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The Boy From County Armagh

By 33230715130361 On January 27th, 2020

Seamus Mallon, a Constitutional anti-violence nationalist and former SDLP luminary, has been buried at a fine age of 83. An accomplishment for someone who denounced the violent actors on both sides of the NI conflict. He famously called the Good Friday Agreement “Sunningdale for Slow Learners” and achieved respect across Ireland. His participation in securing the Peace Process was significant, necessary and essential. A brave, thoughtful and principled man. He will be missed.

85 Responses to “The Boy From County Armagh”

  1. An accomplishment for someone who denounced the violent actors on both sides of the NI conflict

    Just a small correction there Mahons, there were more than ‘two sides’ in the conflict.

    I didn’t like Mallon. I always thought he came across as patronising, aloof and school mastery.

    I did respect him though.

    The most interesting thing I’ve read since his death was that both his parents were involved in the War of Independence and anti treatyists in the subsequent Civil War. It was this which supposedly drove him to disavow violence.

  2. Fine, the violent actors on all sides.

  3. I recently read his book “A Shared Home Place”. I found myself in agreement with virtually the whole thing. The first time I voted for him was in the 1986 Anglo Irish Agreement by-elections when he got elected to Westminster for the first time. I did admire John Hume but I always had a preference for Mallon.

  4. I heard Hume speak more than once on the old Charlie Rose show. I was impressed.

    Unfortunately, I never heard Mallon interviewed.

  5. Sad to see him go.

    He was a good, good man who achieved great things.

    Politically, I thought he was a bit soft on the national question (compared to Hume and others) and, as Paul says, he sometimes came across a bit like a cross teacher. But perhaps both these traits helped him achieve more.

    I’d like to read his book.

  6. Mahons

    Thank you for posting this.

    In his book, A Shared Homeplace, Mallon says one lesson his father imparted early was ‘guns do not settle problems, they make problems’. He grew up with respect for non-violence. And, practiced it throughout his life. He was a brave man who lived in a dangerous area at a dangerous time.

    He was well educated and well read. He could be a great conversationalist and host. He had a very deep knowledge of Irish history as well as that of other countries, including the US.

    He and John Hume envisaged a peaceful NI and brought it about. He served as the first Deputy First Minister with David Trimble as First Minister. In the beginning he had difficulty with Trimble but eventually they reached an accommodation. Trimble mellowed with age, he visited Seamus about a week before he died.

    Mallon was totally non-sectarian. He was once asked how he could get along with people in his majority unionist town and he said ‘you have to’ and there are many stories where he came to the aid of people no matter their religion or politics.

    Mallon and Hume believed you had to unite people before political unity. Unfortunately NI has made little progress on that objective and that is one of the major reasons the governments formed are inherently unstable. NI needs people of their character and stature in politics today, but one does not see any on the front benches.

  7. Noel reminded me, so credit goes to him for suggesting the post. I don’t think most of my fellow Yanks knew of him, and in fairness I didn’t know the extent of his contribution so I’m glad I got the chance to do a brief sketch.

  8. Course Sharon Stone signed his condolence book so some Yanks knew him.

  9. Well done, mahons. But unfortunately it wasn’t I who mentioned his death or suggested a post. I think it was MourneReg or FewsOrange (both of whom – no disrespect to either – have sort of merged into one person for me, due to the geographic placenames. Maybe if they disclose that one is stout, the other thin, one ginger …. etc.).

    Mallon was one of the many people from across the spectrum – Unionist, Nationalist, Loyalist and Republican, Irish, British and American – who played a part in achieving peace: a huge effort that led to an almost magical solution to a 400-yr-old problem.

    He came from a middle-class background, as did most of the SDLP leadership, and from a part of NI with relatively little sectarian tension. His dedication to non-violence is definitely commendable, but you still have to ask yourself whether he would have been so unconditionally committed to that course if he had being raised in a different social background and a less peaceful part of the province.

    Seeing your parents driven from their home and your house burn down, while the state forces don’t lift a finger to help you, often alters even the most tranquil minds.

