77 8 mins 14 yrs

Right, I want to take a few moments of your time to talk about something which cuts to the heart of the entire Northern Ireland issue, so I hope you will read this and think about it no matter where you are in the world.

If you read nothing else from me today please please read this.

lamon203.jpgFirst, the facts of the matter. On the 17th February 1978, the IRA set off a bomb at the La Mon House Hotel, near Belfast.  On that fateful evening members of the Irish Collie Dog club were holding a dinner dance function at the hotel. The IRA bomb was designed to cause carnage and it succeeded beyond the terrorists wildest dreams. It created a nightmare.  A firestorm was created in the small hotel, incinerating 12 people. Those who were not incinerated were shredded with glass and brick.

Three married couples perished in the flames that night. Amongst them was 25 year old Elizabeth McCracken, along with with her husband Ian. Her father, Ernie, was also present that night and this is his last memories of his daughter and son-in-law….

"Elizabeth was an only child. She had beautiful blue eyes. We were attending the dinner dance of the Irish Collies Club. I was club secretary. The event was an annual one and we went to a different hotel every year. That year, 1978, we chose the La Mon House Hotel, near Comber, Co Down. Elizabeth really did look very pretty that night; she was wearing a peach chiffon dress with a fur bolero.

Her husband of 18 months, Ian, had bought her the dress as a present.

Ian’s mother, Peggy, was sitting at a table with Ernie and myself, while Elizabeth and Ian sat at a table close by with another young couple. Ernie had wanted us all to sit together, but there wasn’t enough room at either of the tables.

We were served our first course around 8.45pm and the waiting staff were lifting our dishes at around 9pm when the fire bomb exploded. It was like the sun had exploded in front of my very eyes – a huge, bright fireball of light and the most deafening noise. Then, the flames came . . . They kept rising higher and higher. People were on fire. They were rolling around on the floor trying to put the flames out.

Nobody knew what was happening. The lights had gone out and we couldn’t see. People were getting up out of their seats, squealing and panicking. But, Ernie and I were glued to the spot. We didn’t know what to make of it – or what to do. Someone pushed us forward and kept pushing us out through the kitchen. It was full of broken crockery. Everything was smashed and ruined. A man grabbed a pair of curtains to wrap around his wife because she was on fire.

Then, we were outside, but Elizabeth and Ian were nowhere to be found. I thought they were coming behind me – they weren’t sitting that far away from us so they should have made it outside shortly after us. I kept saying, Elizabeth, Elizabeth . . . I want Elizabeth. Where is she? I can’t find her . . .’

We searched everywhere that night in a blind panic. There were few telephones in those days, so we searched all the hospitals in Belfast and different police stations.

We were at Dundonald police station around 5.30am when we found out the remains of Elizabeth and Ian had been discovered. They were lying incinerated inside.

What more can I say? It would break the strongest heart. If you are a father reading this, just imagine this was your daughter you were speaking about. 18 months married – incinerated by the IRA. 

Another survivor, Lynette Holt, had this to say..

"I remember a bang and seeing flames all over the dance area, someone pushed me under the table. Then the lights went out. My best friend, Christine Lockhart, was sitting next to me. I don’t know what happened to her. I knew if she fell, she wouldn’t get up without help because she had an artificial leg.

The girl behind me was killed, and my husband, David, was blasted halfway across the room. A man came out onto the dance floor, he was completely on fire . . . like a torch. Then my husband pulled the table off me and shouted at me to come on. I put my hands out to see if I could find Christine. I wanted to drag her towards the kitchen. The smoke and flames were like plastic burning. You couldn’t breath. I knew that if I didn’t get out I would suffocate. I was in a pitch black cloud of smoke, and all around me were people screaming and panicking. The heat was indescribable. I felt my back was on fire."

You hear a lot on the net from certain IRA sympathisers who talk about the IRA’s courageous war. In reality it was a squalid filthy terror campaign. This is the true measure of their wickedness.  I would ask them to not bother with the excuses because there are none. 

