The People have their say

The TImes has produced an interesting article (thanks to Newshound) describing the reaction of the people of South Armagh to the week's events. Since most in the media often seem happy to characterise the people of South Armagh with their own prejudices and stereotypes, it's nice to see some journalists taking the time to actually travell to the area and find out what the people are thinking.

The mood seems underwhelmed but cautiously optimistic. Unsurpringly, the people will judge the success of the IRA's move by the impact it has on their own lives. The people want the British watchtowers gone. They want a better future and realise that a peaceful society is the best way to achieve this. But it takes more than one side to make the peace.


Shoot to kill? Or just to make publicity?

I see the man repsonsible for the Milltown massacre has become embroiled in a controversy over appearing in a photograph brandishing a rifle. It seems Mr. Stone will go to any lengths to keep himself in the public eye. I suppose we should almost be grateful that unlike his former colleagues in the Loylaist paramilitary groupings, he is merely posing with rifles rather than using them.

No comparasion

I see Mr. Blair has rejected calls by Unionists to apoligise for his refusal to equate the IRA's armed campaign with AL Queda

Why should he?! He was right not to equate the two.

It is clear that the IRA are not at all like Al Queda. The IRA's campaign was directed at British occupation in Ireland, not innocent civilans. Yes I accept that many innocent civilans needlessly died during the IRA's campaign but this was never the IRA's primary intention although of course it should never have happened. But there is a fundemental difference between the Republican cause and Islamic fundementalism - the IRA did not want to destroy Britian, all any Republican ever wanted was to end the 800 year old travesty of British rule in Ireland. Al Queda wish to destroy the Western world, the IRA just wanted the Irish part of the world to be run by Irishmen. They should not be compared.

Willie Frazer wishes to place pictures of the bodies of IRA victims and Al Queda victims on his website, along with the caption: "Who is the IRA victim and who is the al-Queda victim, Mr Blair?"

Would it be possible to add a third picture and option? Who is the victim of British state sponsored Loyalist murder?

Pluto and Setanta?

Astromoners have found what they believe will be confirmed as our solar system's tenth planet. What will be interesting for the average punter will be to see what this planet is called.

Have any Balrog readers got any ideas? I'd like to put in an early vote for the planet to be named after mythical Irish hero Setanta. I've just always loved the name!

Wrong description

I see the Belfast Telegraph has described yerterday's events in SOuth Armagh as a "scaling down of security"

I feel this is the wrong term to use. Those British watchtowers were not about security, they were about occupation.

So true

I see Gerry O'Sullivan has found an excellent diagram exposing the hyprocisy of those on the right of the political spectrum with regards to the recent tragic bombings in London and the murder of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.


Don't return hate with hate

I'm saddened to see that hate crimes against the Muslim community in Britian seems on the brink of spiralling out of control in the aftermath of the tragedy on 7th July. British society needs to take a long look at itself and make sure that it is not creating an atmosphere where Muslims are seen as fair game for hate filled fascists. Those who attack innoncent Muslims indiscriminately are sipping from the same cup of hatred as the suicide bombers themselves.


I will have to leave you to your own devices this evening as the Poitin is a calling. I have a Republican function to attend.
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I think I have kept you well informed over the last few days.

I would like to thank Balrog readers as we had almost 1,000 visitors yesterday.

I will also be in Dublin early tommorrow morning but might get some blogging done.


99 Earls?

So farewell youse boys and girls
Another bloody flight of Earls
Our best assest is out best export too

I'm sure some of you are familar with the WOlfe Tones' song quoted above where the loss of young people to emigration is compared to the 1607 "Flight of Earls" where many leading Irish patriots were forced to flee to the continent. History has told us that 99 survived the journey but recent research suggests that this may in fact not have been the case. Next year will see a major documentary on the subject as we approach the 400th anniversary of the Flight of Earls. Certainly something to ponder and look forward for those interested in Irish history.

GAA from a UUP perspective

As regular readers of Balrog probably know, both myself and Chris are avid followers of the GAA.
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Personally I follow my home county up and down the country throughout the year, as well as being an active memeber of my local club. I have always rejected the accusation made by ill formed people that the GAA is somehow a sectarian or anti-British organisation. As I blogged at the time, I opposed the temporary suspension of Rule 42. I do so simply because I believed that it would be the sport I love which would be harmed if other sports were allowed to use our facilities. However leading on from this, it was interesting to see the views of a staunch Unionist on matters GAA. It was encouraging to see how one particular Unionist was willing to rise about the stereotyping which emanates from certain quarters of his community and was willing to attempt to understand the GAA and hopefully eventually go on to support it. It was interesting to read such a take on the GAA and I agree with the author that both the Unionist community and the GAA should meet the challenge to make each acceptable to the other without compromising the integrity of either.

'Wait and see' attitude in South Armagh

"The soldiers are still walking our streets, they're stopping traffic in the roads and they've these spy posts on the hills ... it's now up to the Brits to call it a day."

That was the view yesterday evening of a woman in one of the busiest stores in Crossmaglen, the south Armagh hot-bed of the IRA campaign since 1969.
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Yesterday, one prominent republican activist in Crossmaglen said: "We just hope it will work ? but we will honour the republican code and abide by everything in the IRA statement".

Having spent most of yesterday and a good part of today stuck in doors blogging I haven't really had a chance to get talking to most of the ones in my area.

The ones I have spoken to had a range of emotions from awe to a contemplation. Most were caught by surprise even though most of them knew it was coming.

As the lad from Cross said, Republicans will honour the statement and the code.

