• Michael McMahon


Updated: 12 hours ago

While I disagreed with the irregulars, I tried to go along with their argument by taking it to an extreme in order to work out the consistency of their own viewpoint and internal logic. It requires a truly unique individual to first think of the idea and then to launch a scathing criticism of that same idea! We've to play devil's advocate to fully understand the situation. I know there were a lot of controversies and violent atrocities carried out during the Civil War and I’m not trying to downplay it. I just felt that the actions of the irregulars seemed futile with respect to their undemocratic ambitions and lack of military size. Anyone paying attention in second year history about the Renaissance will remember the word “quixotic”! https://www.irishpolitics.net/threads/munster-republic.879/

Junior cert history is quite amusing. It begins with chapters on Celtic Ireland and passes by Christopher Columbus and the French Revolution. There’s 3 pages on WW1 and races through 10 pages on WW2 as if there’s a build-up of suspense leading to the 100 page discussion on the Irish War of Independence, the Civil War and then the Troubles. This chronology is as if the Spanish conquistadors and the Renaissance were just background information that’s needed to understand the 1916 Easter Rising!

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Even without any good people, evil individuals will eventually come up against people just like themselves. So it’d be in their own interest not to perpetuate evil. If the world only had evil people then all of their victims would by definition be equivalently evil. In terms of the theological problem of evil this solution is still unsatisfactory because evil can be hyperbolically vengeful. Or conversely a lot of individuals can disproportionately escape much punishment. It might seem random but it does show the scales aren’t tipped in favour of evil people as a whole.

https://debatepolitics.com/threads/no-honour-among-thieves.353882/ It’s a theme that was gruesomely and hyperbolically at play in a horror movie where the evil people eventually started killing each other:

(Ghost Ship - the little girl's story)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bqlnnh6KeDc I was at my cousin’s house in County Offaly as a young child when everyone decided to rent a movie. Believe it or not we somehow came back with this one. I watched the beginning and then quickly left the room. (Just in case anyone was wondering about where my problems all began!) Here's another example:


The Dark Knight: "You and your friends are dead!"

https://www.debatepolitics.com/europe/358707-reparations.html In a court of law no one can be held responsible for crimes committed by relatives and by extension the historical atrocities from deceased great great grandparents of prior generations. We can sympathise with the suffering of historical people but we can't claim to be victimised by their persecution seeing as most people don't personally know much about their ancestors who are so far back in the family tree. No one is two-hundred years old and so we're not in a position to seek punishment for the crimes of the 19th century or beyond. We'd be more justified in questioning God's non-intervention and the problem of evil than we would blaming modern people.

I’m stating the obvious when I equally condemn all evil violence from any individual who committed terrorist attacks; be they a member of the IRA or from a unionist background. As you can tell from my previous threads I think a mutual collective ignorance about general gun control, self-defence and minority rights exacerbated the Troubles. It seemed to have created a downward spiral effect. I’ll preface the link below by saying if an unarmed civilian is killed by a terrorist with a gun, that is first and foremost a gun control issue. It’s clearly also a sectarian problem but that shouldn’t distract us from the primary dilemma of weapons and guns. Security-wise it’s really and truly moot whether Northern Ireland stays in the UK or joins a United Ireland. Nationalists should have rights for military and police representation in the UK in the same way Unionists would in a multicultural United Ireland. The only people who are being allowed to make fun of the Catholic Church are fellow Irish people; anyone else doing so shall be viewed as sectarian! Although I’m noncommittal on any other Northern Ireland political or cultural issues and view myself as an eccentric! Evil has touched all countries indiscriminately and it has existed since eternity. So no matter what side they were on anyone who supported IRA and UVF terrorism and bombing campaigns will find no other way to justify it to themselves except for the same entitled and paranoid mindset that evil people have had throughout history. Evil is evil and will always be the worst insult of them all since you'd be in the very same descriptive category as every other evil person. (Maybe there may have been a few genuine people in the IRA and UVF who helped bring an end to the conflict. If so then I'll have to view them as collateral damage because making finer distinctions in who's more evil will get me into trouble and so I can only condemn everyone equivalently.)

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At least I don’t think anyone will ever wax lyrical in that way about Northern Ireland!

(I don’t want it to sound like I’m trying to bully Northern Ireland; I’m merely offering advice! Apologies if I’m being presumptuous. It’s just that some of us weren’t born in the 16th century during the European wars of Religion! I know I’m not from Northern Ireland so it’s not really for me to comment on. Nevertheless I think any discussion about its future needs to emphasise real, solid policies and not just geography. For example if the building of Stormont was uprooted and changed location to county Louth then that would technically be a United Ireland even if they implemented the exact same economic regulations and security policies. What precisely will be different in a United Ireland than the current situation in Northern Ireland? We're told a United Ireland will still have orange parades and allow unionists to keep their British identities and heritage. Yet this is the exact same as the status quo already in operation in the north. Thus the only clear difference I can discern is that nationalists hope it will be the Irish Army in Northern Ireland instead of the British Army. This only begs the question of how unionists would be represented in the Irish Army and Garda force. How will unionists be enlisted in a way that's different from the present-day nationalist recruitment in the PSNI or their non-recruitment in the British army? I don't want to give the impression that I'm overly caught up on Ulster. I was only up there twice; once for a Sunday drive and the second time for tennis! The goal for Northern Ireland is to get the best of both worlds between British and Irish culture.)

I solved some of Northern Ireland’s problems during lunch(!):

When Protestants or Catholics really become radicalised Christians(!):

By the way there’s nothing inherently insulting about the word non-Christian. After all there’s plenty of virtuous non-Christian Hindus and Buddhists! So if someone states that they’re Catholic or Protestant then they can be held to account by their own stated beliefs. I received a complaint about that in the past even though there isn’t anything ethnic in nature about those terms. Obviously people who are secure in the consistency of their beliefs and actions won’t feel offended if it was questioned. There’s obviously no such thing as a “Catholic” IRA or “Protestant” UVF. Religious beliefs are a private and personal matter that should never be used as a shield to deflect from criticism. I truly dislike some of the anachronistic rhetoric that was in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. A few people don't mind insulting the countries that people are from but suddenly feel sensitive when the consistency of their actions are assessed relative to their professed faith. Why should it be deemed acceptable for a person's national identity be given less moral respect than one's religion?

I’m afraid sometimes there’s no easy way to say it and you’ve got to insult both sides to put the situation in context! There's a lot of frustration in Northern Ireland so we might have to appease everyone's anger by offending all sides to get it out of our system. They say you need to get things off your chest so as not to let it build up! Free speech can be controversial when it comes to hate speech. People say that sticks and stones can break my bones and that words cannot hurt me. Educators rightfully say that words can in fact be very hurtful when it comes to derogatory, stigmatising or threatening language. It's very important not to understate or minimise the potential hurt and anxiety caused by slander. Nonetheless the part about sticks and stones breaking bones is still very accurate in its own right. Even though the phrase inadvertently downplays psychological harm by making the unfair comparison, it's nevertheless technically correct that violent actions are always morally worse and more blameworthy than violent words. Therefore it's not that hateful words aren't wrong or shouldn't be prosecuted but that we've to be realistic in recognising that physical violence like murder is clearly an order of magnitude worse. Therefore people should always feel free to express angry speech (though not hateful speech!) if it's in a proportionate and critical way. We need to criticise criminal violence in an emphatic tone that reflects the seriousness of the offence. In movies I sometimes get frustrated when the police line operator always tells the phone caller to calm down and speak slowly. Part of me thinks it's two-way where the responder also needs to listen more attentively! If you ever feel the need to self-censor then it runs the risk of normalising the injustice. There were loads of university graduates who lived during the Troubles and who knows if they felt the need to self-censor for security reasons. When journalists cannot give their honest opinion then it might mean that a lot of the public end up getting poor advice. Moreover if journalists in the 1970s were worried about their safety more than the average person was then it further emphasises the loopholes in the manner that gun control was being enforced. For example people under armed threat in the state are sometimes granted garda bodyguards which works well against small criminal gangs but it's unlikely that the state can afford public bodyguards for everyone threatened by a major paramilitary group.