  10. Nice title, by the way. Now THAT’S music!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z2jBxPP1hk

  11. In his memoir, he recalled walking behind the funeral cortege of one of 10 Protestant workmen murdered by the I.R.A. in the Kingsmill Massacre of 1976:

    “The constant drizzle and a dank, gray mist added to the pall of grief that seemed to envelop the silent, heartbroken village. I felt desperately alone as a nationalist politician among those grieving unionists: I could hear my own footsteps.”

    On another occasion, a neighbor of his, who was a police reservist, escorted him to safety from another Protestant funeral, where Mr. Mallon had been told that he wasn’t welcome. Three weeks later, he came upon the same young police officer, dying from republican gunshots in the street in Markethill.

    “Seamie, tell them all I love them,” the dying man, cradled in Mr. Mallon’s arms, told him, Mr. Mallon wrote.

    Himself under threat from both loyalist murder gangs and republican terrorists, who regarded the nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party as sellouts or traitors, Mr. Mallon drove the notoriously ambush-friendly back roads of South Armagh with no protection. He refused an offer of a police bodyguard; officers, he pointed out, would only be targets themselves.

    NY Times

  12. Ah, it was New Yorker not Noel who suggested it. I sit corrected.
    Mallon was one of “many people”, but ditiguishable from those who were advocates of violence until it no longer suited them.

  13. Himself under threat from both loyalist murder gangs and republican terrorists, who regarded the nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party as sellouts or traitors

    To my knowledge Seamus Mallon nor any other SDLP member was ever under threat from ‘Republican terrorists’

    This is a video from Willy Frazer’s ‘spiritual advisor’ ex UDR man and ‘Pastor’ Barrie Halliday taken at Frazer’s grave the night Seamus Mallon died. Mallon didn’t do a great job of uniting these people:

    https://www.facebook.com/william.frazer.58/videos/3294665283885873/

  14. //Mallon was one of “many people”, but ditiguishable from those who were advocates of violence//

    Yes, that’s the subtext to most eulogies to Mallon as one of the doves in the Troubles, now thankfully out in the open. That’s why I wrote what I wrote.

    He had the grace of a middle-class upbringing.

    Now that more people on all sides have a chance for a kind of prosperity that was denied their fathers, more people will no doubt be like Mallon and we can hope for a sustained peace.

  15. A middle class upbringing seems like a backhand compliment, as if it wasn’t “real” like a working class background. Even those with a working class background didn’t support the violent antics of paramilitaries.

  16. No, it’s every bit as real, and of course even more desirable.

    But it isn’t a coincidence that Mallon and Hume were of middle-class backgrounds while that of McGuinness and Adams were further down the social scale.

    It’s pointless dealing with such biographies and the NI political situation in general if you don’t take these factors (and especially the attendant differences in experiencing the consequences of politics) into account.

    In any case, RIP. Ní bhéidh a leitheid arís ann, and let’s hope the conditions won’t be there again either.

  17. Paul – I suppose it would be a comfort to Mallon and fellow SDLP members that they were never under threat from Republicans, and that the death threats and attacks on their homes were either imagined or solely attributable to loyalist elements.

  18. But Seamus was not for bending and his sense of benevolence extended to natural political enemies. Conor O’Clery in the Irish Times has a nice addendum to what followed that maiden speech:

    Behind him he heard Enoch Powell, Unionist MP for South Down, muttering and banging the desk. “What’s wrong with you?” asked the Armagh man, after he sat down.

    “You quoted Spinoza wrongly,” hissed Powell.

    “I did not,” retorted Mallon.

    The two adjourned to the Commons library where the raw young Christian Brothers-educated lad from Newry proved to the great classical scholar from Cambridge that his citation from the Dutch philosopher was correct and that Powell was wrong.

    He was no bleedin’ heart liberal. John Reid who was briefly Secretary of State once famously said that Seamus “could make ‘Good Morning’ sound like a threat”. His reputation as a negotiator for the SDLP was a fierce one.