The ball is now in the Brits court.

Adams expresses regret for grief caused during Troubles

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has expressed regret for the grief caused to the families of all those who died during the Troubles in the North.
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Mr Adams also said brave people, including soldiers and police, had fought on both sides of the conflict.

Now when is Tony Blair going to apologise to the victims of State Collusion?

The smell of fear

You can smell the fear that is being exuded by the SDLP now. The armed campaign is over and many nationalists who would not have supported Sinn Féin before will now.
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Where does this leave the SDLP?

Durkan has said Republicans must sign up to policing

Catch a grip Mark!!!

You are in no position to anyone what to do

Does he honestly think Sinn Féin will sign up to what the SDLP did?

Not a mission!!

The SDLP may be happy to brown nose wolves in sheep’s clothing but Republicans certainly aren't

Peace dividend promises electoral bounty for SF

An excellant piece in the Irish Examiner from Shaun Connolly
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The piece is summed up well when he says

"And in a telling aside, Gerry Adams said the question now was not whether Fianna Fáil would be prepared to go into coalition with Sinn Féin, but whether Sinn Féin would consider forming a government with Fianna Fáil."

That is the question

I don't forsee Sinn Féin entering a coalition government but allowing Fianna Fáil to form a minority government in exchange for a few items.

That said Eoin O Broin had an excellant piece in An Phoblacht some time ago so who knows?

I would personally prefer a left wing alternative to the failed politics of corruption that has plagued politics in the South for the last 20 years.

It's about time we removed the brown envelope from Irish politics

You couldn't make it up

And people wonder why the UUP are in the position they are. It seems that the Young fogeys in the Young Unioinists are keen to save Orlaith from eviction and have appealed to the Northern Irish public to vote for the 26-year-old model.
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I want to make things perfectly clear, I HATE BB!!!

I couldn't care less if the lot of them get evicted but I do find it funny that the youth wing of the most conservative party on this island, after the Free P's, are supporting a woman who does what?

Ah yes, the boobs!

She's isn't my type personally speaking, I prefer brunettes.

It's a funny old world

I wonder what would Carson and Craig say about this?

The fools, the fools, the fools

Oh I wish, I wish I could be Ruairi " I'm the only true Republican" O Bradaigh. Then I would have to do nothing but talk shit from the sidelines.
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According to the heir apparent the IRA announcement is a betrayal of republican principles.

"The Provisionals should discard the trappings of the Republicanism they once served," he said

Tell me something Ruairi, what exactly is your suggestion?

-How would you achieve the Republic?

-What are you doing to achieve the Republic?

I wonder how many was at the last RSF Ard Fheis?

I hear the phone box had a few more spaces.


If you have to bullshit, do it properly

The BBC reports that the British army is dismantling a number of security posts and bases in South Armagh following the IRA's statement.
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I am sorry but that is bullshit!!

"A base at Forkhill will close, while a watchtower at Sugarloaf Mountain and an observation post at Newtownhamilton police station will also be removed."

All of which had been decided over 6 months ago and has nothing to do with the IRA statement. The same base in Forkhill is not closing for good as the British army will still be there.

When are they going to remove one of the ugliest sights in South Armagh, their watch tower on Dromintee mountain?


Lá dochasach

Firstly I would like to congratulate Chris on his day's blogging, I think he almost wrapped up the Republican repsonse from almost every angle. Plus he has mastered the art of photographs (for Balrog, not for Paisley!) so I fear my less colourful contributions will pale in significance!

I absolutely welcome the IRA's statement. It is historic and unprecedented. I use these words not as some sort of catchphrase but because they are the best way to describe today's events. The cynics try to claim that they have "heard it all before", but this is simply not the case. At 4pm today "The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign". These are words that have not been heard before and people would do well to recognise and acknowledge their significance.

But now is not a time to reflect on achievements or rue past mistakes. As the Phil Coulter song goes
Whats won is won. And whats done is done and what's lost is lost and gone forever.

The song goes on to mention a "bright new day". It is responsibility of those on all sides to make sure that the bright new day is not merely an aspiration but a reality. The IRA have done all that was asked of them. They have answered Gerry Adams' call with clarity, courage and precision. For so long Unionism has used the IRA as an excuse to weasel out of their commitments to equality and power sharing. NO excuse exists anymore and rejectionist Unionism must NOT be indulged any more.

Republicans have acted in good faith and this statement must be responded to in kind. Chris has outlined many of the most important issues. Demiliterisation MUST become a reality. The Irish government also has a responsibility to make sure that we here in the north can play the fullest part possible in the affairs of the nation.

As far as devolution is concerned, a power sharing executive is still my favoured option. Republicans are willing to share power tomorrow but if Unionism is still to be found wanting then other avenue such as joint authority should be explored.

There will be interesting times ahead and I hope and pray that they will be better times.

Seán out for good

It seems I was right last night when I suggested Peter Hain would release Seán for good following todays statement.
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Mr Hain said: "Today’s statement by the IRA has created a new situation and thereby changed the context of my original decision to suspend Sean Kelly’s licence"

"Having seen the statement I judged that it materially affected the evidence that I would have submitted to the Sentence Review Commissioners"

"On the basis that I no longer consider it appropriate that his licence should be revoked it would have been wrong to keep him in prison until the SRC had made a formal decision in his case"

No Peter it was wrong to lock him up in the first place just to appease rejectionist Unionism!

Your having a laugh!!!

