I don’t know about you but everytime I see the beginning of a football match (and believe me, I try to avoid them like the plague, not easy in a sport loving household) there is always a minutes silence in respect of someone having died and black armbands are the order of the day. I read this story yesterday…
Relatives of victims of the Loughinisland atrocity have said they are overwhelmed at the Republic of Ireland team’s plan to wear armbands to mark the 18th anniversary of the shootings. Six Catholic men were shot dead in the sectarian massacre in the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, Co Down, on June 18, 1994, as the Republic played Italy at the World Cup in America. Now at the upcoming Euro 2012 tournament, the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has revealed organisers Uefa gave permission for the team to wear the armbands, during a game between both teams 18 years on.
Well, one has to wonder why football players from the Irish Republic seek to play “tribute” to one particular group of terrorist victims from another country. The Loughinisland massacre was appalling, of course, and there is no harm in remembering the vile acts of the UVF. Mind you, the UVF have subsequently become “heroes” of the process, so a little bit of inconsistency there maybe? But why have the Irish Football Association chosen NOT to wear black arm bands in memory of other atrocities, for example those carried out by the IRA? Might this actually belie a sectarian motivation? If we checked the history, I am sure the IRA were out killing when the Republic of Ireland were playing other football games.
Personally, I would ban ALL black arm bands from any football game – unless it is player of the team that has died. Trying to import grief, as in this case, raises more issues than it solves in my view.
I would have hanged those who carried out the killings at Loughinisland. The Irish Government was keen to support a process that saw the killers set free from prison. To now want to “mark” the event in this way seems…mawkish.