    David Trimble recalled that “Seamus did not have much time for people who weren’t prepared to put the effort in, or who weren’t prepared to make progress.”

    https://sluggerotoole.com/2020/01/27/seamus-mallon-a-life-committed-to-the-asking-of-living-and-ongoing-questions/

  19. Why would you think that Mahons?

  20. Damn edit button.

    A threat’s a threat no matter what it’s source but AFAIK the claim above is inaccurate. The only time I’m aware of such allegations is in 1983 when those nice guys in the RUC told Gerry Fitt his home had been burned by SF supporters.

  21. Paul – I was being sarcastic.

  22. Noel,

    Think of us as colours.

    I’m red (for Down; not for my politics). Fews is orange (for Armagh; not for his politics).

    I always associate the surname Mallon very strongly with Armagh. My granny hailed from there and had some Mallon ancestors. Was just thinking about this given Seamus Mallon’s ardent attachment to his homeplace.

  23. //red (for Down; not for my politics). Fews is orange (for Armagh; not for his politics).//

    🙂 Good.

    All fine, but the names already betray the counties (Mourne – Fews).

    Look, you guys need to develop some distict PROFILE; sure yiz are as bad as FG/FG in the recent election debate – just too reasonable altogether. Something like: one supports Prince Andrew against his accusers, while the other believes the Pope is a communist, or something.

    BTW, the upcoming Dail election is calling for a post to explain it to concerned ears in the US and Britain. MR send your report to Patrick, he’s put it up.

  24. You mean show our more unreasonable sides.

    Like that I call the southern Educate Together schools “Communist Together” and sneer at the hippy-dippy, Catholic-church-ate-my-hamster eejits who send their kids there? That sort of thing?

    Would love to write something on the election but, alas, am unlikely to have time.

  25. //red (for Down; not for my politics). Fews is orange (for Armagh; not for his politics).//

    🙂 Good.

    All fine, but the names already betray the counties (Mourne – Fews).

    Look, you guys need to develop some distict PROFILE; sure yiz are as bad as FG/FG in the recent election debate – just too reasonable altogether. Something like: one supports Prince Andrew against his accusers, while the other believes the Pope is a communist, or something.

    BTW, the upcoming Dail election is calling for a post to explain it to concerned ears in the US and Britain. MR, send your report to Patrick, he’ll put it up.

  26. Poe’s Law, Mahons.

  27. I highly doubt that SDLP members were targeted by the IRA. Throughout the entirety of the Troubles no SDLP members were directly murder by the IRA. Sutton lists 55 Political Activists killed during the Troubles. Of those the overwhelming majority were targeted by “the other side”. So Republicans/Nationalist politicians murdered by Loyalists or the State, or Unionist/British politicians murdered by Republicans. I identified of the 55 only 9 who don’t come under that pattern. Almost all of them were killed during various Republican or Loyalist feuds.

    Provisional IRA

    Billy Fox (Fine Gael) – wasn’t targeted
    James Fogarty (Official Sinn Féin) – killed as part of PIRA/OIRA feud
    Comgall Casey (Official Sinn Féin) – killed as part of PIRA/OIRA feud
    Thomas Wilson (Workers Party) – alleged informer

    Official IRA

    Hugh Ferguson (IRSP) – killed as part of a OIRA/INLA feud
    Paul Best (Sinn Féin) – killed as part of PIRA/OIRA feud
    Seamus Costello (IRSP) – killed as part of a OIRA/INLA feud

    UDA/UFF

    Herbert Rice (PUP) – killed as part of the UVF/UDA feud

    Disputed

    Eamon Kerry (Workers Party) – killed either by an OIRA member (due to an altercation) or the INLA due to the OIRA/INLA feud.

  28. Gerry Fitt was directly targeted by Republicans, but Fitt wasn’t a Nationalist like Mallon was and he was targeted probably because he seemed to be going Unionist after urging the British govt not to concede any of the 1981 hunger strikers’ demands and accepting a “Barony” or some such laurel from the British queen.

  29. I’ve just checked and have to change the above. The incident I was thinking of, when Fitt was targetted most seriously, was in 1976, long before the big hunger strike.

  30. Noel, Fitt’s house was attacked during a riot on the fifth anniversary of internment. Ir was then subsequently burned in 1983, some two years after he left the SDLP.

