes herself as 'Law and policy, political commentator.  Working on human rights, refugees, victims and policy/public affairs.  Fond of horses and hurling.'  

Indeed down through the years she has been introduced on BBC radio and television programmes in various ways, as a 'commentator'. a 'legal affairs consultant' and a 'former victims' commissioner'.  So I hope that the message will spread across the BBC that Patricia is indeed a commentator but she is a republican commentator.

Antoine Mac Giolla Bhridghe (Anthony MacBride)
Patricia grew up in a republican family.  Her brother Anthony MacBride, also known as Antoine Mac Giolla Bhridhge, was a member of the Provisional IRA.  He served a prison sentence for terrorism and was shot dead by the SAS on 2 December 1984 when he was a member of an IRA gang 'on active service'.

Another brother, Lughaidh Mac Giolla Bhridghe, was a Sinn Fein councillor and according to an article in  An Phoblacht Anthony learned his republicanism from his grandmother, who had fought in the War of Independence.