“In 2015, EJI researchers released a report documenting more than 4,400 lynchings that took place between 1877 and 1950. The new study, titled Reconstruction in America: Racial Violence After the Civil War, brings the overall death toll between 1865 and 1950 to nearly 6,500.”


While America had a lot of racism in the past, we cannot forget that it’s a country of over 300 million people from a huge number of races. Therefore it’s policies and history are still informative for other troubled regions. Remember that the population of Northern Ireland is under 2 million with little more than 2 ethnicities so the per capita casualties were much higher in Northern Ireland.

“US President Joe Biden's White House voices concern over Belfast disorder”

- Yes, forget the Taliban, the Cold War or nuclear terrorism. Sure Northern Ireland is deserving of its very own White House response! In all seriousness the Troubles somehow inflicted more casualties than the 9/11 terror attacks. It may have been a “low-intensity conflict” in any individual day but that can be misleading as it stretched on for decades. The American Revolution already occurred hundreds of years ago (having included both Catholic and Protestant Americans!). They say that America has its problems but I reserve the right to counterbalance world-views as I see fit! We can learn a lot from countries who've problems that are the opposite of our own. Their message is that the state exists out of convenience and that people are fundamentally individuals. Sadly that message seems to have been lost in Northern Ireland. You could write a thesis about it but really it’s as simple as that. We need to make Americans slightly less American and Northern Ireland slightly more American! I’m not a “troublemaker”! There’s plenty of multiracial countries in the world so there was never anything inevitable about the conflict. The nation state is a man-made construct. It is fallible and it is not the same as Gospel!

Mel Gibson: individuals aren’t owned by a state; the state is owned by us individuals! You're not owned by any politicians. Governments are a very important part of representative democracy because it might be too time-consuming and inefficient if every citizen voted in all parliament decisions. Nonetheless each citizen is still important and so the people in power are like benevolent middle-men between the state and the military or police. But when it comes down to it the military and police forces are still more accountable to each citizen than they are to representatives in parliament. That's why the US requires an oath to the US constitution for soldiers rather than the to their president. Although it might be for mostly symbolic reasons unless God can actually enforce the oath!

Mind you we don’t want to get too American or else we’ll all be hearing gangsta rap about the North East Coast:

In case anyone was confused gang-bang in America refers to "an instance of violence involving members of a criminal gang" without any of the sexual references.

(Recap of previous ideas)

3638 p. 182 plus 3659 and 3660 p. 183:

https://politics.ie/threads/ireland-reunification-referendum.281644/page-182 #592 pg 30:


Ad hominem reply:

(We could all be tempted to do some hyper-masculine smoking videos on certain societal issues. Although the risk is the smoke will become addictive after that one video!)


Always reference someone with more radical views than yourself to look moderate in comparison! I don’t agree with some of what he said about the 2nd Amendment. I don’t think guns would’ve prevented all historical terrorism. I don’t know what the exact motives were for ill-intentioned individuals in the conflict. In fact a lot of past rhetoric appears grossly far removed from matters of pure civilian self-defence. Surprisingly there appears to have been very little discussion of real self-defence laws in the 30 year period despite it being cited as an implicit justification by both sides in the conflict. The discussion appears to have went in the opposite direction where either a continued union with Britain or a new United Ireland were both expected to have an apolitical army.

It’s hypocritical for anyone to have justified the existence of armed terrorist groups to defend a minority while supporting blind faith in their own preferred country enforcing gun control for whoever was the opposing side. It's dishonest if people will only agree with gun control so long as it's done by a military owned and run by themselves. Gun control is half of the solution with the other half being a shared and balanced military. I can’t help but think the question of a union with England or an amalgamation with Ireland is fundamentally centred around who controls the military when really it should be irrelevant if both sides were equally represented. This implies the terrorists had a lot of corrupt territorial motives (Q.E.D.!). If people used self-defence to justify violence then instead of simply rejecting their argument we can try to go along with it to see if one can use their reasoning to beat them at their own game. (Magic spell from a wand) Reductio ad absurdum! So I’m not saying we should just legalise guns.

Historical terror attacks were never initiated out of any fear of being either unarmed or disarmed. Thus even had everyone been armed as the man suggested in the video there likely still would have been violent incidents because self-defence policy was never the root cause. In theory if everyone were armed but just never used the weapon and shot only if fired upon then the weapons wouldn’t have caused any violence. That argument failed because there were sinister crimes motivated by political issues and power struggles unrelated to concrete self-defence. Out of all the casualties, what percentage actually took the stereotypical defensive form of a civilian or would-be victim returning gunfire against an armed intruder in the house or in response to an assailant on the street? The answer is very little because so-called self-defence in terms of retaliation was being viewed as communal in a scapegoating way rather than personal in an immediate fight-or-flight way.

Even if security representation wasn't the main or only aim of republican paramilitaries it'd have at least helped defeat their argument of oppression. It may not have been explicit but by not being proportionately employed in the army it'd have been rhetorically easier to portray it as foreign and colonial. Blanket condemnations of terror attacks are necessary but it'd also have been vital to fully disprove in detail any subconscious biases and justifications that they were giving in order to persuade others. It's a lot harder to portray yourself as oppressed no matter what the economic or political circumstances are so long as you've a share in 50% of the army. The Irish Army and British Army aren't shy about purchasing guns for their soldiers in order to protect their citizens. They're not in any way worried about being seen as competitive to an international audience. Gun control policies never pressurise governments to give up their stockpiles of weapons. This is why people shouldn't be reserved about needing assurances that they'll have representatives in the army. Indeed the government of a nation is perfectly entitled to use their right of armed defence to a maximum in order to protect from invasion but it does show that civilians need to learn from them and be equally vocal about asserting their rights. If we were living in Iceland where there's no military than this wouldn't be as relevant. The more powerful the military is, the greater the strength imbalance will be with unarmed civilians.

Anyway in the video he does manage to explain the potential problems that could arise with “collectivised security” in general. As per my minority rights thread, I actually really do agree with gun control. That’s always the preferred option. But the implementation of gun control must always be both methodical and pragmatic: in general if there’s a situation where armed threats are an unavoidable risk in a fragile society then I’m afraid some degree of self-defence weaponry such as non-lethal ammunition might be temporarily necessary for ordinary civilians. Pretending there isn't a problem won't make it go away; terrorists won't get bored of violence.

If lots of internal terrorist groups cannot be disarmed then sadly we might need to compromise on elements of gun control to prevent a huge imbalance of power against unarmed civilians. I’m not contradicting my support of gun control because I’d agree with all attempts to stop the import of illegal weapons. The trouble arises when there’s already been surreptitious shipments of weapons that have gotten into the country. In my opinion we’d have to either to search for every weapon or in the interim set up safeguards like having gun-free zones enforced by armed security. If all else fails, we can do as the Americans do! Something like a small airgun pistol would give a civilian a greater chance of escaping from an armed threat. Unfortunately it’s still possible to be ambushed by such devices but nowhere near to the extent of damage that a real gun could inflict. So it’s not a good solution at all but rather a last resort if gun control is failing. It goes without saying that any self-defence policy would have to apply equally to both unionist and nationalist civilians. If that fails there might be other backup plans. Financing private security guards and private detectives for instance. Or else having a shared police jurisdiction where PSNI detectives would be allowed to make arrests in Ireland in return for allowing garda investigators to operate in Northern Ireland in order to prevent miscommunication. For example I fail to see how the gardai could have done a full examination into the Dublin-Monaghan bombing without being allowed to carry out and oversee significant cross-border investigation. I read that the Gardai committed to increasing border security afterwards as if this were a new idea after several years of conflict! The investigation finished early in spite of the seriousness of the offence. Instead of blaming the loyalist organisation behind the attack, blame was apparently deflected onto the conflict in general. There wasn't enough evidence at the time to link the bomb to the specific culprits but the process of exclusion makes plain that it must have been a loyalist attack of some kind when common criminality and international terrorism are ruled out as suspects. Innocent victims cannot be scapegoated and the people killed had nothing at all to do with IRA terrorism. Collective punishment of random civilians is not morally justifiable. If politicians were afraid that a small minority of their citizens were sympathetic to the IRA then they should have chastised them more severely instead of downplaying the culpability of the loyalist bombings. The investigation should have had the same resources as would have been allotted to 34 separate murders. By all accounts the period was defined by bizarre fashion styles, weekly atrocities in Northern Ireland and later reports of church child abuse in the Republic. The Gardai could really have upped the gear on crisis mode and hired more staff if they needed to. The tax rate in America during WW2 was up to 90% despite their small-government, capitalist worldview during peace time. In emergencies where people's lives are at stake the government is entitled to demand extra resources to fund policing and request volunteers to assist healthcare. The corporate tax rate in the Republic was actually decreasing during the Troubles. The state was supporting American tax exiles at the same time it was supposed to be standing against economic inequality in the north. I'm a loyal citizen who likes my country very much but I cannot always agree with how past governments dealt with the Troubles. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with tax incentives but the fiasco in the north needed to be prioritised.