    I’m not sure if either incident qualifies as being ‘under threat from republican terrorists’ as claimed in the NYT article and it certainly wasn’t true for Mallon (or any other SDLP members that I’m aware of).

  31. Mallon lived all his life in Markethill which is majority unionist with plenty of IRA in the surrounding area.

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection. If you read Mallon’s book he was threatened several times. One reason the SDLP were a target for the IRA was that they were a testament to the lie that only violence was the way to achieve justice; they were examples of non-violent achievement. Many were middle class and university educated and were better advocates for people because of it. Hume used to say the education acts of the 1940s made the civil rights movement and the SDLP possible.

  32. One doesn’t have to be killed to be targeted. The IRA and other Republican groups were known for intimidation tactics (as where loyalist groups).

  33. Wow all these people targeted over many decades and not one, not a single one ever killed. Despite the fact that they would be easier to target. So Republicans can kill MPs literally in Parliament but could seem to get anyone living in nationalist areas.

    “The IRA and other Republican groups were known for intimidation tactics (as where loyalist groups).”

    You seem to have forgotten the biggest source of intimidation there.

  34. Seamus – no, I didn’t forget anyone, I’m just tired of typing in every bad actor in NI every comment to avoid the whatabout refrain.

    Also when I write targeted I don’t necessarily mean targeted to kill, intimidation can take many forms.

  35. I’d say that any young man in west Belfast at the time was much more at risk of being killed by the “security forces”, or abducted and tortured and/or murdered than Mallon was in Markethill.

  36. “Seamus – no, I didn’t forget anyone, I’m just tired of typing in every bad actor in NI every comment to avoid the whatabout refrain.”

    There were three main parties to the conflict. You named two. The only reasonable conclusion is that it was yet another failed attempt by yourself to gloss over the crimes of the state, who intimidated far more people than the two groups you named.

  37. Does that mean Mallon wasn’t the subject of death threats, intimidation and attacks on his home?

  38. Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

    Really? Please list them.

    One doesn’t have to be killed to be targeted. The IRA and other Republican groups were known for intimidation tactics

    This is what the NYT article said Mahons:

    Himself under threat from both loyalist murder gangs and republican terrorists, who regarded the nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party as sellouts or traitors

    That’s what I initially questioned. But ‘intimidation’ of course is different as it’s difficult to define much less prove as it’s largely a matter of individual perception. All I can say is that I lived in West Belfast in my childhood, my formative years and the vast majority of my adult life and the only peole I ever felt intimidated by were the British Army & RUC and I don’t see how it would have been much different for SDLP members.

  39. Paul – would you concede your personal experience might not be that of others in NI where the fact of intimidation from the IRA was not an unheard of event?

  40. SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA because they proved there was an alternative to violence. The SDLP largely brought about the Good Friday Agreement and then formed a government with the UUP. While the IRA and its followers were murdering people and blowing up buildings, the SDLP folks proved violence was not necessary, indeed it was counterproductive. The IRA would not be shown up by a bunch of lawyers, teachers and doctors and sought to silence them. Seamus Mallon and many others carried on in their peaceful and productive way and that is how Stormont came about. Now Stormont is run by two terrorist linked parties who unsurprisingly they fall out from time to time. It is a shame to see Stormont in its current shape after all the effort to make it work for both communities.

  41. As I can only speak for my own personal experiences Mahons I’ll of course concede that others may have had different experiences. As a matter of fact I’ve just remembered that I did feel intimidated outside the BA & RUC, SDLP councillor Brian Heading once made me feel intimidated at a polling station. What I see here is accusation and innuendo which is heavy on allegation and light on substance. Allegations of intimidation and targetting of the SDLP so numerous in fact that references seemingly can’t be found to corroborate them.

    SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA

    Really? you’ve previously stated above that:

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

    And like your allegation above I’d ask you again to list them.