As we approach the 30th anniversary of this horrific event, comes the news that Dr Ian Paisley has been asked to STAY AWAY from a memorial service for those who died. They, like me and many others, are disgusted that he cavorts with one of those allegedly behind this savage terrorist attack.

adams.jpgWho might THAT be, you ask? Let me quote the following…this is from the House of Commons debate on 13th February 2003.

There are many unanswered questions and many people to be called to account. I believe that the victims of La Mon cannot simply put this chapter behind them until such time as they obtain answers to their questions. There should be no cover-ups and no one should be above the law. The police are certain that the attack was sanctioned and approved by Gerry Adams who was then in command of those who are known to have carried it out.

The speaker was DUP MP Mrs Iris Robinson. She now shares power with Gerry Adams. And it is the REVULSION that so many of us feel at the betrayal of the dead at La Mon AND many other places that makes us turn our back on the First Minister. Victims aren’t given awards, victims aren’t lauded in the media and have movies made about them. No, they are forgotten, inconvenient statistics.

Well, NOT here. I support those families of those murdered at La Mon House in their decision to tell Ian Paisley and the other betrayers to stay away from this sombre memorial. Time passes, the guilty have never been caught, and justice has not been done. We must not forget what happened at La Mon House – no matter which politicians it offends.

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  1. "Irish Collie Club"!!!! what was a foreign dog club doing having a function in the loyal province?

  2. A criminal and cowardly act. The families should be able to have anyone they want appear at the memorial service and if they want to exclude Paisley so be it. However, I would suggest his exclusion from any gathering of decent people was warranted well before his reent turn around given his carrying on. Paisley was a disruptive bigot well before his recent accomodations.

  3. Not a time or place for jokes, Dub. This was horror of the worst kind and scale.

    I read once that UDA man Michael Stone was a normal guy at the time, even had a Catholic girlfriend. He was walking past La Mon when it exploded and helped dig through the rubble looking for survivors. I always had some kind of sympathy for him since, as that kind of experience would unhinge the most stable mind.

    On the political question. It’s not clear how many of the survivors/families are agaist Paisley’s presence. The DUP is at any rate the largest party in the local council, voted there after it was clear they would share power with Sinn Fein.

  4. How terrible – so cowardly, and yet there are those who still have trouble defining terrorism, and worse – try to excuse it!…

  5. Mahons,

    He may have been that, but he was not a terrorist godfather authorising atrocities at La Mon. The man who did that is now feted by peace processors. Elizabeth McCracken and her husband Ian lie in their grave. What price justice???????????????

  6. >>there are those who still have trouble defining terrorism<<

    Identifying one example as terrorism is easy; defining it is something else altogether.

  7. David: I’ve never equated Paisley, however vile he was (not "may" have been), with folks who did the actual killing on either side. But not sinking all the way to their level doesn’t excuse him for the things he did and say.

  8. Noel,

    Surely the act is the defining factor, the only trouble is finding an acceptable excuse to feed the gullible.

  9. Mahons,

    Fully agree.


    The real issue is why no one has ever been convicted of this crime. The dead cry out for justice but most of the political class want to look the other way.

  10. David: I’ll go you one better in that it isn’t merely that no one wasn’t convicted of this horrible crime, but that they weren’t even condemned by their own and that those who continue to support the IRA (and we know they still have their support) wouldn’t have been turned off by this and other such instances.

  11. Mahons,

    Yes indeed. There were so many horrendous terror acts committed taking the lives of so many innocent people, Protestant and Roman Catholic and yet so very few convictions. There is no honour in protecting terrorists.

  12. Whatever justification the IRA felt about their violent campaign , this incident should have made them decide it just isn’t worth this pain and horror. Even if we accept that perhaps they didn’t mean all those poor people to perish , the very risk that each bomb placed in crowded places could end in such horror should have made them think, No, never, we can’t ever risk this again. That they didn’t end their violence after La Mons demonstrates how heartless fanatical and vicious they were.