Loyalists today greeted the IRA’s statement with suspicion and expressed concern over the motives behind the historic announcement according to Robert de Nero look-alike UDA brigadier Jackie McDonald.
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He said: “How can they say to wee Paddy, on the border with his AK47, who has spent 27 years shooting at soldiers and peelers (police): ’Give us your AK47. You don’t need it any more’?

“How do they say to the real hardliners ’We are getting what we set out to get’? The Green Book (the IRA constitution) said they would never give up an ounce of Semtex or a bullet until we achieve a United Ireland.”

The difference is McDonald that unlike your motley crew of druggie reprobates the IRA is a structured disciplined army and they will follow army commands!!

He said: “If there was any plan in the next number of years for it to happen, to bring about a united Ireland, loyalism and unionism would rebel against it. We would become what the IRA were. We would have to fight against it any way we could.”

I don't think we would expect anything else and if most Unionists were honest they would probably say the same thing as McDonald.

“The hawks (in the IRA) would not have it any other way. The most important thing is that the weapons are not being used.”

That's the thing though Jackie, loyalist weapons are being used!!!!!!!!

The hypocrisy of loyalist’s is spell binding!!

It's good to talk

Sinn Féin is ready to open talks with Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party about a resumption of power-sharing in the North following the “momentous” decision by the IRA to put away its guns.
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“We are quite prepared to speak to them (DUP) tomorrow morning but we will say very, very clearly that we do not accept any preconditions whatsoever on the all-Ireland institutions, the Good Friday institutions, the Assembly being put in place,”

“The only point I would like to make and I would like Ian Paisley to reflect on this. Some years ago he said, and he said it at a press conference and he had a sledgehammer in his hand, and he said that he was going to smash Sinn Féin,”

“Is Sinn Féin smashed? It is not. Any of us can come off with these statements. This is not a day for the hard word. This is a day for time to absorb what has happened. Give Ian Paisley the space to absorb it."

“If Ian Paisley does not engage then the rest of us cannot sit waiting, and hanging about until the DUP comes to terms with the need for equality on this island.”

It seems the swords have been crossed

Not everyone is happy

Some Republicans in North Belfast’s Ardyone district did not have the same experience when they heard of the IRA statement.
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All through the district people who look to the IRA to protect them from loyalist terrorists were gripped by anxiety.

"I wouldn`t have given up a single empty shell because this neighbourhood is going to be defenceless," claimed Terry McLarnon.

They were puzzled and frustrated by the decision to get rid of all the guns when loyalists remain fully armed. Widower Jimmy McAley, 50, urged republicans to store their huge arsenal rather than destroy them.

I share their concerns and once the loyalists finish their feud they will go back to what they do best, sell drugs and kill Catholics.

I still think what the IRA did today was the correct path but lets not forget what the IRA said in their statement today.

"The issue of the defence of nationalist and republican communities has been raised with us. There is a responsibility on society to ensure that there is no re-occurrence of the pogroms of 1969 and the early 1970s."

Make no mistake that if what happened in 69 and 70 happened again no republican would sit back and allow it to happen, forget the IRA I am talking about ordinary republicans.

We have a huge responsibility on our shoulders now and the sooner the loyalists are sorted out the better.

Issue of OTR's to be addressed

It has emerged that Republicans who are on the run may be offered an amnesty under forthcoming British legislation this autumn.
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Secretary of State Peter Hain said tonight the Irish and British Governments had promised to act on the issue in their Joint Declaration in 2003 once the IRA had moved to decommission.

Sinn Féin sent a list of OTRs to the British Government in 2002, which is believed to include up to 40 republicans who cannot return to Northern Ireland without facing the prospect of being jailed.

One of the highest profile is Sinn Féin`s US lobbyist Rita O`Hare, who jumped bail more than 30 years ago while awaiting trial for the attempted murder of British soldiers.

This is good news and is one of the issues that needs to be resolved before we can move on.

Slán Abhaile

Following on from the IRA's unprecedented step today it's time for Britian to distamtle their war machine in Ireland.
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Republicans are demanding that Army watchtowers which for decades have scarred the lush green hills of South Armagh disappear forever. A dramatic reduction in the number of troops and military activity is also required.

Bear in mind that in South Armagh the overwhelming majority of people support the peace process. The minority includes the DUP and dissident's who have not raised their head in years.

Therefore there is no argument for the kind of watchtowers and helicopter activity which we have.

Tony get off your backside and sort it out!!

IRA decision 'a courageous initiative': Adams

The IRA decision to lay down its arms represents a courageous and confident initiative and is a momentous defining point in the search for lasting peace with justice, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said today.
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Mr Adams said in Dublin: “There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment and to make Irish freedom a reality.

Mr Adams said history would not be kind to any government which played politics with today's developments

Bear this in mind McDowell!

“National liberation struggles can have different phases. There is a time to resist, to stand up and to confront the enemy by arms if necessary.

“In other words, there is a time for war. There is also a time to engage, to reach out, to put the war behind us all.

“There is a time for peace. There is a time for justice. There is a time for rebuilding. This is that time. This is the era of the nation builders.”

Correct and right

What a bunch of wasters!!

It seems party politics has resumed once more in the 26 counties
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While I expected the IRA statement to be enough for the Irish government, and it has as Brian Cowan has welcomed today’s statement. Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds said today was a historic day.

Then the usual suspects rear their ugly head

McDowell noted that the statement did not disband the IRA and said it remains an unlawful organisation.

That's the way it is Mickey!!