  42. I think if anyone had an honest look at the Troubles, they’d have to agree on two things at least:
    that the IRA did massively intimidate a lot of people (as did many others of course), often with the threat of or actual violence.
    and that mainstream politicians, like SDLP member Mallon, were high profile and thus safe from attack from all quarters. (i.e. the NYT piece is wrong on several counts)

    The Troubles were actually rather unique among such conflicts in that assassination of high level political figures was relatively rare. It was almost always the plain people who suffered.

  43. he’ll be remembered for
    “sunningdale for slow learners”
    and was right, it took entrenched unionism 30 years to grow up
    Tony Blair amongst others got a grip, have to credit Aherne,Hume, adams,trimble,mcguiness,and paisley – sdlp weren’t really part of it , and i guess could rightly cry “we got no guns”, but we have relative peace , SF and SDLP share alot in common now . we’re in a better place

  44. Noel – we all know the as did many others caveat that has to be listed in every NI comment lest the partisans of any one side come whinging in. But the denial that one particular group engaged in intimitadion, namely the IRA, is what has been suggested here and is patently absurd on its face.

  45. In addition it is almost always the plain people who suffer in every conflict. But there where notable attacks and threats against high profile figures in the Troubles. The lack of success not a credit to the perpetrators. I don’t think anyone has to come to your conclusion that Malloy was safe from threats or attacks based on a factual review.

  46. //“sunningdale for slow learners”
    and was right, //

    Was he, kurt?

    Sunningdale, didn’t take into account Loyalism or Republicans; the fighting was still going one, British policy was still Unionist policy and the RoI didn’t have any real input into the running of NI.

    With people like Wm Congrave and Dr. C C O’Brien in the Dublin govt, no fair deal was possible.

    Soooo……..

    Footfalls echo in the memory
    Down the passage which we did not take
    Towards the door we never opened

  47. // The lack of success not a credit to the perpetrators. I don’t think anyone has to come to your conclusion that Malloy was safe from threats or attacks//

    Mahons, safe is relative. Look, Patrick was it seems even more at risk in S. Philly than a marine was in South Fallujah.

    The NYT piece is journalist melodramatics. Practically every kid in Belfast was more at risk than Mallon was in the quiet Markethill, where not one civilian was killed throughout the Troubles.
    (four people were killed in total: two British soldiers shot dead by the RUC, who mistook them for IRA members, and two RUC men killed by the INLA)

    And if the IRA or Loyalists had wanted to kill Mallon, they could easily have done so at any time.

    It always makes for very superficial reporting to rely on a subject’s own testimony of the risk he was at or of how brave he was. A very similar mistake BTW to what Keefe makes throughout the book that you reviewed recently.

  48. Into the rose-garden

    yeah i lost interest now in the past / troubles – forgive me 🙂

    the past is all deception , the future futureless, all is always now
    what might have been and what has been point to one end
    which is always present
    4 quartets . by Old possum aka TSEliot

  49. Into the rose-garden

    yeah i lost interest now in the past / troubles – forgive me 🙂

    the past is all deception , the future futureless, all is always now
    what might have been and what has been point to one end
    which is always present
    4 quartets . by Old possum aka TSEliot

  50. But the denial that one particular group engaged in intimitadion, namely the IRA, is what has been suggested here and is patently absurd on its face

    Just a second there Mahons, that can’t be allowed to go unchallanged.

    What is being questioned here is the claim that:

    Himself, (Mallon), under threat from both loyalist murder gangs and republican terrorists, who regarded the nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party as sellouts or traitors

    And that

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

    I don’t think that that’s the case at all and I don’t think that there’s any evidence to support such claims. As Noel states, if Mallon or any SDLP member had been under threat by the IRA that threat could have been brought to fruition in the blink of an eye.

    If you want to broaden the discussion to wider intimidation as I said above, it’s difficult to define much less prove as it’s largely a matter of individual perception. For example, some here have described SF electoral canvassing and offering transport to polling stations as ‘intimidation’, (even though every party in the NI state, including the SDLP, do this during elections).

    Others have described IRA ‘punishment beatings / shootings’ as a means to ‘intimidate’ the communities in which they resided. ‘Punishment beatings / shootings’ were a response to the RUC recruiting petty criminals in Republican areas as ‘ten pound touts’ and turning a blind eye to these thugs rampaging, wrecking and terrorising them.