Few loyalists were ever arrested by the Gardai out of a seeming attempt to atone for their insufficient number of arrests on IRA members. The problem with staying neutral is that sometimes you'll still end up antagonising both sides by doing so. The Gardai and RUC sometimes collaborated in their investigations despite mutual claims of collusion in certain crimes they were examining. It'd almost have been better for the victims if there were two independent investigations where the witnesses and forensic evidence would be examined by both police forces. The detectives on both sides were right to liaison with each other about suspects and compare their reports but there's no harm having a second opinion when it comes to crime scene investigation. It’s well established for there to be open international detectives from multiple countries in the event of terrorist attacks. The Gardai might have had more trust among nationalists than the RUC. This means they could have been better able to disarm IRA members if they were allowed to operate in Northern Ireland. If external peacekeepers were disallowed then the gardai could have offered to recruit domestically in Northern Ireland. In any conflict the intentional killing of a non-threatening and unarmed civilian simply because they belong to the opposing side isn’t so much a sectarian attack as it is a racist attack. Sectarian is a milder word that might be used in the context of football hooliganism. Moreover it's dubbed execution-style murder in military parlance when the victim is unarmed and helpless.

If people don't take your safety seriously then for crying out loud please use your common sense and defy them. Don't glorify the state as some kind of utopia and be realistic. If gangs have knives or metal bars then at the very least you should be allowed to carry a baton. It's good to be vigilant and independent but never aggressive. If gun crime is extremely high then we must frisk suspicious non-resident outsiders and non-local strangers on the street for guns if the police won't do it. Search all bags entering into a premises for explosives yourself just like it were an airport and don't rely solely on security guards to do it if such a threat ever reoccurs. Think of all the Covid regulations in shops these days and it could be the exact same for precautionary baggage searches in each business. Another possibility is not only to search vehicles at borders but to suspend free travel for those without valid excuses if there's a high risk of terrorism. IRA suspects should never have had the ability to travel to England in the same way that loyalist terrorists shouldn't have been able to reach Dublin. There looks to have been more travel limits during Covid than there were during the Troubles!

Technically any civilian is free to carry out a citizen’s arrest if it’s in accordance with the law and therefore having multiple branches of the police isn’t as strange as it may seem. I’m only guessing that cycles of historical terror attacks between the IRA and UVF along with government collusion in certain instances may have deterred neutral Gardai from getting overly involved. Maybe they didn’t want to risk rogue individuals playing both sides in the conflict. They were a mutual enemy of both terror groups. Had the gardai been allowed to work in Northern Ireland they’d have had far more capacity to peacefully intervene for the benefit of both communities. I think it would have been best for everyone had the Gardai been one of the primary arbiters between the two sides instead of having being in the background.

I think there needed to be a greater emphasis on individualism in Northern Ireland. Belfast could perhaps be seen as more of a multiracial libertarian city similar to somewhere like Boston in America. I agree that people are always individuals first and foremost. But disarming individual civilians can be justified because they have democratic representation in the armed forces. The brutal Irish civil war in the 1920’s makes plain there was never once any majority to justify anyone having a so-called “siege mentality”. When we add in the deaths from the Irish Civil War to the casualty list from the Troubles then over 6,500 people have been killed over what would otherwise be a relatively quiet and mundane province. This is actually the same figure for the total number of racial killings mentioned previously in America. I fear that some people are exaggerating Northern Ireland into a kind of epic quest of national identity. Everyone in Northern Ireland during the Troubles was under slight threat so allowing certain civilians under threat to carry guns was contradictory and defied gun control. Besides, legal gun possession was one-sided that may have ignored nationalist civilians who were in danger. More sustainable solutions were necessary. Currently there are 60,000 gun owners in Northern Ireland with some citing personal protection as a reason. Yet these guns won't be of any help for the remaining 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland should terrorists ever attack again.

Unfortunately the basic security and police requirements of unarmed nationalist and unionist civilians against the threat of armed paramilitaries were politically badly neglected throughout that horrific conflict in my opinion. The police disarmed people without commensurately protecting them or fully investigating crimes committed against them. Civilians were exposed to armed threats and a small few may have immorally hid behind or tolerated paramilitaries for armed protection rather than out of support for their cause. Had there been alternative armed security measures in place, then maybe more people from both sides would have opposed paramilitaries. If you ever say anything controversial, some academic language will deter any hot-headed people from reading it through! I’ll write this as clinically as I can! Unarmed people under armed threat require armed security that’s both evenly recruited and vetted. The political class failed to adequately provide this.

There was a lot of negligence where unarmed civilians were abandoned. Given that gun control was being widely flouted by terrorists, self-defence policy could really have been reassessed. It’s like a net out at sea to stop sharks but there’s a hole and sharks get in. Then the net will backfire and stop the sharks from leaving. Likewise once there’s a huge supply of illegal guns in circulation then it’s too late to aim for perfect gun control. I wholeheartedly agree that ideally the best policy would be where the terrorists were mostly disarmed but obviously that wasn’t really working. Unfortunately gun control will have limited power in a war zone where there’s too many weapons on the loose for the police to deal with. Instead a spectrum of force needs to be explored to best minimise the damage. I’ve mentioned various options above.

I do believe in respecting authority for the sake of society insofar as they're honest. Although if the authorities in the past didn't fully bother themselves to investigate crimes against you then how much were you obliged to bother asking them for permission to investigate the crimes yourself? There was a lot of self-promoting political rhetoric during the conflict about how much greater each of their countries were that only tensed the crisis even more. People do not exist just to live at the mercy of the state. Our lives our sacred whether or not it's reflected in judicial policy. If people don't do their job then it's not your job to pay tax. Many people North and South spent half their incomes on tax during the Troubles and what quality of service did they get in return? If central government doesn't want to help victims then there'll be plenty of people more than happy to pay their taxes to regional militias instead. The state is granted a monopoly of force and a monopoly of tax revenue but does a guaranteed customer base ever run the risk of complacency? Many RUC police officers north and Garda officers south did a huge amount of good and often sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. I'm in no way trying to discredit that. However I got the impression it could be a bit of a mixed response in an internally divided force with a small minority of individuals being a bit apathetic or even engaging in rogue collusion. I suppose a hidden aspect is that war is messy so perhaps sometimes it might have been the other way round with the paramilitaries infiltrating the police force with some of their own members surreptitiously. Every military at war will invariably suffer some traitorous members and the US had 109,656 court martials in 1969 (https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/Annual-report-USCMA-1969.pdf). By comparison the lack of internal investigations and unrealistically low number of forced redundancies out of thousands of employees during the Troubles suggests a complacency to ensure force loyalty. The Gardai had an equal responsibility with the RUC to have investigated all crimes in Northern Ireland and had an equal moral right to have arrested those responsible. Yet not only were their no physical arrests inside Northern Ireland from the Gardai but there also appears to have been very few extradition requests from the Gardai in the first place. If tourists are victimised abroad then their home country always has the right to investigate. If there's total anarchy where people are under severe armed threat because armed security is either not provided or terrorists are overwhelming the security forces, then briefly allowing individuals to buy guns could be an absolute last resort until such a time when the police is in a position to safely re-enforce gun control. The garda response to the crisis is sometimes overlooked because it pales in comparison to the atrocities of the paramilitaries and the killings by the British army. While it's always better to be neutral rather than side with others in evil, this morality as a state police force should really have been taken for granted. Questions need to be asked whether their involvement didn't go far enough. We're a small country and so our capacity to defend others is limited but that doesn't mean we're impotent. This is especially so when our support is buffered by a large number of other allies like our assistance towards Ukraine. A lot of Irish people enlisted with Britain in WW1 and helpfulness is a virtue.