Then the blue shirts came with Richard Bruton saying Fine Gael would also oppose allowing the IRA to organise commemorations of its past atrocities. Mr Bruton added that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny would be seeking an early meeting with the Taoiseach to establish if any concessions were granted to Sinn Féin by the Government in the run up to this statement.


You mean the RIGHTS of every Irish man and woman to be part of the Irish nation as enshrined in Bunreacht na hEireann.

All these people are trying to outdo themselves in anti-republican rhetoric because they are all the same.

The Irish people have seen this day for what it is, Historic

Historic Day

History has been made today when the Republican movement took the bold and courageous step of removing the gun from Irish politics.
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Statement in full

I have looked over my predictions and so far they match events perfectly

The IRA are to be congratulated on this bold move in the face of a loyalist feud.

Our struggle has now changed, the ending of the armed struggle but the struggle continues on and will continue on until we have a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic.

Now that Republicans have acted it is time others did also.

The DUP need to talk to Sinn Féin and restore power sharing and all the North South bodies.

The Brits need to dismantle their war machine in Ireland.

The Irish government need to do what they promised to do and give speaking rights in the Dáil.

Republicans should not feel sad today or deflated, the armed struggle is over but our revenge will be the laughter of our children.

Tiocfaidh ár Lá

IRA - War is over

The IRA have just released a statement on their future intentions. This is the statement in full. I have only read this statement once and will analyse it later on the blog, however from first glance it seems the IRA has done all that was expected. It has provided the impetus for the fresh start for Irish politics and has given the process new life and vigour. The governments and Unionists must not be found wanting in this challenging new era.

IRA Statement

"The leadership of Óglaigh na hÉireann has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4pm this afternoon.

All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All Volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means. Volunteers must not engage in any other activities whatsoever.

The IRA leadership has also authorised our representative to engage with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use in a way which will further enhance public confidence and to conclude this as quickly as possible.

We have invited two independent witnesses, from the Protestant and Catholic churches, to testify to this.

The Army Council took these decisions following an unprecedented internal discussion and consultation process with IRA units and Volunteers.

We appreciate the honest and forthright way in which the consultation process was carried out and the depth and content of the submissions. We are proud of the comradely way in which this truly historic discussion was conducted. The outcome of our consultations show very strong support among IRA Volunteers for the Sinn Féin peace strategy.

There is also widespread concern about the failure of the two governments and the unionists to fully engage in the peace process. This has created real difficulties. The overwhelming majority of people in Ireland fully support this process. They and friends of Irish unity throughout the world want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Notwithstanding these difficulties our decisions have been taken to advance our republican and democratic objectives, including our goal of a united Ireland. We believe there is now an alternative way to achieve this and to end British rule in our country. It is the responsibility of all Volunteers to show leadership, determination and courage. We are very mindful of the sacrifices of our patriot dead, those who went to jail, Volunteers, their families and the wider republican base. We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.

We are conscious that many people suffered in the conflict. There is a compelling imperative on all sides to build a just and lasting peace.

The issue of the defence of nationalist and republican communities has been raised with us. There is a responsibility on society to ensure that there is no re-occurrence of the pogroms of 1969 and the early 1970s. There is also a universal responsibility to tackle sectarianism in all its forms.

The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.

We call for maximum unity and effort by Irish republicans everywhere.

We are confident that by working together Irish republicans can achieve our objectives. Every Volunteer is aware of the import of the decisions we have taken and all Óglaigh are compelled to fully comply with these orders.

There is now an unprecedented opportunity to utilise the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process. This comprehensive series of unparalleled initiatives is our contribution to this and to the continued endeavours to bring about independence and unity for the people of Ireland."

Who betrayed who?

As i browsed this morning's Newspapers, I noticed the front page of the News Letter screaming "Betrayed" in reference to the newspaper's disgust at the end of Séan Kelly's internment.

For once I agree with a paper that is increasing losing credibility with its attempts to become ven more hardline than the DUP.

There was a betrayal involved in the Sean Kelly situation. But it was a betrayal of the trust which Republicans had in the process. It was a betrayal of the belief that internment had eneded and it was a betrayal of the British government's commitment to release political prisoners. Yes, I'm sure Séan Kelly's release is part of choreography which will led to a statement from the IRA in the next couple of hours. But since his jailing in the first place was merely a sop to Unionists who doubted Hain's credentials, we should all be grateful that the sorry affair seems to be over.


Seán Kelly is freed

After over a month of being illegally interned Seán Kelly has been released. Hat-Tip Gerry O Sullivan
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According to reports he has been freed on what is called temporary release pending an application to the Sentence Review Commission. The application to the commission, which rules on alleged breaches of a prisoner's licence, will be forwarded on Thursday morning.

If any of you have read my post on what I expect from the IRA statement you will see that Seán Kelly's release would be paramount if the Volunteers were to accept any new "mode".

I have a feeling that the sentence review board will free Seán for good on Thursday following on from an IRA statement tomorrow.

Saol fada chugat Seán

Drop in Irish abortions in Britain

The number of Irish women travelling to Britain for an abortion has dropped
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According to official figures from the UK Department of Health, six thousand two hundred and seventeen Irish women crossed the sea last year to terminate a pregnancy.

It is a 1.7 per cent drop, compared to the previous year.

This is a very difficult issue for a lot of people. I myself am against abortion as I believe there is always another option but like Sinn Féin I will never vilify a woman who has an abortion.

It's a stick up!!

Sorry couldn't resist;)
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Almost 10,000 Viagra-type drugs have been seized during an operation in north Belfast.

Health Minister Shaun Woodward said: "This haul has been a major blow to those people.."