  13. Colm,

    They did it time after time. You will know about what happened at the cenotaph in Enniskillen, at a cross-roads nr Bessbrook …so much inhumanity. Our lives are short on this planet and there is no room to tolerate terrorism from any source. I feel so sorry for the families that suffered so much at La Mon, and the words of Elizabeth McCracken’s Dad break my heart.

  14. One thing that distinguishes the IRA from liberation groups and puts it squarely among the terrorists is that it never had any internal strictures for those who killed members of the local population, but was vicious in dealing with the slightest act that damaged its own interests.
    Borrow one of your unit’s weapons for a night, talk loosely about some operation or even criticise the leadership, and you could expect a kneecapping at best.
    But blow 10 helpless individuals to bits and it’s…"Hey, lad, next time try to give an earlier warning, will ye?"

  15. David

    The recent victims of republican murderers will also suffer the pain of the killers getting away with it. Does anyone imagine that the murderers of Robert McCartney, Denis Donaldson or Paul Quinn will ever face justice? Never mind the Omagh bombers, who have been home free for years.

    The Garda claim to be following "1,000 leads" in the recent Quinn murder. Well, here’s a safe bet: none of those leads will lead to a connviction of any of the 10 (or so) murderers involved.

  16. One of the great failings in certain circles of my own community (Irish-American) has been a blind eye to these type of acts. Another topic for another thread, but one worth mentioning at least imo because that is a side of the story which gets virtually no play over here.

  17. I think the people need to tell Paisley and all his sidekicks that they ALL are not welcome.
    This article is a timely reminder as Paisley now wants us all to forget about these savage acts to bolster his global image and his companionship with murderers.

  18. Nigel,

    Peter Robinson visited the scene and knows first hand how bad it was. He shares political office with a man whom his wife alleges authorised the blitzkreig, what does THAT make him?

  19. The fact the relatives told Paisley not to attend the service would suggest he wanted to be there.
    How low can he go he who laughs with chiefs of ira thugs who carried out this carnage.Next week he may twist a biblical text to suit his own sick ego about how he was hurt by not being invited.My sincere sympathies go out to these people,their wounded spirits never heal.It will be a very happy day Paisley and all his lying henchmen are booted out of office.Paisley has not changed time and opportunity has revealed the true fraud he and his mates really are.The majority of unionists resent this man and his disgusting antics

  20. The criticism of Ian Paisley should be that five years before LaMon he and others destroyed the power-sharing executive. If that had been allowed to succeed then we would have had a different and better history. And Sinn Fein would never have been in power.

    It is well to remember that those who object to Gerry Adams in government now couldn’t accept Gerry Fitt in 1973 either.

    These were the advocates of a military victory over the IRA. Do they take any responsibility for the failure of that policy and the wasted years and lives it caused?

    The believers in a military solution are now a tiny disgruntled minority on both sides. It is no harm to remember that we should never again listen to them.

  21. Colm,

    No. There are more unionists who choose NOT to vote than vote for the Paisley goon squad. Also, remember Paisley stood for election suggesting he would not share power with the IRA. The volte-face came AFTER the election results. Since then we have had two Party conferences cancelled by the DUPES for some odd reason,


    Gerry Fitt didn’t authorise the slaughter of 12 innocent people through incineration. The rage of those who lost loved ones at La Mon is directed at Paisley because of who he now cavorts with, but it was ADAMS who allegedly authorised the murders, if Irish Robinson is to believed.

  22. David

    Gerry Fitt didn’t authorise the slaughter of 12 innocent people through incineration.

    That’s my point. Unionists should have shared power with Fitt in 1973. Agreed? Or were you one of those that helped bring it down?

  23. Dreadful, but necessary, reading.

    It has its similarities to the eyewitness accounts of the 2002 Bali bombing.

    An atrocity, yes, committed by those who fully intended to commit an atrocity.

  24. Phantom,

    What did they hope to gain, apart from a terrorized population?

    Such savagery was hardly conducive to persuading others to accepting a united Ireland. Quite the contrary I should think.