Not only do we need to learn from the mistakes of the Troubles but we also have to be careful not to unintentionally pick up the wrong lessons. For instance some former militants explain away their involvement in macho terms. I've heard a few interviews include justifications along the lines of they'd their soldiers and we'd our soldiers and so it was simply a war. The Good Friday Agreement can be interpreted as implying that both sides were equally unjustified in many of their actions (-1 × -1 = 1) rather than both being half-justified (1/2 + 1/2 = 1). I salute those who helped bring an end to the conflict no matter their national affiliation. My sole reason for writing the piece is that I'm wary of the same mistakes being repeated in the far future; whether by lone wolves or through terror groups. An American motto is to love country and hate government and sometimes there might be a grain of truth in it. Admittedly it's a very right-wing sentiment but it captures the notion of a country being its history and culture rather than just the central parliament. Governments these days can get so much bad press that it might be risky to define your entire national identity on their daily decisions.

There can be different interpretations of the Good Friday Agreement. On the one hand it was a triumph of forgiveness and Christianity. A less optimistic way to view it is as a cautionary tale. The fact that everyone was released from jail meant that there was no true justice. As ironic as it might sound, the lack of justice is itself a stern warning not to pursue terrorism. In some sense the Good Friday Agreement was a pragmatic affair in that the conflict had gone on so long that achieving full justice would've been an almost insurmountable challenge. The vigilante terrorists that attacked the other side's citizens in revenge for their own casualties were left permanently bereft of ever catching the actual suspects in the crimes that had initially angered them. Had people never resorted to civilian attacks then it's likely that an eventual peace agreement could've been found without anyone feeling pressured into consenting to the prisoner release clause. Even with a limited release programme where those who attacked civilians would remain in jail, there'd still be problems in accounting for accomplices. For example if we held onto the perpetrators that used the gun to murder an innocent person, then what about the people who supplied them the gun or the paramilitary leadership that authorised the hit? As you can see the lines can become slightly blurred when we try to distinguish between those who attacked active militants and those who attacked indiscriminately.

Truth be told some of the Troubles can be a lesson in how not to deal with a crisis. I think the uncertainty of how long the conflict would last for worsened the crisis. Perhaps had people known at the start that it would last for another 30 years then there might have been a few proactive policy changes. Maybe some were too optimistic that the hostilities would be over quickly if people waited patiently. There was too much disagreement about potential solutions and a few people were content to simply let the problem sort itself out. Unfortunately the paramilitaries were on an ideological quest as much as a political quest and they weren't going to give up so easily. It wasn't just religious beliefs but also people's spiritual beliefs about the history of Ireland that meant no one wanted to surrender. Self-help articles these days always often promote the value of assertiveness over aggression or passiveness. Certain politicians may have fallen into one of the latter two categories. After 30 years of conflict the initial combatants had reached retirement age which might have helped motivate them to find peace with each other!

Gun control does create a huge dependency where unarmed people will have no choice but to rely on others for security against armed threats. In my minority rights thread I justified this imbalance and vulnerability through the way minorities can be represented within the state's security apparatus. The advantage of protection against armed ambush outweighs the possible disadvantage of endangerment should guns slip through to terrorists. You're really placing your life in the hands of someone who disarms you which is acceptable so long as they're trustworthy. That's why there's a lot at stake and so it's imperative that minorities are represented in the armed forces. I've to emphasise that gun control is an active process rather than a passive starting point. By that I mean citizens are initially free with the right of unlimited self-defence but the state has the prerogative to then limit their freedom for their own safety. That is to say total freedom is the natural starting point as the Americans would say but the state can justify the reduction of that freedom if it's in everyone's benefit. My point is that if you actively disarm someone it's then entirely your responsibility to ensure their safety seeing as they'll be made helpless against armed criminals. So when I support gun control it's on the basis that the police will follow through on that responsibility. This means if someone is shot in a gun control zone then the police have to take some responsibility for a breach in gun control. If either you don't have the means to disarm everyone or if some people are shirking their responsibilities then perhaps we might need to forgo national gun control and allow the gatekeepers of each town to enforce local gun control.

I know gated communities for example can create problems like the exclusion of pedestrians and the right of way for members of the public. In third world countries they may carry risks of discriminatory behaviour. But if there were lots of dangerous terrorists roaming around then as a last resort having armed vetted security outside residential areas isn’t too unreasonable given the dire situation. Although it’s not a comprehensive solution in the same way that not everyone can have their own bodyguard.

There may have been a lot of complicated issues at play. But this aspect of equal security appears to have been ignored. Instead corrupt paramilitaries were allowed to fill a power vacuum in the guise of self-defence. As far as I can tell the problem was treated as historical, ethnic and insoluble instead of properly viewing it as a simple self-defence issue. Personally I couldn’t care less about the economic and cultural issues in Northern Ireland and my only concern is that there’s no repeat of security threats. From a unionist’s perspective to be fair I could understand that a land border between the North and South is not really a moral argument for a United Ireland but an economic argument. Democracy is of course all about majority rule and minority rights. It's based on population and not land mass. Several counties have a Nationalist majority while there’s more unionists overall in the North. We’d run into huge transport problems if we tried to separate the North ad infinitum into Nationalist and Unionist microstates. Counties with nationalist majorities could try voting in order to independently join the Republic but then the rest of the nationalist population would be more isolated. Unionist populations within Catholic majority counties could in turn secede and remain in the North through air transport or cable cars 🚠. This could apply vice versa for Nationalist towns in unionist counties!

Politicians in England and Ireland tolerated people expressing hateful Catholic/Protestant tensions that are non-existent anywhere else internationally and only had their source hundreds of years ago in the European Wars of Religion. Under no circumstances should threats of violence be tolerated. The initial justifications given for deadly indiscriminate violence on both sides were sometimes baseless or exaggerated. There were better alternatives. For example something like gerrymandering warranted protest but not revolution. Terror attacks justify a period of jail for the perpetrators but never vigilante terrorism against random civilians. Miscarriages of justice can emphasise the need to call for more democratic oversight of the court system rather than extrajudicial revenge. Just like gun control there doesn’t appear to have been much debate around jail sentence consistency. In my opinion far more progress would have been made had people focused their efforts on achieving simple, tangible policies like self-defence laws, court fairness and police representation instead of all-out regime change. There were also reports of economic discrimination in terms of employment and government services. Although lethal violence was a disproportionate response to such claims. Rioting and vandalism that you hear about in other countries would also have been an unnecessary but less excessive response. When you contrast the minor damage that would have caused in relation to the severity of a war with thousands of casualties you can begin to appreciate the inadequacy of these excuses taken individually. It's not that I'd ever be advocating riots but merely that if people were condoning civilian deaths in a pragmatic and Machiavellian ends-justify-the-means way then it's easiest to expose the excessiveness and extremeness of such terrorism by reference to lesser harms and worst-case-scenarios. In other words economic harms no matter how severe they are doesn't justify the killing of others. At worst a democratic majority could potentially engage in persecution but colonialism is an inaccurate term unless a minority is actually overruling a majority. Let's imagine that the IRA were never motivated by unifying the country and instead waged war solely to prevent economic discrimination. Then 1000s of casualties would've arisen out of a simple attempt to implement a policy of 50:50 workplace quotas between Catholics and Protestants. This seems very excessive where territorial concerns must have undermined and distracted from their other grievances. After that it was an escalating “tit-for-tat” such that the excuses for violence became self-referential. Both sides claimed to be simply defending themselves and no one wanted to view themselves as the aggressor. It was eventually way out of proportion to the simple grievances mentioned at the beginning. For instance it’d have been futile for a Jewish civilian to have intentionally assaulted an unarmed German civilian during the Holocaust. I don’t know what the exact ethics of that hypothetical example would be given that the Nazis were carrying out a genocide of millions of people and a small minority of German civilians were reporting those who fled or hid. How much leeway can be granted for self-defence against such an extreme crime? My point is the sheer contrast between the Holocaust and Northern Ireland underscores how wickedly immoral it’d be to even contemplate targeting civilians. The nuclear war doctrine of mutually assured destruction tolerates civilian deaths as an accidental side-effect of attacking military targets and also because civilian collaboration in a regime firing nukes at you bears a small amount of culpability. However the culpability of civilian tax dollars going towards an enemy government is truly negligible in the context of a small-scale war.