No wonder youse boys in North Belfast are always rioting ;)

Practise what you preach

It seems that empty vessels do make the most sound. Mc Dowell, you remember him; the one who thinks he is a republican when he is really a Partionist
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has said that “This Good Friday Agreement is many years old now and I deeply regret that it’s now that the Provisional movement are facing up to their responsibilities under that agreement,”

“That delay is not excusable and the sooner all of these matters are resolved, as far as I am concerned, the better.”


What about the British and Irish governments commitments, demilitarisation, speaking rights in the Dáil etc

Please don't insult me intelligence McDowell

Good enough for the Irish government

I may be wrong but it seems the IRA statement will be good enough for the Irish Government.
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Bertie Ahern has said “I think hopefully, hopefully, because I can’t be certain on this issue, because I don’t control the writing of these statements, but the Government’s position is very clear on it that I do genuinely believe that we are within days of seeing an enormous change in the situation,”

I think we can agree that with a statement like this Ahern has seen the statement or at least told what is going to be in it.

The pressure will soon be on Paisley to deliver his side.

To march or not to march

It seems the proposed republican parade in Ballymena has taken a new twist
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While I find it funny that the hypocrisy of Unionism has been exposed by this parade that doesn't mean I am a hypocrite.

The issue of parades in Ireland is a contentious one and so we have too balance two competing rights. The right to march and the right of residents. Neither groups right has primacy over the other.

Dialogue is the only path


Count down begins

I think it's fair to say that we will probraly have the IRA statement before the end of the week. It has been announced that Martin McGuinness and Rita O'Hare will travel to the United States to brief Irish Americans on the current political situation.

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There has been a lot of speculation on the statement this last few days. Let's hope when it does come it's to everyones satasfiction.

Somewho I doubt that

Bin Laden 'tried to flood US with poisoned cocaine'

I found this story very interesting.

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It seems ole Osama tried to flood the US drugs market with poisoned coke. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't shed a tear for any smack head who crocked it over the poisoned coke but I feel it does show a new level of desperation by the old turban tanker himself.

You have some cheek

David Ervine has some bare faced cheek!!!

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He said "Loyalists would like to see a clear and unambiguous acceptance from the IRA that the way forward for republicanism is only through politics"

This from a man who represents Loyalism which is engaged in a feud, whose ceasefire is non-existant and who can't even control his own charges.

It's about time Davey got his head out of his backside and looked at the problems in his own community.

He is in no place to start making demands or requests

If you live by the sword

A former Marist Brother serving eight years for the serial abuse of young boys was in hospital last night after his throat was slashed by a fellow inmate.

Christopher Cosgrove was attacked as he returned from a workshop to his cell on the A2 landing of Roscommon’s Castlerea Prison. Cosgrave was taken to Roscommon County Hospital, where his condition is reported not to be life threatening.


I have no problem in saying that I do not feel one iota of compassion or pity for a Paedophile who got his throat slashed. I think of it as justice doing a full circle.

This tramp abused and destroyed numerous children’s lives.

I hope he burns in hell!!


Sinn Fein in Number 10 discussion

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were in Downing Street on Monday, the meeting, which was not publicised, came amid speculation over an imminent statement by the IRA on its future.

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Some people however don't seem to happy about this. Reg Empey UUP "leader" has said everyone in 6 counties knew that republicans were "up to their neck" in criminal activity.


How goes Mr Copland these days?

Reg, who led a six-strong UUP delegation to the Downing Street talks

LOL, Was that all of the UUP or did you bring punters off the street?

It was the lack of a backbone that has left the UUP in the position they are in today


I see people have had to leave their homes as part of the ongoing "loyalist" feud

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These people are scum and the people representing them are incompetant.

MP for the area Peter Robinson said those involved should take a step back.


If this had been Republicans he would have said a lot more than that but I suppose the red berry is a hard thing to take off.

Sorry mate, you just ain't the right sort for us.

I see the DUP are to table a motion in the House of Commons condemning the appointment of Bob Collins as head of the Equality Commission. While I suppose even the existence of such a commission is in opposition to what the DUP stand for, the DUP seem to have no reason whatsoever as to why Mr. Collins is unsuitable for the job. Except of course, the most fundemental reason in DUP circles, that is that Mr. Collins has previously worked in the 26 counties and is, presumably, a Catholic.

Old Boys Club

Veteran Irish actor David Kelly is being hotly tipped to win an Oscar for his performance in the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

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While I am sure he is more than deserving of this honor I will not hold my breathe.

Look at what the old boys club that is the Oscars did to Richard Harris (RIP)

His performance in the "Field" was fantastic and worthy of an Oscar.

The old boys club will do what they always do and that is why the Oscars are a joke.


PLANS for a 500 strong demonstration by Protestants on the route of the Apprentice Boys parade in Londonderry have met with a muted response from all quarters

For several years the August Apprentice Boys march in Derry has passed off without serious incident, due to a pioneering talks process between the loyal order and nationalist residents chaired by local businessmen.

Derry has been one of the success stories of the marching season as the Apprentice boys accepted the need to speak to local residents and reach accommodation.

While these morons are entitled to protest at whatever they want that doesn't change the fact that they are morons.

Policing concerns

The decision by the British government to give MI5 control of intelligence-gathering in the North concerns Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan. She believes if MI5 is handed primacy here in matters of intelligence it could “diminish” confidence in the policing of the North.

What confidence?