    So, if beating, shooting and expelling criminal elements because the RUC were ignoring and possibly encouraging hard core criminal elements in Republican communities was ‘intimidation’ then it was an ‘intimidation’ that was enormously popular in those communities in the 70’s & 80’s.

    It wasn’t however ‘intimidation’ of a community.

  51. Sunningdale, didn’t take into account Loyalism or Republicans; the fighting was still going one, British policy was still Unionist policy and the RoI didn’t have any real input into the running of NI

    It also didn’t take into account that people were still vey much being arrested and interned without trial.

  52. Actually Noel the threats against Mallon have been supported by many others and there is no credible evidence that I’ve seen that he exaggerated or boasted of threats. Perhaps he should have been killed to convince you, but I’m glad he wasn’t and was able to annoy the supports and apologists for sectarian violence which I see he has managed to do even in death.

  53. Threats of violence and violence do not have to result in death to be real. Listen to the phrase if they had wanted to kill them they easily could have offered without irony AS A DEFENSE. The IRA and other Republican elements used intimidation tactics agains civilians with no criminal background throughout the Troubles and certain of those elements continue to do so.

  54. Once again, for the whatabout crowd so did loyalist, army and security forces. But no one is denying that here.

  55. I don’t know if that ‘whatabout crowd’ is in response to my 12.19 above Mahons but let me make something clear:

    What is being questioned here is the claim that:

    Himself, (Mallon), under threat from both loyalist murder gangs and republican terrorists, who regarded the nonviolent Social Democratic and Labour Party as sellouts or traitors

    And that

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

    That’s what I’m contesting. I don’t think that that’s the case at all and I don’t think that there’s any evidence to support such claims.

    As I say above, this thread is heavy on allegation and light on substance.

  56. I’m shocked shocked.

  57. //Actually Noel the threats against Mallon have been supported by many others //

    Let me guess: other SDLP members?

    You won’t find anyone neutral who knows much about the Troubles who would agree that SDLP members like Mallon were under threat from the IRA.

    The idea is obviously either completely partisan or from someone very far away from the reality of NI.

  58. Why did Mallon and other SDLP politicians have PSNI Close Protection Units looking out for them? They were under threat from terrorists.

    Anyone who thinks Markethill and the surrounding area is nice and quiet and was free of IRA and loyalist terrorists obviously does not know Markethill and the surrounding area.

    The IRA had it out for the SDLP because the SDLP showed the way to progress by non-violent means, and that endangered the IRA’s violent campaign along with its selective enrichment program for certain people.

  59. Republicans had it so out for the SDLP that, despite the fact that SDLP politicians normally lived in nationalist areas (except Mallon), despite easy access to them, and despite successfully killing far harder to reach targets (the INLA – not even the more competent Republicans – killed the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in Parliament, literally in the Palace of Westminster), they never managed to kill a single one of them.

    There are clearly different levels of gullibility. There is gullible and then there is what Mahons and New Yorker are doing on this thread.

  60. Why did Mallon and other SDLP politicians have PSNI Close Protection Units looking out for them?

    They didn’t. If you’re telling me that John Hume, Mark Durkan etc had cops sitting outside their houses then I think you’re making things up.

    I also know this wasn’t the case with the working premises of Alasdair McDonnell, the incredibley decent Joe Hendron and the home of Alban McGuinness.

    Other more minor SDLP politicians like Alex and Tim Atwood, Brian Feeney, Brian Heading etc lived in the SF stronghold of Andersonstown in West Belfast and didn’t have them either.

  61. Good stuff, Paul.

    Why do you call Joe Hendron “incredibley decent”? I’m sure he was, but do you have any particular experience of him?

  62. Paul McMahon

    “They didn’t. If you’re telling me that John Hume, Mark Durkan etc had cops sitting outside their houses then I think you’re making things up.” I said looking after them, not sitting outside their houses. When I have had visits from SDLP and other politicians the CPUs arrived with them and stayed on my property until completion of the visit.