  25. henry94 certainly sharing power with gerry fitt would in hind sight have been
    vastly more preferable than this sick unaccountable crowd of frauds called our government.
    Paisley then was not the position of power which he has gained through deceit and character asasination,that`s why he opposed sunningdale.The brits revealed in papers of the time ,
    believed they could do business with Paisley when he became top dog/ poddle etc- pick your animal.
    I hold the opinion that majority rule is the best solution ,bearing in mind any referendum on the status of Northern Ireland will use such system.If it is good for that then it is suitable for gvt selection.

  26. If I lost someone in this act of intentional depravity — or in the acts of depravity committed by the others, all walking tall in their respective communities — I’d have the hardest time imaginable forgiving them. Especially when, as here, those who are responsible have not even admitted culpability, accepted blame, or asked for forgiveness.

    General blather about being sorry that people "died in armed struggle" — or the equally vaguer than vague statements from ministers in other situations — are non-apologies, non-statements of the utmost insincerity.

    Those who burned these people alive, or who blew up or shot innocents in the other situations that all here know of — are worthy of no respect in this life or the next.

    To the victims and to their families, this agnostic gives the most sincere "God Bless" I am capable of.

  27. Well said, David.
    There have been calls for a definition of terrorism on ATW – here’s mine:
    Whereas legitimate military forces engage each other in battle, the strategy of terrorists is to deliberately target innocent civilians. This is done with a view to frightening (terrorising) the civilian population into demanding that their governments capitulate to the terrorists’ demands, in order to stop the violence. Terrorists rely on civilian populations blaming their own governments rather than the terrorists themselves for their atrocities. Although military forces understand full well that the only way to defeat an enemy is by the use of superior and overwhelming force against them, terrorist groups bank on the fact that civilians will not understand this point, and will "do anything for a quiet life" (ie, they will prefer to tell their government to effectively surrender, rather than suffer the inconveniences of warfare).

  28. A truely horrible event.

    To lose someone from such an event that need not happen would be a devastating event in anyone’s life. My heart goes out to the families.

  29. James

    I hold the opinion that majority rule is the best solution

    Me too, except I’d apply it to the island as a whole.

    But nobody is getting their first choice because we need both communities and both governments to agree.

    There are many valid criticisms of the system but nobody has a workable alternative.

  30. Oh, good idea. Let’s go through all the worst atrocities of the past 40 years and see who can tell the saddest stories. Maybe post a few pictures too. Wise up. Terrible things happened, perpetrated by all sides. The question is, do you want to stop more terrible things happening, or are you going to stand on the sidelines hurling insults and accusations all the time? Up at Stormont they’re arguing about how many millions to spend on housing, health and education. That’s got to be better than talking about the latest bombing or shooting.

  31. Aoife,

    Tripe. The family of those incinerated by the IRA have a right to justice. Time does not alter that. Nor does it sanitise the actions of the IRA unit which murdered these people, a unit which reported to Gerry Adams. I appreciate that may be a tad awkward for those who think the biggest priority is how much taxpayers money should be wasted at Stormont, but cuts no ice with me.

  32. JM

    I wouldn’t call myself an apologist for anyone, all loss of life in the conflict is regretable, some here seek to creat a heirarchy of victims, placing those murdered by the state and with state collusion firmly at the bottom of the pile.

    The Provisional IRA, whether you appreciate that or not, have apologised for loss of civilian lives during the war. The British security forces have yet to acknowledge let alone apologise for their own atrocities such as (and very poignant this week) Bloody Sunday.

    As I said all loss of life is equally tragic, whether or not I comment on certain threads here won’t change that, and out of respect for those who died in Le Mon and other places I won’t use their deaths in a personal battle on the internet to score points against you.

  33. Through the years Paisley and the likes of Willie McCrea attended countless funerals of victims of the IRA.
    Looking back on it now, with hindsight,it’s hard to see whether such attendances where expressions of true grief, solidarity with the families or part of a cynical public relations exercise; it’s a question which can only be truly answered in their own consciences.