There will always be spooks in the north and that is one of the reasons why I will never support a six county police force

Shoot to kill policy alive and well

Human rights activists, religious leaders and the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was executed in the London Underground on Friday as British police operated a shoot-to-kill policy, have expressed their outrage at the brutal killing.

The sister of murdered Tyrone man Aidan McAnespie has condemned Friday’s execution of an innocent Brazilian man in London as part of a police shoot-to-kill policy.
Aidan McAnespie was shot dead in 1988 as he walked through a British army checkpoint on his way to play Gaelic football in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone.

A terrible tragedy that will no doubt inspire more suicide bombings and not less

Tolerance too much to bear for the PARAs

I'm very dissapointed to learn that a group of intransigent Unionists intend to "protest" against preceived wrong doings on their community at a flashpoint area of Derry City. As the group call themselves PARA, a clear reference to the regiment who murdered 13 nationalists in Derry on Bloody Sunday, there is little doubt as to what type of mindset they are attempting to appeal to. To use such a provocative name in Derry City tells a lot about what these people have to offer community relations. Although there have been minor skirmishes, in general relations with regards to parades in Derry have been an example to other areas in the north. Residents groups and the Royal Black Institution and the Orange Order have been able to get around a table and hammer out a deal. Obviously this sensible approach is too accomodating and neighbourly for some who are determined to fan the flames of sectarian tension in the Madien City. I hope their protest is treated with the contempt it deserves - by simply being ignored.

Joint Authority

Following on from my post on the forthcoming IRA statement I noticed that Maurice Morrow has said the DUP "needs time to trust in SF"

I am not naive and understand that genuine Unionists don't trust Sinn Féin. We have to live with the reality that an awful lot of Nationalists and Republicans including SDLP supporters don't trust the DUP and Unionism in general.

It is because of this catch 22 that stalemate is inevitable. Republicans will not settle for this. It is because of this that I foresee the formalising of the existing relationship in some form of Joint Authority.

That should get the DUP moving on a lot quicker.

LOL, I can't wait to see how the likes of Stalford and David Vance react to that if or perhaps when it occurs.

Will Unionism threaten violence? or are they really "democrats"

I have my suspicions

Beo go fóil!

Is minic a cluinim go bhfuil an teanga Gaelige "marbh". Nil é seo an cás, cinnte, ach caithfaidh mé a admhail nach bhfuil mo teanga duchais chomh laidir már a thiocfadh sé a bheith. Ach nil reasuin ar bith ann nach mbheidh an gaelige in inmhe dul i bhfeabhas sa blianta atá le teacht. Feiceann Gearóid Ó Caireallain ag teanga Eabhrais Iosraeil agus an ceacht atá ag baint leis athbheochain an teanga seo maidir leis an Gaelige.

Many ill informed people deride the Iriah language as being "dead". While this is certainly not the case, even the most enthusiastic of Irish speakers would admit that our native language is not as widespread as we would perhaps like it to be. However Irish was once the vernacular in this country and there is not reason why a modern Irish state cannot have both Irish and English co existing as spoken tongues by the majority throughout the nation. Gearóid Ó Caireallain believes that this is possible and he sees the case of Israeli Hebrew as proof that such a revival is possible.


I see the DUP have confirmed that assmebly member Paul Berry has been suspended over allegations with regards to his sex life. Mr. Berry's short career has been such that I have little sympathy for him in his current plight, but there is one crucial question which needs to be answered. If Mr. Berry is currently suspended and facing disciplinary action, does this mean that homosexuality is banned in the Democratic Unionist Party?


IRA statement, What will it mean for this Republican?

According to the BBC's security "expert" Brian Rowan the IRA statement is expected possibly within days.

When it comes what will it mean for me, your Joe average Republican from South Armagh?

Let me set out first what I expect to come out of it given the fact that I have no knowledge of what will be in it.

-The IRA will enter a new mode, not disband

I would be shocked if the IRA disbanded

-The issue of Republican arms will be sorted out once and hopefully for all

This is going to be problematic as friends who used to be volunteers have told me that nobody really knows how many guns there are. Semtex has roughly a 20-25 year life span, depending on how it is stored. That has basically sorted itself out.

-The issue of OTR's will be sorted out

-Sean Kelly will be released and the issue of the Castlereagh 5 will be looked at

Without this a lot of Republicans will be very upset and it may be hard to sell to the Volunteers.

-The statement will suffice the two governments but not the DUP

-Republicans are going to have to make very difficult decisions

This will be very true for younger Volunteers who have grown increasingly frustrated with the direction of the peace process and the constant crisis.

I do not wish the IRA to go back to war. There is no reason for it and there is no will for it from the vast majority of the Republican movement and the Nationalist and Republican community at large. I do not believe armed conflict will produce a United Ireland. I believe we can achieve that through political means. I have always supported and defended the IRA's war for the last 30 years because I know there was no other way but now there is.

It is going to be a difficult time ahead.

-Lastly the most difficult aspect of the future for Republicans, Policing

This is going to be very hard to sell to your average Nationalist never mind a Republican. Personally speaking even were Patton to be fully implemented I will never support a 6 county police force. I was brought up to resent and rebel against any form of British influence in Ireland and that is what 6 county policing is.

An extension of the British security force

We shall have to just wait and see

What a Day!!!!!!!

I'm a happy man tonight! Armagh took their fifth Ulster title in seven years and gained a measure of revenge for their 2003 All Ireland defeat as they beat Tyrone today at Croke Park by 0-13 to 0-11.