Territorial disputes can only happen when people start subscribing to collectivism instead of individualism. At the end of the day you’re a free person who’s responsible for ensuring your own self-defence and proportional representation in the police and armed forces. Objective criteria such as hate speech laws and background checks would be needed for gun club members. You don't need anyone's permission at all to have unpaid volunteer reserve police so long as they abide by the law. Don’t let absolutely anyone tell you otherwise given the reprehensible mess that was presided over by all countries involved. The police forces are great against criminals but sadly they've a poor track record at combating paramilitaries. There were too many failed policies in place. It's about individuals and not countries seeing as only individuals are conscious unless we adopt panpsychism or emperor God-states. I didn’t want to be over-assertive but there appears to have been an awful lot of mismanagement in the past from all sides. I advise people in Northern Ireland to know your rights when it comes to self-defence laws and military representation. You're a pawn of absolutely no one. You're all adults who don't need to be told what to do. Be self-reliant and don't delegate your defence to anyone that abandons you. Government departments are sometimes tempted to try spreading out and diluting or deflecting responsibility amongst themselves where flood damage in an estate built in a flood plain where there's also a river with no flood barriers might end up being no one's fault. This is why individualism is important so that people can take responsibility themselves. After all we can't sue the police if there's a slow police response time. Don't be expecting last-minute heroics from politicians if there's a gunman on your door.

Thankfully the situation now is obviously peaceful and friendly. The miserable weather worsened the situation. Representing rival groups in government isn't a scientific mystery and never was. It actually would be rocket science to represent people if everyone were building intercontinental ballistic missiles! I don't go along with the notion that the half unionist and half-nationalist nature of Northern Ireland is some kind of insoluble challenge. I tried to be impartial in my assessment even if a few disagree. I’m not trying to open old wounds but we have to learn from history to prevent similar incidents ever reoccurring in future. You don’t have to agree with every idea I mentioned. The worry I have reading past incidents are two-fold: firstly self-defence laws were unenforced or insufficient in preventing victims which was then exacerbated by a woefully inconsistent court system. It was a double-whammy that got distorted where terror groups came up with awful solutions to fix the problem. We won't solve crime by committing crime ourselves. A criminal who escapes Scot free won't be deterred by seeing innocent people hurt in lieu of themselves as punishment for their crime. In modern warfare there are lots of arguments against collateral damage from the risk of radicalising civilians to the moral unacceptable of wanton destruction. Even though it could be politically incorrect there's also another reason that collateral damage is militarily ineffective: some bad people who enjoy violence might not be in any way bothered by seeing their own civilians hurt in retaliation. For instance Hitler wasn't deterred by the deaths of his civilians and ordered them to fight on even when Berlin was surrounded and defeat was inevitable. Honestly the Republic's court system can also be quite inconsistent but certainly not to the extent of the North's justice system during the Troubles. An amnesty kind of sounds similar to a suspended sentence in terms of its impact on victims. This is one of the problems with certain versions of collectivism: the state will decide whether or not we can defend ourselves with weapons and then the same state also has the power to decide whether or not a violent crime committed against us is to deemed a punishable crime. Even though extensive judicial discretion is in operation during peacetime society we only tend to notice the discrepancy when it's applied along racial or ethnic lines like it was during the Troubles. One difficulty with relegating killings to crimes of passion is that a court system in a conflict zone can struggle to be impartial when the victims are from the opposing faction. The court system has to treat people equally in order to be legitimate. Otherwise we'd be left with kangaroo courts in banana states inhabited by white elephants!

It was unfortunate given that such easy solutions weren’t even considered. There was nothing I wrote that couldn't have been said in 1969 or even a hundred years ago. There were some easy countermeasures that weren't explored so either I'm being a creative genius by mentioning them or more likely a few people were being a bit inattentive during the Troubles. No one is expendable. People need to focus on real policies rather than megalomaniacal nanny states drunk on power. We need to get back to basics. To an outside observer it seems like the political system in the north revolves around a border rather than the more typical left-right divide of other countries. Funnily enough commentators were saying the same thing about the historical separation of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail as if it were the civil war politics of 1920s. The harsh reality is that a peaceful society doesn't guarantee prosperity since it's really just a prerequisite and much more is required. There's enough room in the island for everyone. People in general aren't obliged to comply with a tax system or a gun control policy that doesn't democratically represent them and this applies to both unionists and nationalists in whatever country they vote to live in. People in the Republic have never been in any way dependent on potential taxes from Northern Ireland. By the sound of it a United Ireland is an expense and so there couldn't be a sinister financial motive from either Ireland or England. It's like one of those old cars that you can't sell and you'd almost have to pay someone to take it away! Black people in America had no neighbouring country with the power to intervene against past discrimination whereas both nationalists and unionists have their respective allies in Ireland and the UK to help smooth out any possible imperfections. The ideas above wouldn’t have prevented all of the violence but it’d have stopped some people being deceived by inflammatory speech. When the topic you're commenting on is extremely controversial in and of itself then it's hard not to be slightly controversial in your evaluation of it. I’m not trying to be falsely accusatory so we’ll acknowledge that there were a majority of benevolent people from every community. If the Irish and British governments disagree with my solutions then maybe they should have done a better job policing the Troubles. If it was a mission success then there'd be no article for me to write. I can’t guarantee that I won’t ever fly into a demonic rage but if and when that does happen I’ll have written so many complimentary and impartial statements beforehand so as to hopefully be let off the hook!

(I know that it wasn’t just projectile guns and that there were also threats of deadly explosives. That brings up other issues. It highlights the non-defensive and offensive nature of the attacks. I don’t know anything about counterinsurgency but perhaps could there have been more frequent preemptive search warrants at all suspected premises before the devices were made? I don't know how the conflict escalated from shootings up to ferocious bombings. It just so happened to coincide with the Cold War so maybe there were a small few lone wolves among republican and loyalist groups that may have been individually, subconsciously influenced by communist or fascist arguments unrelated to nationalism and unionism. I also find references to telephone bomb warnings not only immoral but also blatantly deceitful and ridiculous. Even from the context of historical military sabotage like WW2 resistance fighters blowing up bridges there's no risk of civilian casualties and only huge infrastructural damage. So this idea of leaving a bomb in a crowded area by accident makes no sense not only from a moral standpoint but also a military or guerrilla one. Even if the intention of the terrorists was solely to instil fear by making people flee there's obvious ways to make loud bangs such as firing a gun in the air with there being no danger of actual casualties. Lastly, if the sinister intention was to inflict some casualties but not many casualties then it still doesn't add up to leave it in such a busy area of all places and somehow rely on most people escaping. Needless to say I'm also condemning all infrastructural and low-casualty attacks. I'm merely stating the obvious that telephone warnings were a ploy to minimise responsibility and hardly heard of outside the context of the Troubles by any other international terror groups. Many civilian deaths in the Troubles can't really be termed collateral damage seeing as the explosions were entirely aimed at civilians. Collateral damage on the other hand would imply that the civilian deaths were unintentional victims of an otherwise military target. Pubs and restaurants bore the brunt of loyalist and republican bombings in a war that was supposedly about the right of self-defence. A foreign person who knew nothing about Northern Ireland would be forgiven for thinking it was a war between rival restaurants.