    But what is clear with this La Mon Commemoration was that Paisley’s planned attendance was completely insensitive and cynical. Paisley has made his choice and gone into government (and actually appears to be enjoying the experience) with the same people who have the ultimate responsibility for La Mon- that’s not conjecture, it’s fact. Surely even someone as thick-skinned as he is should have been able to see why his attendance at such a memorial would have been inappropriate?

  34. I put off reading this because i knew it would upset me and it did. And honestly after watching those animals with machetes in Kenya on the revolting news last night I wasn’t sure i could read this aswell. I can’t bear it but it needs to be said David

    ‘the IRA’s courageous war’

    Vile wicked cowardly pieces of shit. I cannot believe Gerry Adams sits up there as he does and people think that is somehow okay. Bunch of worthless platitudes on offer via Paisley and co as the price for peace. What about justice?

    "Victims aren’t given awards, victims aren’t lauded in the media and have movies made about them. No, they are forgotten, inconvenient statistics"

    Really well put David.

  35. What’s with the apparent support for Majority rule?

    Everything about La Mon that’s been said in this topic I agree with. As a nationalist, Sinn Fein makes me feel very uncomfortable. I can’t don’t like in particular Ogra Sinn Fein who are complete ****-stirrers.

    Maybe I’m reading into it wrong, but by majority rule do you guys basically mean rule by Unionism? I thought pretty much nobody in Northern Ireland held this view anymore.

  36. By the way, as much as i dislike both the DUP and Sinn Fein, I still support power sharing at present,there doesn’t seem to be any other alternative. Majority rule is not an alternative. That’s what pretty much caused all this BS in the first place.

  37. Go to Lost Lives and you’ll find that atrocity anniversaries are depressingly regular events. I look forward to you waxing passionate about all the other ones as well. I must warn you, though, that you won’t have time for much else. Or is it just IRA atrocities that get you up on your high horse?

  38. Alison,

    Thanks. It was upsetting for me writing it but it’s one of those things I think needs to be done. When O read comments like Aoife, it depresses me as I thought (perhaps naively) that all civilised people could unite in revulsion at the La Mon atrocity and share the disgust at Paisley’s decision-making.


    I am revolted by all terrorist acts here. I have regularly criticised UDA, UVF etc. But I suspect you may struggle accepting that terrorists ARE terrorists. For example, the man who is alleged to have authorised the La Mon bombing – is he a terrorist leader or not?

  39. "I conclude there was collusion in both murders [Finucane and Lambert] and the circumstances surrounding them. Collusion is evidenced in many ways. This ranges from the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, through to the extreme of agents being involved in murder." Stevens, 2006.

    In such a society, David, what meaning does the word ‘terrorist’ have? None, I believe. Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? You insist on painting images in black and white, when in fact the truth consists of countless hues and shades. Republican and loyalist paramilitaries carried out abominable acts; so did the British state in its many official and quasi-official manifestations. You don’t accept that, of course, any more than I accept the ‘few rotten apples’ theory. You say you have repeatedly condemned loyalist paramilitaries, but giving out about the UDA and the UVF is not much use when you refuse to accept that their RUC and British army handlers are equally culpable.

  40. Aoife,

    You have to ask what meaning the word "terrorist" has? How about it meaning the scum behind the La Mon bombing? The scum behing the cenotaph bombing in Enniskillen? The scum behind the Greysteel massacre?

    Oh – hang on a second – they are all advocates of the "peace process" – aren’t they? And what’s a little carnage between friends.

    In true republican mope mode, you try to imply that the State was as bad as the terrorists that were killing all those thousands of innocent people. Well, in one way you are right – the State failed to kill enough murdering terrorist scum. But if it had done that I guess the benches n Stormont would look a lot lighter? I mean, there might even be a vacancy amongst the Chuckle Brothers.

  41. David

    It’s because people like him romanticize it. Paramilitaries turn them on. Like the animals in Kenya who have lost their humanity they think they are serving some higher purpose ignoring violent fantasies or having a dig at you for reminding us there are better sides to humanity.