  63. Seamus

    “There are clearly different levels of gullibility.” What level is your gullibility for republican propaganda? Based on the nonsense you spout I would say a high level.

  64. I said looking after them, not sitting outside their houses

    I asked you twice above to list these people.

    If you’re going to target someone isn’t the most logical place to target them at their home and / or place of residence? John Hendeon’s former medical surgery was in the middle of Divis Flats until the flats were demolished and it moved to the Twin Spires Centre on the junction of the Falls / Albert St/ Northumberland St and a hundred yards away from St Peter’s Cathedral in the lower Falls, where I was christened.

    I can say from first hand experience that the SDLP people I mention above never had a police guard on their professional addresses nor places of residence any time I passed them.

    Why do you call Joe Hendron “incredibley decent”

    He was my maternal grandmother’s GP Noel. An exceptionally warm, decent man.

  65. Apologies,

    […] at their home and / or place of work?

  66. This is a ridiculous argument. Not sure what the point is? Confirming that the provies were even “badder” than we already know them to be?

    On a personal note, I was never aware of SDLPers having protection…seems a bit counter-intuitive given their general view of the RUC…but they may have. I remember the mayor of Down District called into our house (still not sure why) and he certainly didnt have any protection. But then again, he was a small fish.

  67. Not sure what the point is?

    The point is Reg that the NYT article, Mahons & NYer have all claimed that SDLP politicians were targetted by the IRA and others and I are questioning this assertion.

  68. But they seem so invested in this assertion being correct.

    My point is – what does it matter? The IRA arent any less bad for not targeting them.

  69. Paul McMahon

    “I asked you twice above to list these people.” It is none of your business.

    Obviously you know little about protecting targeted people if you think sitting outside their house is a good idea. Security professionals survey the entire area that may include the house , office or surgery and they do it unobtrusively. The person being protected and the close protection unit are usually in frequent mobile communication. Cops sitting outside the house is something you might see in old movies but not the way security professionals operate today.

  70. Noel

    “The idea is obviously either completely partisan or from someone very far away from the reality of NI.” When is the last time you were in Markethill?

  71. It is none of your business

    No? Then why put it in the public domain?

    You’re apparently a security expert as well now.

    Your claims re CPU’s and the people I mention above are simply incorrect. I also suspect the claims you make above re CPUs when visiting your property are also entirely false and that you’re attempting an an argument ad ignorantium in order to justify them.

  72. Paul McMahon

    I did not mention any names, you requested them and I did not answer. You apparently cannot take a hint.

    You can believe what I have said or disbelieve it because it does not fit into your narrative.

    Do you agree that the IRA had motive to silence SDLP because they proved the IRA violent campaign not only wrong but unproductive as the SDLP without violence brought about the GFA and the current Stormont government?

  73. I agree that the IRA didn’t target the SDLP as the NYT, you & Mahons claim and the fact that there was not one attack on the SDLP by Republicans which you can demonstrate also clearly demonstrates.

    No the IRA did not have ‘motive’. The genesis of the GFA was of course the Hume / Adams talks in the late 80s which many in the SDLP including Mallon were vehemently opposed to.

  74. Why did SDLP politicians have CPU protection if they were not targeted? Were the PSNI just wasting resources? Have you read Seamus Mallon’s book?

    Adams had nothing to do with drawing up the GFA. He was a mongrel Hume took pity on, nothing more.

  75. Why did SDLP politicians have CPU protection if they were not targeted?

    I simply don’t believe your claims and moreso if you’re unwilling to name them as ‘none of my business’ Why did they not have CPU protection if they were targetted?

    The Hume / Adams talks in 88 were the genesis of the peace process which enabled the GFA as an essential part of it.

  76. “Why did they not have CPU protection if they were targetted?” They did have CPU protection. I witnessed it. As I said, it does not fit your narrative so you don’t believe it.

    Again, Adams had nothing to do with drawing up the GFA, it was largely done by SDLP people. Hume brought the mongrel in from the rain, and I believe that was a mistake by Hume. Hume thought it would result if less loss of life if he did so, he did not do it to confer with Adams on how to draw up the GFA and establish Stormont. As to less loss of life vs loss of principle, the jury is out.