"Birmingham pub bombings: Botched IRA warning call led to 21 deaths, jury finds -Sky News")

(PPS I am aware that there was an arms crisis with Charles Haughey in 1970. It caused controversy because the intended recipients may have been IRA members. The stealthy tone of the operation may have caused further suspicion. I don’t need to repeat myself in being disapproving of all paramilitary membership and their truly repulsive crimes. Perhaps had they openly broached the subject of armed security with England for the silent majority of unaffiliated nationalists then it might have appeared less threatening. Were there strongly vetted nationalist police officers who needed a gun to defend against both loyalist and IRA terrorists then I don’t quite see the problem as both groups were openly armed. Had the paramilitaries been carrying out unarmed assault and murder then there wouldn’t be need for armed police and only more unarmed officers. I keep saying guns are indeed extremely threatening towards unarmed civilians. But I don’t think guns for the purpose of police protection against militant criminals are in any way territorial or militarily preemptive because they’d never even alter the balance of power against aircraft carriers and such in the event of a hypothetical all-out civil war. A quote from my minority rights thread: “An unarmed person can’t beat someone with a gun, armed people can’t beat a fighter jet”. Besides, police being in possession of guns doesn’t mean they’re assuming tactical formations or building trenches. An advantage with focusing directly on the security angle is that self-defence is a very simple and shared human right whereas treaties on political bureaucracies and power-sharing management risks abstraction which in turn might lead to subjectivity. I’m not being preferential because you could make the same claim about armed security for unionist civilians. Thirty years is a long time to wait for terrorists to disarm. The more armed trusted security there is, the more capacity they have to enforce gun control on civilians.

It's a pity that the mayhem of the foolish arms crisis at the very beginning of the conflict was then used as a tacit excuse not to fully appreciate the major threats posed to unarmed civilians for the remainder of the Troubles. The attempt to arm the IRA was so ridiculous that we could almost call it a false flag operation to avoid future responsibility for arming legitimate civilians in self-defence! It thoroughly backfired and tainted discussions about defending nationalists and unionists. The problem with arming the IRA is not only their crimes against unionists but also the way they killed huge numbers of their own nationalists who were accused of being spies. Alleged criminals were also subjected to harsh punishment beatings. Were Northern Ireland a state in America the matter would have been viewed in the context of a gun control debate from the very first incident of a shooting with multiple fatalities. Don't ask me how but that aspect of the situation was somehow overlooked. The problem with nanny states is that people will eventually disagree with each other on whose nanny state it'll be. I've been waiting to deploy that phrase somewhere for quite a long time! Not only was self-defence not a true motive for any terrorist but it was in fact an issue ignored to a fault that left average people vulnerable. Before long every hysterical person in a hundred mile radius started getting involved. The fact that the guns in the arms crisis were imported from abroad only made it look more threatening and illegal seeing as the Irish military already had plenty of guns to begin with! Had there never been an IRA campaign then maybe Britain wouldn't have been opposed to discussions on self-defence laws. There's nothing sinister about fearing a possible tyranny in the future so long as you don't falsely accuse anyone of tyranny. Unarmed civilians were at the mercy of any angry person with a gun. Even without a civil war there will be criminals in any large society. Therefore all it takes is one unauthorised murder to keep prolonging a tit-for-tat scuffle. Such a conflict could go on endlessly if there's no diplomacy. There were so many deaths, multiples more of injuries and exponentials more of grieving relatives but we can't forget that most of the people in Northern Ireland who weren't directly attacked must still have suffered lots of worry and hardship given that the conflict went on for such a length of time. Northern Ireland has been a headache for far too long. Time is of the essence and people need to come to a consensus. People's defensive needs are urgent.)

(Any paranoid fears about an all-powerful Catholic Church can be addressed in writing to the history departments throughout the various European universities on the continent so don't bother me about it, thanks. I'm not hundreds of years old and so I'd like to profess my innocence of any wrongdoing back then. If it's any consolation I was always rooting for the Aztecs! They were always honest and never morally self-righteous. Their human sacrifices to the gods above show how they were never arrogant in viewing humans as sacred and had a healthy understanding of our expendable nature. Anyway that's the wrong paranoid fear to have; a China-India alliance is the stuff of nightmares!

I think we need to clear up some confusion. A theocracy is where the church owns the state. For example Saudi Arabia has strict punishments for those who break Islamic customs. There were no church authorised executions in Ireland during the Troubles and so any reference to theocracy is grossly hyperbolic. Apostasy has been legal in Europe for centuries. The only reason past governments were influenced by the Catholic Church was because voters freely opted to vote in Catholic politicians. The church never had any direct constitutional control over the Irish State. A collectivist interpretation of the separation of church and state is that civilians can opt not to be in the church while remaining in the state. A libertarian interpretation of the separation of church and state is that church members can form their own militia and non-church members can form their own anti-church militia. People can go their separate ways and everyone lives happily ever after. One reason Americans tend to be more religious than other nations is that they don't have any state religion. Consequently people take increased personal responsibility for promoting their faith because they know they can't rely on the state to do it for them. That's what you call irony! A pejorative term like priest-ridden is often nothing more than a false-dichotomy and euphemism for Catholic-ridden seeing as people chose the faith of their own free will. "Prod" also isn't a legitimate word. I feel as if I could use the Lord's name in vain here to express my exasperation but I fear that this would only offend both religions! Alleging that Ireland had to became Catholic solely because of Vatican priests or that Irish rule is Rome rule wouldn't be much different than saying Britain is Protestant just because of King Henry the Eighth's conversion. We're not slaves. Whatever about forced conversions in early history, people in later eras maintained and promoted their respective religions voluntarily. Let's not forget that Israel is the Holy Land of Christianity; not Ireland or England. I think Irish governments were very temperamental during the Troubles. It's as if they were apologising to both republicans and loyalists for the violence instead of being stern with them.)

(Southern politicians supported a United Ireland using peaceful means and they simultaneously condemned the IRA. Sometimes it feels like they supported the nationalist community in Northern Ireland only to repeatedly distance themselves from all of them for the crimes of the IRA even though the illegal group was simply a minority within a minority. It's hard to form a coherent response when the ultimate objectives are unclear. Being neutral (distant or passive) is not the same as either peacekeeping (UN) or peacemaking (diplomatic and judicial aid) which are both an active process (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacemaking). The government cannot be neutral when it's own citizens are under attack. Disarming civilians isn't a biased action but strictly speaking neither is it a neutral decision. I think previous Irish governments succeeded from a diplomatic standpoint in organising talks and reconciliation but failed to some extent from a policing point of view. At the time they didn't have a democratic majority for a United Ireland so I think it may have been a bit distracting and advocating defensive rights might have worked better. A United Ireland was promoted as a catch-all solution where the details and ultimate objectives weren't fully worked out. If your worldview is inconsistent then you'll lack the confidence to achieve it. The IRA essentially launched a three-pronged war against Britain, the Irish government and the capitalist economic system. Even when we ignore the immorality of it, the fact that overcoming one of those groups alone would have been unlikely meant that taking on all three simultaneously would've been nearly impossible. This brings up the ethics of waging an unwinnable war. Had the IRA won the civil war in Northern Ireland, then indeed there might have been a final civil war to end all civil wars between the Catholic and socialist sections of the terror group! The Falklands war occurred during the same time as the Troubles and it had a similar theme of territorial possession. So without a democratic majority in favour of a United Ireland it was almost a foregone conclusion that Britain was never going to change its mind. Furthermore some people who condemned IRA attacks but also supported the idea of a United Ireland could have been more specific and vocal about the type of United Ireland they hoped for seeing as it's unlikely they all agreed about a 32 county socialist republic. In my opinion some people's overriding desire for a United Ireland lead to the immediate problem of dealing with terrorist murders against unarmed civilians being sidetracked. A unification of the island could've been viewed as a long-term goal rather than a short-term one. All that counts for democracy is a simple majority and the blunt fact was that throughout the Troubles most people in the north were unionist. Redrawing the boundaries such that most people in the island of Ireland want a United Ireland without due regard for local democracy isn't how a fair referendum works. Otherwise any large country could simply vote itself ownership of a smaller country by strength of numbers. Voicing support of a United Ireland without qualifying a need to have 51% support in the North or trying to change the mind of a segment of unionist voters would've been slightly unhelpful and equivocal in my opinion. Democracy doesn't work by minority-control or natural entitlements. There'd be no point trying to fix one wrong by creating the opposite wrong much like being cold is no better than feeling too hot. One of the best ways to promote the potential of a United Ireland is to first advertise the advantages of the Republic of Ireland seeing as the Republic will still occupy the largest part of the island in a United Ireland. The more harmonious and egalitarian our own society is, the stronger of an argument we can make. I feel employment laws and political representation are important but nonetheless secondary to court fairness and security representation because if your life is in risk than every other right is automatically infringed. That is to say if you're in fear of danger then it's not much of a consolation to be employed in a well-paid job.)