They looked down and out at one stage but showed their true grit, courage and a never say die attitude to pull through at the end. Tyrone will point to some controversial referring decisions but at the end of the day that's football. Armagh were brilliant when it mattered the most and hopefully now we'll be completing the set in September after taking the NFL title in May.


Bombing a Church

I'm disgusted to learn this morning of a petrol bomb attack on the Holy Cross Church. As I pass that area often, it has struck me how isolated the Holy Cross Church could be, sandwiched as it is between Loyalist communities (despite me knowing little about North Belfast the UVF/UYM/UDA/LVF flags make that pretty clear to me, more on my views on that later). Fr. Aidan Troy has been known for his bravery and courage in defending the people of Ardoyne and it seems that the best way to deal with this for some is to sneak about in the dead of night with petrol bombs. Obviously this is an attempt to ratchet up secterian tensions in the area, espicially considering what happened on the 12th July. Calm heads are needed on both sides as it is always the most vunerable in society who suffer in these instances. Secterian attacks cannot be condoned, regardless of which side they emanate from.

No evidence, no trial, no justice.

I see Peter Hain has refused to heed the cross party call for him to release the evidence on which he based his decision to jail Sean Kelly. Few, however, should be surprised by this.

After all, it's pretty hard to show to people something which doesn't exist!

Ard Mhacha Abu

I won't be doing much blogging today as I am heading up to Dublin with my fellow Orangemen. I have a feeling Armagh are going to win and I got fantastic seats in the Hogan from a collegue in the Ulster Council.

I want to see those Tyrone shower leave Croke park as dejected as we did in 2003.

The only problem will be the smoking ban in the pubs. Hopefully I can find a beer garden and enjoy my Bulmers in peace.

Ahhhhh Bulmers!!


Legal Aid system failing, claims advice group

The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) said the civil legal aid system has been dogged by inadequate funding.

Noeline Blackwell, director general of FLAC, said: “The current structure of civil legal aid is not inclusive. It does not place the needs of the client at the heart of its decision and policy-making.”

I agree 100%

I had to help a family member recently who is going through a very messy separation and found her solicitor treated her with contempt because she was on legal aid. I despise snotty solicitors who think they are above everyone else. Her solicitor was told to start doing what she was told to do by her client otherwise the case would be taken off her. The solicitor told me that it couldn't happen as she was on legal aid. I took much delight in informing my middle-class colleague that it could and would happen if she didn't buck up.

To see her face at being chastised by a Law student from the north was priceless.

PUP 'has no influence over UVF'

The Progressive Unionist Party has no influence over the UVF, party leader David Ervine has said.

I am inclined to agree with him and that is a scary thought. There may be a loyalist feud at the moment but when that is over they will go back to what they do best, sell drugs and kill Catholics.

Ervine however is a man I have some amount of respect for. Many people, republicans included, may find this hard to believe but I admire his no nonsense approach. I also like the fact that Billy Hutchinson was able to vote for the St Patrick’s day funding last year while the rest of the bigots didn't.

I have only ever voted Sinn Féin and have never transferred to anyone else but if I was going to transfer to a different party the only possibility would be the PUP.

That said I don’t expect the PUP to be around at the next election.


Help wanted

Calling on all Balrog readers

I am involved in a project and would appreciate any help that could be given.

If anyone has any information, articles, paper clippings etc about the IRA in South Armagh would you please get in touch. Ranging from the Reavey brothers to Kingsmill.

Go raibh maith agat

Ignorance knows no limit

The Democratic Unionist Party has criticised a decision by the British government to approve three new Irish-language schools in the North.

Party spokesman Sammy Wilson said there was no need to create new primary schools when there were already 45,000 surplus school places

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have both accused him of using the Irish language as a political football and have insisted that parents should have the right to choose the type of education they want for their children.

This is the typical attitude of the DUP. The Irish education sector is flourishing and somehow the DUP see this as a threat.


How could she?

I am disgusted!!!

How could any parent do this to their kids?

One of the photographs showed her 11-month old daughter naked in the bath with her young brother and sister.

I am just stunned as to why someone would try and sell their child’s innocence ?

She said it never occurred to her that paedophiles might access the site. "Maybe that's my shortfall, maybe that's my ignorance," she said.

No love you are not ignorant you are a bare faced liar!!

This woman should have her children taken off her and she should be arrested and charged with wilful neglect and abuse of a minor.

Double standards

Well, well, well, The mask has truly slipped

The Parades Commission is set to make a ruling next week on a republican parade in Ballymena which has sparked warnings of violence.

Unionists have warned that if the parade is given the go-ahead there could be "open violence" on the streets.

Around 650 participants are expected to take part in the parade, which has been organised by the William Orr Commemoration Committee in memory of the United Irishman.

The gross hypocrisy of parading has been brought to the forefront with so called "democrats" donning the old red Ulster Resistance berry and threatening violence. The same people have a history of not having the balls to do it themselves. So instead they stoke up hatred and get other people to do their dirty work.

DUP halfwit and homophobe baby doc has said it is designed to "stoke up trouble"

It would seem that as long as you’re a Unionist you are free to march the "Queens highways and byways” but when you're a fenian it's a different story.

Don't you just love hypocrites!!


Stoop does as it knows best

Surprise, surprise, the Stoops remain on the fence

I know I shouldn't expect any better but you would have thought they would have learnt from previous elections and developed a pair of balls.

Seán Kelly's "detention" is nothing short of Internment and pandering to insecure, Neanderthal Unionists who view Kelly as a hate figure.

The fact that the new S.O.S is so keen to keep this Irish Minority on side that he would use a mans freedom to try and assure them of his impartiality disgusts me.