  42. Steady, David. Breathe in the nose and slowly out the mouth. Better? Good. So we’ve moved from terrorists to scum now, have we? Fine, that’s really helping things along. I note you fail to address a single substantive point I made, preferring instead to go off on one. Just out of interest, did anybody who ever pulled on a British uniform ever do anything that might qualify them as scum?

  43. Daithio

    I don’t believe i mentioned your name at all in my previous post?

    Recently, some of the comments made in this blog by apologists for terrorists have been revolting.

    The IRA have apologised! Big Deal. Crocodile tears mean absolutely nothing. If they are so sorry then maybe they could name those responsible for atrocities like La Mon, and hand them over to the authorities. After all they now support the Police, don’t they?

    Problem is there would be a lot of empty seats up at Stormont if they did.

  44. Oh, good idea. Let’s go through all the worst atrocities of the past 40 years and see who can tell the saddest stories. Maybe post a few pictures too. Wise up. Terrible things happened, perpetrated by all sides.


    Correct me if you wrong but this comment implies to me that you think if we should all “move on", the “past is best forgotten”, attrocities swept under the carpet for the fear that it might upset the Peace Process or disturb all our leaders as they spend all those millions on our behalf up there in Stormont.

    If that’s the case then why the spirited defence of Patricia McBride on the other thread?

    If we’re to airbrush our past, there is no need of victims’ commissioners either.

    Do you also complain in a similiar fashion on Irish republican sites when they focus on, for example, Bloody Sunday?

    Or, like them, is it only certain parts of our recent history that you wish to see airbrushed?

  45. A very important post. The two eyewitness accounts portray a civilized evening turned into a flaming graveyard by murderous fanatics. It could not be more black and white. That all involved in this murder conspiracy have not been tried and put behind bars is a travesty of justice for the families involved and also for society because very few murderers stop being murderers except if there a time when it is advantageous not to but, as their nature has not changed, they will revert to murder when seen as advantageous, as recently in the case of Paul Quinn. There are many surviving murderers that deserve the same treatment they meted out to their victims.

    A specific horrible instance, such as LaMons, of murderous savagery and its baleful results should concentrate minds on the evil of the act. Some above commentators seem incapable of that and digress into excuse making and they would be better to be quiet than belie their shallowness and incivility.

  46. You’re darned right there, New Yorker. The NI "peace process" is a fraud, a complete sham. The IRA are still murdering scum and have not changed one bit since the 70’s. Oh, sure, they’ve pretended to put away their guns and are playing at being toy politicians right now, but the moment they find that their little fantasy role-playing game is not delivering the results they aim for, mark my words they will revert back to slaughtering innocent civilians once more.

  47. Aoife,

    Hi. Once you’ve made a substantive point, I’ll think about addressing it. Now – close the blinds and lie down and forget a little more of that pesky past..

  48. Another dark day!

    Three married couples lost in this has echoes in The Poppy Day Massacre. When so many commentators after the bomb that took my mother were saying how this as so awful that surely it would have to be the end of it. I got annoyed for the La Mon victims. Was this not bad enough for anyone, even if indidual lives picked off wasn’t sufficiently shocking.

    There as a programme on marking the 10th anniversary and it was harrowing watching. One of the victims was talking about how no one really cared anymore and made reference to the response to Enniskillen (which had been just a few months earlier) and saying but soon no one will care about that either. Everyone just wants to forget and gloss over it.

    My thoughts with the victims. I’m sure there are still raw emotions. May the dead RIP and may the living find comfort.

  49. Oneill, thank you for that. I appreciate you concentrating on the argument rather than going off on a rant, which I have to say is rare on this site.