  77. They did have CPU protection. I witnessed it

    Yeah, we only have your word for it though whereas supposedly targetted SDLP members who lived and worked for donkey’s years in Republican strongholds without any problems whatsoever.

    Well okay then.

    Again, Adams had nothing to do with drawing up the GFA

    The Hume / Adams talks of 88, which many within the SDLP including Mallon where vehemently opposed to, were the genesis of the peace process which enabled the GFA as an essential part of it. You’re obviously unaware of the historical choreography so this from CAIN should help you in your understanding right to to just before the GFA was ratified by referenda:

    https://cain.ulster.ac.uk/events/peace/talks.htm#intro

  78. //Adams had nothing to do with drawing up the GFA, it was largely done by SDLP people. //

    Don’t be ridiculous. The GFA was drawn up by lawyers working for the British and Irish governments.

  79. “Yeah, we only have your word for it” You mentioned Alasdair McDonnell above. Ask the good doctor if he contacts the PSNI re the CPU when they visit his wife’s family in Keady.

    The important talks were in 1996, not 1988. I’m quite informed about the drawing up of the GFA. You should read “End Of Term Report” by Paddy O’Hanlon for an inside view to supplement CAIN.

    I have you at at least one advantage in that I have actually read Seamus Mallon’s book and you appear not to. You can get it on Amazon. It is a good book and will give you a better understanding of NI from a peaceful man which may be something you are lacking.

  80. Ask the good doctor if he contacts the PSNI re the CPU when they visit his wife’s family in Keady.

    I’d prefer to ask him where the CPU are when he’s at his surgery on the lower Ormeau Road.

    The important talks were in 1996, not 1988

    Hume / Adams was the genesis of the peace process which enabled the GFA as an essential part of it. This can’t be denied as the CAIN article demonstrates-

    I’m quite informed about the drawing up of the GFA

    Yeah, sure,

    >Adams had nothing to do with drawing up the GFA, it was largely done by SDLP people.

    Don’t be ridiculous. The GFA was drawn up by lawyers working for the British and Irish governments

    Mallon’s book has no bearing whatsoever on your claim that

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

  81. “I’d prefer to ask him where the CPU are when he’s at his surgery on the lower Ormeau Road.” Go ahead. Let us know what he says.

    “Mallon’s book has no bearing whatsoever on your claim that” You would have to had read the book to write that sentence and you have not acknowledged you have read it.

    “Hume / Adams was the genesis of the peace process which enabled the GFA as an essential part of it. This can’t be denied as the CAIN article demonstrates.” Have you read the O’Hanlon book on the subject? Probably not which means you only have the CAIN article to go by. “which enabled the GFA as an essential part of it” says nothing. Just the useless ramblings of a geriatric republican, I’m afraid.

  82. More argument ad ignoratium.

    Unless Mallon’s book changes the laws of time & physics and puts police protection outside the homes and work premises of those prominent SDLP people I speak of above or can give specific details of attacks by Republicans on SDLP members it does nothing to support your allegation that:

    Many of the SDLP politicians were targeted by the IRA and for that reason had police protection

    Have you read the O’Hanlon book on the subject?

    No, but much like Mallon’s book unless it contradicts the well established timeline of choreography leading up to the GFA and the Hume / Adams talks in Clonard Monastery for most of 88 which were the genesis of the peace process and enabled the GFA as an essential part of it then it does nothing to bolster whatever vague point it is you’re trying to make with it.

  83. The efforts of Republicans and their supporters to play down their history of violence and intimidation continues, Mallon spent his life calling them out on it, did anyone think they would forgive him in death?

  84. Mahons, if you have evidence to support the issue at hand, your and others’ allegations that the IRA targetted SDLP members, you’re welcome to produce it.

  85. I have you at at least one advantage in that I have actually read Seamus Mallon’s book and you appear not to. You can get it on Amazon. It is a good book and will give you a better understanding of NI from a peaceful man which may be something you are lacking.

    Ouch!

    And.. Ouch again!