Free Seán Kelly and End Internment Now!!!!!

At last some brains

As most of you will know I have not commentated on the London bombings to date but I agree with the opinion of Ken Livingstone.

The British never seem to learn anything from history. One would have thought after 30 years of the IRA bombing the country they would have looked to the root cause of such bombings. Long term measures at the mercy of short term procrastinations.

The whole concept of Islamic violence I have no doubt stems from the ongoing Palestinian conflict. Until that is sorted out you can expect even more bombings from Islamic groups.


Cut it off

A shocking and disgraceful situation for any poor girl to find herself in

I am sick of this namby pamby attitude to sexual offences.

"He needs counselling", "He didn't realise"


If he does it once castrate him and make him walk around wearing a sign saying "I'm a filthy rapist"

If he does it again then jail him for the rest of his natural life with no chance of parole and let the scumbag rot.

That should send out the right message

Idle beds outnumber patients waiting on trolleys

A disgraceful revelation by the INO that there as twice as many beds lying idle as there are people waiting on trolleys.

Mary Harney is a disgrace as Health minister and instead of sorting out the problem is trying to enforce her right-wing privatisation policies through the back door.

Yet more scandalous dealings in the Health system and yet more reason to get rid of this "Axis of evil" people call the government of Ireland


Harry Potter and the Vaticans rage

No it isn't the title of the last book in the series

It seems that our new pontiff has problems with Harry Potter and the fact that children, and adults, read these fantastic books.

With all the problems in the world and the struggles the Church is having to deal with you would think the Pope would have enough to worry about.

These books are fantastic and the Vatican are seriously out of it if they believe it will lead kids towards witchcraft.

Every child grows up wishing they could do magic, some adults still do.

These books have brought kids away from the moron box and got them interested in reading.

How can this be a bad thing?

I love these books for the same reason that I love Lord of the Rings. These are timeless stories about Good vs. Evil. Not simple evil as the bible tries to portray but complicated evil the way it is in real life. The latest book showed this expertly. It is about picking the right side and going out to do what is right even though all the odds are against you and succeeding because of it.

My English teacher believed I should have been renamed St Jude, the patron Saint of lost causes, after my 7 years in school and my anti-war stance.

Dumbledores greatest lines “you will all face a choice, to do what is right or what is easy"“

“It is not our abilities but our choices that show what we really are”

What is the Churches problem?

I'm back!!!!

After a few weeks when I have been close to a mental breakdown, due to my lack of access to the Internet, it has arrived!!

Broadband is now installed back home and I am now back on-line fulltime.

Just recieved a copy of James Blunt's new album and it seems to have done more to quell my temper than all my anger management classes put together.

Just recieved a few more bottles of the old "Uisce Beatha" from a boy in Tyrone and it's powerfull stuff.

Recieved the new Harry Potter book on Saturday and I have read it 3 times already, fantastic!!


Armagh survive by the skin of their teeth!

Apoligies to any Balrog readers from Tyrone - "youse wuz robbed!". Armagh were very lucky to escape from Croke Park with a draw in the Ulster final. A late goal from STevie McDonnell and a Paul McGrane equaliser gave Armagh a barely deserved draw. Still there's no medals for deserving to win and hopefully Armagh can improve enough to win the replay on Saturday 23th July.

That'll probably be the next time I'm back in my beloved homeland so for the next fortnight, take care and enjoy any holidays from work you might have. Slán a chairde.

Loyalists at it again

I see the Loyalist paramilitary groups are flexing their muscles once again in the run up to the 12th of July. While I suppose we should be grateful that these lowlifes are targetting each other rather than innocent civilans, its still begs the question as to why all the focus seems to be on the possible forthcoming IRA statament and the IRA guns when the Republican guns are silent while the Loyalist arms continue to murder and intimidate. The UVF and LVF seem on the verge of a bloody fued while brigades of the UDA/UFF are squaring up to each other in broad daylight without a murmur of disapproval from the PSNI. I often walk past that area of Belfast and I'm sure it would be terrifying and very dangerous for any casual bystander who caught caught up in this incident. Some people in authority need to get their priorities straight. Its the people behind these sorts of scenes who need to be in prison- not Sean Kelly



Just a flying visit home as I'm headed off to Dublin tomorrow as the Orange Army meet the Evil Empire in the Ulster final. Hopefully Armagh can rise to the occassion and avenge the 2003 All Ireland final defeat to Tyrone. All that's certain is that for an hour and half I will lose all ability for rational and unbiased thought and speech! (Please no jokes about me never having that ability in the first place!) As the Orange Order face another protest on the hill, perhaps for once they could be allowed a march since the Garvaghy Road is probably deserted as the locals have bigger fish to fry!

On a more sombre note, I was very saddened by the scenes earlier in the week. Like many Irish people I have relations in London. The callousness of the attacks in which innocent civilians going about their days business were targetted in a way as to try to kill as many as possible was shocking. Considering the euphoria of the previous days Olympics announcement, it serves as a reminder as to how cruel life can sometimes be. I hope London go on to host an Olympics in memory of those who have lost their lives.


Well done, Bob.

If I was to inform a friend that a meeting of the G8 was taking place this week they would probably reply "Duh". However had it not been for today's events, many would not have know a thing about the G8 meeting, or even that such a group existed. If this alone is Live 8's achievement, then in my opinion their efforts have been worth it. Politicans fear public opinion more than minority protests and hopefully Gleneagles will see a turning point in Africa's fight against poverty.