    I don’t imply that atrocities should be swept under the carpet. I think the authorities should continue to pursue those responsible for obscenities such as La Mon while the victims’ commissioners continue with their important work too. The problem is, of course, that if those behind La Mon appear in court and get life in jail, then they’ll go in one turnstile and out the other thanks to the Good Friday Agreement. Some victims may wish to say that, others might find it unbearably traumatic. It’s all dreadfully painful and complex.Personally speaking, I lost a loved one some years and have no interest in seeing the killer in a court of law. That’s just me. Not even everyone in my own immediate family agrees with that. That’s how difficult this subject is. There are thousands of people out there who have different wants and needs both from the criminal justice system and our four new victims’ commissioners. Not everyone is going to get what they want and therefore while I believe that nothing should be airbrushed and have never argued for that, I do feel strongly that key people should be working to lower expectations of what is possible. Lastly, Irish republican sites will focus on Irish republican issues, just as this site focuses on unionist issues. It’s in the nature of things. I contribute to many debates in many fora, the only common theme of my contributions is that I abhor violence and I try at all times to avoid rancour and hate speech.

  50. Aoife,

    Attagirl. A measured and thoughtful response to the raving ranters. The world needs more like you.

  51. From New Yorker:

    "should concentrate minds on the evil of the act"

    But it didn’t did it. Aoife is testament to that.

    Seriously David – your latest posts around this topic have been superb. Keep it up. The world needs more like YOU!

  52. Aoife

    Extending the issue of justice for victims beyond N.I for a second I disagree 100% with your sentiments about justice (personally speaking from experience). It is of the upmost importance that justice is pursued and seen to be done. Always. David’s post addresses that very important issue.

  53. Alison,

    "It is of the upmost importance that justice is pursued and seen to be done."

    Fair enough. But where do we draw the line? How much may it cost, and what would be a sensible cut-off date should justice prove elusive?

  54. Dawkins

    I think we are still pursuing Nazi war criminals so as long as it takes.

    The issues with justice we have are shocking

    No one held accountable to cruel needless inhuman brutality and it ellicts a shoulder shrug – not only that but terrorists sisters are given jobs and people involved are rewarded with office.

    It’s the same elswehere

    A kid bludgeons another kid to death with a crowbar in Glasgow – he gets 7 years (not life)

    A woman rips of a mans balls in an angry drunk argument gets 2 years. A man who is a known woman hater rapes a woman, scores her back 7 times with a 6 inch blade and gets 1.5 years with time already spent taken into account.

    Soldiers in Iraq are hauled up in front of tribunals for thumping street rioters who had earlier on been out attacking soldiers and chucking petrol bombs at them whilst the soldiers aren’t allowed to respond. The rioters aren’t held to account.

    We could at least try to balance justice.

  55. The problem is, of course, that if those behind La Mon appear in court and get life in jail, then they’ll go in one turnstile and out the other thanks to the Good Friday Agreement

    Thankfully I’m too young to have experienced the very worst of the Troubles and I can only imagine how the families and friends must have felt when they saw the release of prisoners under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. But that’s what the majority of the population voted for, so even although I personally believe it to be morally wrong, as a democrat, I have to accept that in all likelihood what you say is true regarding prosecuting those who carried out such atrocities as La Mon.

    In the perfect “Peace process”, then it wouldn’t really matter what side of the community the victims came from, but in the real one we’ve been lumbered with, Sinn Fein and the various “republican” victims groups represent the victims solely from their side of the fence. And they do that particular job well. But by doing so, they are also slowly but surely attempting to rewrite history, in the hope that future generations will see a heroic struggle against the imperialist Brits instead of the grubby murderous and sectarian reality behind events like La Mon and Enniskillen.

    In contrast, political Unionism has completely let down the victims from their side of community, so that they are left with a deeply flawed figure such as Willie Fraser to articulate their fears and anger. The sad truth is that it is no longer politically expedient for our Establishment (which now includes people like Paisley) that we hear about what really happened during the Troubles. It is up to those personally affected whether they can forgive those who took away their loved ones, but it up to the rest of us to ensure that the true nature of what happened during the Troubles is never forgotten. And in the absence of anyone else in the media or elsewhere really making that much of an effort,then David Vance is perfectly justified to put up a post like this one

  56. Alison,

    I agree. Justice should be pursued even if it’s a vain hope. I hear what you’re saying about the war criminals. Wasn’t one more arrested a week or so ago?