(Some alternatives can actually be rather easy. For example one way to have counteracted reports of housing discrimination during the Troubles would be to have simply replaced social housing with rent allowance. Granting people free or subsidised houses is a necessary part of social policy when they're disadvantaged or disabled but the one-off gift is slightly more subjective. By contrast rent allowance is very consistent with an equal amount being distributed to all applicants with similar circumstances. Usually the public departments can be very fair and discerning in selecting the most vulnerable to receive extra help. However if huge problems arise then the simplest thing to do is to give equal payments to everyone where there can be no controversies. One way to have counteracted gerrymandering is to simply vote in a different constituency. Democracy says you can only vote once but seeing as everyone belongs to one country then there's no reason why you can't vote anywhere you want. People tend to vote in their local area simply because it makes the administration easier but it's not a fundamental prerequisite of elections.)

("Margaret Thatcher accused the Irish Government of doing nothing to help extradite a priest who allegedly worked for the IRA, state papers have revealed."


There appears to have been a contradictory attitude of appeasement where it was hoped that placating nationalist and unionist extremists in equal measure would satisfy both sides. It seems like Troubles-era Irish governments lacked a long-term goal about what their intentions were for Northern Ireland. It's one thing being neutral to foreign militaries but it's quite another to be neutral even towards criminals or terrorists. Terrorist organisations are small and informal groups that are far weaker than the Irish State. We don't know the exact content of the investigation into the Dublin-Monaghan bombings and perhaps the gardai genuinely did run out of evidence. However there appears to be other cases that truly did end prematurely like the one in the quote below. This makes reports of insufficient detective work in the Dublin-Monaghan attacks even more worrying seeing as it wouldn’t have been unprecedented. Who knows whether it was the department of justice rather than the gardai that were at fault here. There wouldn't be much point having a United Ireland if it became the crime capital of the world. The gardai's net contribution was still neutral given that British and Republican sympathisers within the organisation roughly counteracted each other. The RUC gets more flak because the collusion was one-way towards the loyalists without there being any rogue IRA supporters.

"Mr Ludlow was shot after leaving a bar in Dundalk and his body was found on May 2nd 1976 in a lane near his home.

Noone was ever charged in connection with the murder and his family say gardaí failed to pursue an important line of inquiry – that he was an innocent victim of either loyalist or British forces who mistook him for a senior member of the IRA.

Despite the RUC having identified suspects north of the Border, the Garda investigation was suspended after three weeks without explanation and on foot of what a Garda told the family were "orders from Dublin", they claimed."

https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/supreme-court-dismisses-appeal-brought-of-handing-of-garda-inquiry-into-seamus-ludlow-murder-1184425.html )

(When ancient crimes like the Irish famine were so extreme it might be tempting to hold onto suspicion. Sometimes the easiest way to see the unfairness of intergenerational responsibility might be through lesser crimes. For example no one is holding grudges for the penal laws of the 1700s! Except for me; I'm very meticulous!)


Probably some inappropriate jokes that don’t help my argument:

Bad as absolute monarchy might be, England's colonial expansionism only accelerated after the King was killed! Shakespeare warned us about a possible "descent into madness" from Macbeth killing King Duncan.

We need to start preparing for debates on Northern Ireland’s future:

In fact while I was in secondary school I sometimes used to go to lunch with my Orthodox Serbian friend who in turn had a ginger Protestant friend. We were a bit of an oddball group. We never actually discussed any ecumenical matters even though we happened to have come from the 3 churches!

Britain’s Sheep Empire:

“Highland Clearances, the forced eviction of inhabitants of the Highlands and western islands of Scotland... The removals cleared the land of people primarily to allow for the introduction of sheep pastoralism.”

Settlers set up sheep farms on the extensive grasslands and Canterbury (New Zealand) became the country’s wealthiest province.”

“By the Falkland’s War of 1982 sheep farming was the islands' only industry.

Our latest stealth technology: they’ll fly below radar even though they’ll be heard 10 minutes before they’re seen.

Historically it was the depressing rain that made everyone desperate to escape England and colonise elsewhere:

I declare my house to be its own microstate:

A tense MI5 drama set in Belfast about a punishment shooting:

I heard a story about my grandfather. The IRA had kidnapped someone at time and the gardai were always going to random houses to ask if the victim had been seen anywhere. He replied that he’d already eight children in the house and so wouldn’t have the space to hide anyone!

Definition of balkanise: to divide (an organisation or system) into small, incompatible units: changes that would Balkanise the corporation.

When the name of your town becomes a verb then that might be due to sinister factors. The last thing we need is any new vocabulary coming from Northern Ireland such as "the situation belfasted".

I was trying to defuse the tension but I better stop these jokes or I'll end up thrash talking everyone like this guy:


Frankie Boyle - Irish

I hear there are some tourist buses for people who want to see the landmarks of the Troubles. When I was in Belfast I got a really high-octane and cosmopolitan vibe from the colourful surroundings and the energetic nightlife. Maybe its tense history inadvertently adds to its dynamic atmosphere so that everyone can de-stress!

"Prince Harry: I've killed in Afghanistan. But Dad wants me to act like a prince"

- The upper class no longer have to lead from 10 miles behind the battlefield and now they can fly 10 miles above in their private helicopters! Their bird's eye view means they can radio in commands to their troops below, "Hurry up; put your backs into it".

The Irish secret service is so secret that no one knows it exists except for the minister of finance who has to try explain away billions in budget deficits. Our submarines have such good stealth technology that if it were right in front you then you still wouldn't be able to see it with your eyes or feel it with your hands.

(Just some macho music to make my piece sound more authoritative. My strategy is to brainwash readers with innuendo. My initials happen to be the M.M.M.! Or I could make my street name Triple M to rhyme with a more sinister crime! Alternatively I can trace back my lineage to call myself Michael the Third to sound more aristocratic! On second thought I might leave that one out in case it gets mispronounced as Michael the Turd in a Northern Ireland accent.)

My pantheism thread might have got me excommunicated by every religion had I written it hundreds of years ago. So I think that makes me an impartial voice in the situation! I happen to know English people in the tennis club so I couldn't be racist because it would look a bit awkward the next time I went down to practice! This excuse is like when you take an introductory rock-climbing course on holiday and the teacher tries to reassure you that he couldn't afford your fall on his insurance policy. I'd also have a few relatives who'd be upset since I'd actually a deceased grand-uncle in-law who used to be in the RAF. I heard a rumour that he was in hospital once where one of my relatives told him he'd call the priest. Of course he mixed up the names because a Protestant priest is termed a reverend. Anyway my grand-uncle got quite worried because he thought it was an attempt at a last-minute conversion!

There's a lot at stake. Voters in Northern Ireland will have to choose between Fair City or Coronation Street in the next referendum.