    David is indeed perfectly justified. His post is also helpful for chaps like me who managed to miss all the horror. I’m understanding it by degrees, and grateful that outrages like La Mon are in the past.

  57. I don’t know Dawkins but in the same way we are shoving Islamic terrorists in prison (which we are, see today’s news) these guys deserve the same. Otherwise we may as well wrap up the issue with Islamist terrorism by suggesting American bigwigs mediate and appease Osama for the sake of world peace and to keep the Arabs happy, give them all a light slap on the wrist and make a few politicians ‘just to get on’.

  58. Great comments, Aoife. You stuck to the issue and made your points well while others ranted at you. Alison’s ‘outrage’ is in short supply when ‘our boys’ commit the latest act of savagery in whatever part of the world they’re poking their unwanted noses into.

    The idea of a hierarchy of victims, so evident here, is horrible.

    I challenge all to ask David to define terrorism and actually get an answer. For somebody who uses the term so much he falls very quiet when posed with this question. Kind of damages his argument, no?

    Warning: he sometimes provides a list when repeatedly asked for a definition. But as we all know, that won’t do!

  59. i remember the feeling of disbelief and sadness i felt after LA MON its still with me all these years on.I can only shed a tear and pray for the souls of the deceased and also pray for peace of mind for the relatives left behind.Sad to see the useless politicians who brought the society we lived in to its knees still finger pointing and dancing on graves to score points.May God forgive you all!

  60. To all surviving relatives and friends of the victims of LA MON and the other attrocities. It may be of some comfort to you to know that although people like me will never be seen on TV or in PARLIAMENT my thoughts and prayers go out to you.I won’t pretend to feel your pain but rest assured i’ve shared it.The strange thing about this whole ghastly experience is although we may grieve,it’s a reminder that we have a soul and we are human beings in the true sense.And therefore we can live in the light and resist the dark.GODS BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU.

  61. Alison’s ‘outrage’ is in short supply when ‘our boys’ commit the latest act of savagery in whatever part of the world they’re poking their unwanted noses into.

    What a load of bollocks DC…do you read the papers.

  62. Northern Irelands politicians have a unique talent for causing social unrest.Look at Iris Robinson.The decent people never stood a chance years ago with dinosaurs like Paisley etc.Unfortunately now we have the same circus with different clowns.

  63. It’s true– no retarded politicians– no breeding ground for terrorists—- no terrorists no bombings— no bombings no tragedies.It’s as simple as that!

  64. The IRA was never an army in any proper sense and the terrorist campaign that it ran against ordinary civilians was never a war. The IRA is a gang of civilian thugs who have been rewarded and appeased for murder. The British Army could have wiped out the IRA in a few hours if there had been a real war. Furthermore, even the slightest scrutiny shows that the IRA always had a deliberate policy of targeting civilians.
    There is no precedent to suggest that appeasement of the IRA was worthwhile. At its foundation the Free State destroyed the IRA in a military victory and the same could have been achieved in Northern Ireland with enough firepower. Mainly it was London’s lack of courage that prevented this.
    After La Mon and, particularly, Enniskillen, it became clear that there was no atrocity too depraved for the IRA’s hard core of supporters to continue supporting them. How would these imbecilic bullies have liked a proper, genocidal civil war after Enniskillen or Shankill? After all, this is what they wanted.

    In 2002 the IRA made a statement. Between all the soothing language, what they are really saying is:- (1) we should not be blamed for killing civilians (2) all the people who were killed deserved to die. Point (2) is made in their refusal to accept a "hierarchy of victims". Hence, Gerry Adams’s firm belief that, for example, the children murdered in Warrington and Shankill deserved to be killed.

  65. This was truly one of the saddest and most horrific incidents in the whole of the northern ireland ‘troubles’ .Every time i read about it my heart is so saddened,and yet so many cruel and ignorant people believe that it was an acceptable target.I only hope that those who perpetrated this most cowardly of deeds face judgement someday for their sins.I can only pray that the victims of this and all other atrocities are resting in peace.

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