The Protestants and Catholics of Germany managed to see past their differences and unite during WW2 but unfortunately it was in an attempt to take over the world!

Even addressing people as Protestants and Catholics in a sharp voice probably sounds menacing at this stage!

"The Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) was a series of conflicts fought between England and France over succession to the French throne. It lasted 116 years and saw many major battles."

- Great. Who knows if Northern Ireland will still be on the news for yet another hundred years!

Had I been alive during the 1970s I wouldn't have joined any paramilitaries or the Irish or British armies. Instead I'd have learned Russian and volunteered to join their nuclear submarine units out in the Atlantic. If the Cold War turned hot then I'd have added Northern Ireland to my list of targets without unfairly discriminating between nationalists and unionists. Then we'd work on rebuilding society.

The cold breeze can inspire solidarity:

(Just breaking the ice here!)

To be honest I've never noticed much of a posh accent when I listen to upper class English people. I often hear a clear and almost neutral sound from interviews of David Cameron or Stephen Fry. It can actually be their middle and working classes who have the deep regional accents that sound kind of posh to non-natives. I'd find the no-nonsense voice of Gordon Ramsay or Jeremy Clarkson to be far more intimidatingly posh!

We've our own airport at Shannon in Co. Clare along with lots of agricultural land and a large town in Ennis. Perhaps we could go our separate ways and secede our county from the nation!

Book your holidays in Northern Ireland(!):

(Hot Fuzz (8/10) Movie CLIP - Mindless Violence (2007) HD)

There never seems to be a whole lot going on in County Meath. It seems like the type of place that were it atom bombed it'd take the rest of the country a few weeks to actually notice that the county was missing!

If I ever descend into criminality I'll make sure not to pick my victims on the basis of race. I'd steal anyone's lunch money irrespective of their ethnicity. Tut-tut! As a sign of trust I chose not to!

Is "Great" Britain short for "Greater" Britain like a greater metropolitan area including the outskirts? Or is it just plain great!?

Ireland couldn't be racist even if we wanted to; we're just too small a country to take on other continents!

I got a taxi home one evening with a black taxi driver. He spoke in an African accent. I guessed that he was Nigerian out of his confident demeanour and fondness for saying "God bless you". In retrospect I'm not sure if it's ethical for me to make these simplistic comparisons!

The Troubles would be a great backdrop for the movie business. It'd be like the Vietnam movies where the bleak weather, vague objectives and amoral crimes sets the stage for absurdist humour and existential crises!


so I asked a friend of mine today I said

to him he's from Ireland and I said to

him hey man you know in the Republic of

Ireland are the people allowed to own

guns and he looked at me as God no John

Edda and so I said like oh okay yeah

that's like Oh how's that how's that

worked for you guys and he goes that's

why the IRA exists and I went whoa


he goes yeah he's like the because if

the people in Ireland were allowed to

bear arms there would be no reason for

the IRA you know what I mean same thing

in Palestine I'll say the same thing in

the Basque region not a hundred percent

sure on that but I don't think the

general populace in the Basque region

are allowed to own weapons but I might

be wrong uh I don't know I can't think

of any more but uh you know and then you

got all even you get the Protestants you

know what I mean

the UVF uff you know those guys battled

the IRA and my buddies my buddy has a

really good point in it it's it all

stems from the fact that the general

populace aren't allowed to own weapons

in that they they're reliant upon this

government that supposedly you know

perfect in all its decisions

you know people are too immature to take

care of themselves you know what I mean

so we're going to take away all this

[ __ ] from you and it's just like well

what does that create does that create a

safer environment it would if it was a

perfect government but that doesn't

exist anywhere so it so by taking in my

opinion by by abolishing the Second

Amendment of this country either either

through you know contrived events or

just just whatever but by the general

populace just being completely asleep or

completely apathetic towards it you know

what I mean or just bought and sold by

the propaganda machine you know ii mean

if i don't know where i was going with

that but it's just can't wear with

fuck-ups say but uh it's not going to be

good it's not not when those in control

are more [ __ ] immature the most of

the [ __ ] out in the street or just

as bad as them you know ii mean this is

going to be worse

People already have enough problems in life, from poverty to natural mortality, besides having to deal with criminality and terrorism. You've a right to identify as Irish or British no matter what happens in Northern Ireland. Honestly I haven't gone to mass very much simply because I used to find it repetitive sometimes. People are far more likely to be bored than divided at church. Therefore I won't indulge anyone's melodramatic sob story about ancient religious wars. If you want to live as a hermit without affiliating with a country then that really wouldn't bother me at all. Authoritarian terror groups from either side are not needed. You're not a human shield of gung-ho individuals and be sure to distinguish yourself from anyone claiming to carry out violence in your name. Don't be enfeebled by having to place an undue amount of trust in any rogue or collusive individuals. The sign of legitimate authority is really quite simple: they abide by the same law that they enforce on others. Don't be used as ethnic propaganda by over-zealous individuals. The situation in Northern Ireland was so badly mishandled that it'd almost be a parody if the consequences hadn't been so severe. If a state wants to behave like a childish parody then be obliging and treat them as a parody. You don't owe anyone an apology for your religious orientation. People were very sensitive about religion in the 1970s and I'm definitely very supportive of the Catholic and Protestant religions. Non-affiliated and atheistic people might be far more critical than I was in assessing the Northern Ireland conflict. I say that not out of personal defensiveness but simply as a reflection of the fact that society has become secularised and averse to any notions of religious supremacy. I'm certainly no saint and the fact that even I had to give a moral lecture on the conflict is a sign of how dark the situation was back then. There's a risk that historical victims will be exploited by cynical people with their own pro-militia agenda! If you're ever going to make an angry video then you can point the camera upwards to make the viewers feel like they're lying on the ground!

I'm afraid I can be a bit impatient sometimes! A minute-long video produced about 5 seconds of usable material! I apply that message to people in both the north and south. No one should be turned into a sitting duck. Disarm republican and loyalist gun clubs but not those that operate for valid reasons. The UVF and IRA were disbanded and have no direct representation in Stormont. It'd be a bit of a grey area whether political parties that once represented those terror groups could ever be trusted with militias but suffice it to say there are enough moderate parties to take their place. In other words the military representation of the DUP or Sinn fein could be reallocated to milder unionist and nationalist voices if there were a hypothetical militia system in place. I find myself getting annoyed at some of the events that happened in Troubles even though we can't change what happened in history. Besides; most of it happened before I was born! I don't know what was going on back then and I take no responsibility! I'm not running for election and truth be told be told I don't need to. In our discussion of relative poverty and economic discrimination we cannot forget about absolute poverty in an international context. I was in Turkey once where the hotel receptionist was in a jovial mood and said I must be rich to have flown in from Ireland. I've never viewed myself as rich and usually the tendency is to try our best to feel empathy for poorer individuals rather than necessarily gratefulness for our own opportunities. But when we visit foreign countries with a larger percentage of working class people it's clear that nations in our part of the world are relatively privileged. I remember looking out of my hotel room window and seeing builders working in intense heat and likely for long hours with low pay. I was out walking really early one morning not because I got up on time but simply because I was up all night and planning to go to bed in the afternoon! My sleep-deprived mind was dazzled by their morning prayers on speaker and large numbers of people withstanding the soaring temperatures for their day's work. When a country has a lot of poorer people it forces them to be extremely efficient and the cafes were very cheap despite selling high-quality and meticulous meals. It reminded me that if people in the second or third world possessed the same resources as citizens in Ireland or England, they'd never voluntarily plough it down the drain on 30 year conflicts like the Troubles. (I know there's a long conflict with Kurd separatists but that's quite a different set of circumstances where a lot of Kurds identify as Turkish. There are drug wars in Latin America but some of that is to do with a lack of government revenue.) If we can afford lots of dual carriage ways in our country then we can certainly afford to pay for thorough criminal investigations into terrorism. If Ireland and England were third world countries in Africa where police forces are routinely cash-stricken then maybe I wouldn't have been as harsh on them. However with all the manpower and finance they had at their disposal I think serious lessons have to be learned.


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