Loach rebuts 'anti-British' claim

I was delighted to hear that Ken Loach's new film, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, has just won the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes. The film is based on 1920's Ireland, the struggle for Independance, the Irish Civil war and the brutality of the "Black and Tans".

The ususal suspects have come out and denounced this film as "anti-British", something that Ken Loach had denied.

"Nonsense," he told BBC Breakfast. "We could have shown things that were much worse than are actually in the film."

In Tuesday's edition of the Sun, columnist Harry MacAdam calls The Wind That Shakes The Barley the "most pro-IRA film ever". Its plot, he continues, is "designed to drag the reputation of our nation through the mud".

Am I the only one who finds it funny when he talks about dragging the reputation of the British nation through the mud?

It has no reputation worth saving FFS!

It has a long history or brutality, oppression, domination and conquest. All you have to do is to look at the countries around the world where there has been war and strife about borders to see what the Brits created, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, Ireland.

It's about time that the British woke up and realised that their "nation" has blood flowing from its fingertips after centuries of war, injustice and colonisation.

Britain is not a peacefull nation and it never has been, a bit of reality might scare them half to death.


McDowell proposes changes to rape law

It appears that Justice Minister Michael McDowell has plans to introduce new changes to the law of rape in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling. According to reports McDowell is planning to set the age of consent at 16 for both girls and boys. At present, the age of consent for girls is 17, while it is just 15 for boys.

I see this as a sensible and overdue change as the old situtation did seem quite unjust given the fact that a 16 year old boy could be charged for having consentual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend, for example.

McDowell is also proposing to include a clause saying that a person who has sex with someone aged between 14 and 16 is not automatically committing a crime if he or she is less than two years older than the underage person. However, a defendant will not be able to claim consent if the person with whom they have sex is under the age of 14.

On the whole these seem like quite sensible and reasonable reforms. I do think that there is still an underlying problem that could be challenged again in the Supreme Court. Under these new reforms if an 18 year old fella has sex with a girl aged 15, who he had reason to believe was 16 he is still commiting a crime to which the defence of mistake is not an option.

This was the underlying problem in the first place and the reason why the Supreme Court acted in the way it did. All McDowell has to do is to include a defense of honest and reasonable mistake in order to avoid this senario.

It would be prudent that this is rectified ASAP so that situtations like this do not debase our legal system and society any further.


Complete bullshit!!

I see that British spook Martin Ingram has accussed Martin McGuinness of being a Brit spy and informer. He made the allegation through one of the Sunday rags that passes itself off as a proper newspaper. Martin McGuinness is widly respected throughtout the Republican movement and beyond.

There is no way that I believe this bullshit because that's what it is, bullshit!!

Anyone who reads Slugger will know that Ingram is nothing more than a British spook who craves the limelight and who makes ridicilious claims in order to appear relevant. He acts like a moth drawn towards the light, always wanting to be in the spotlight.

Martin McGuinness is a respected Irish Republican who has given his lifes work towards the cause, no British spook will be allowed to tarnish this.

Martin McGuinness woke up this morning a committed Republican and he will go to sleep tonight a committed Republican and nothing this spook says can change that.


Enter the 21st Century

I was disapointed to learn that Catholic fundementalists attacked McDowell over plans to give same-sex couples equal protection under the law. This is a very important issue and goes to the very heart of equality.

Same-sex couples should be entitled to the same protection under the law as married heterosexual couples or cohabitating heterosexual couples.

Our society has changed, the notion of 'family' has changed and we must learn to change with the times.

Why shouldn't same sex couples, who have made the same commitment to each other as a husband and a wife not be entitled to the same legal benefits?

They should be allowed to inherit in the same way, they should be allowed to act as next of kin automatically and the rules around property and land should be changed as well.

I am not talking about gay marriage because the very notion of a gay marriage is oxymoronic. A marriage is the union of a man and a woman under god. That said they should be allowed civil partnership and a chance to solidify their relationship under the law.

Ireland needs to move into the 21st Century and stop imposing traditional Catholic values on those who do not wish to be ruled by them.


No Irish need apply

I see that FIFA has ruled that any player who wishes to play for 'Northern Ireland' must have a British passport; you can't play with an Irish passport. The controversy came to light when it was revealed that underage players from Derry were told to bring British passports when representing the North.

Now I will set out my stall for the start, I don't support the 'Northern Ireland' Football Team. I never have and I never will. From a young age I have always supported the Republic for very simple reasons. They play under my national flag and they stand for my national anthem.

Nationalists and Republicans across the North have always supported the Republic and whether people like to admit it or not, the North's team is a Unionist team.

I am not saying that Catholics haven't played for it or that all Catholics don't support it because a small minority in both cases have.

My first real experience of 'Northern Ireland' fans was when I went to University. I remember walking into the Union to be greeted by British and Loyalist flags and cries of "Ulster till I die". I did wonder if that included Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal but decided not to test their intellectual rigour at this time. I was on my way to a Cumann meeting and recieved calls of "Republican bastard" and "fenian cunt" on my way up.

This was not from the QUB supporters but from the Sandy Row element that come to the Union before their matches. We have had election posters ripped down and members threatened on these occasions. In my second year while they were leaving the Union on Ash Wednesday they walked past the Catholic Chaplaincy and proceeded to abuse Catholics who were coming from their place of worship.

These are not the sorts of people that I would wish to go to a football match with. I want to make it clear that I have known and do know many decent 'Northern Ireland' supports that are not like that but they do seem to be in the minority.

I would never go to Windsor Park, primarily out of personal security, and also because I would never stand for "God Save the Queen" or enter a ground that is named after the British Royal family and call it home.

Most Nationalists and Republicans feel the same, this ruling by FIFA has just reinforced what we already new.

Windsor Park is not for us!

Stormont on hold, for now!

I see that the British may be deciding the put the farce that is the 'Hain's Assembly' on hold for the forseeable future. Sinn Féin have said all along that unless the Assembly was being established with a view to raising the institutions then it would be pointless, nothing more than a talking shop.

It seems that the SDLP may be deciding to join us in boycotting these worthless debates, these debates can't lead to any decision and are designed to provide the DUP with cover for stalling progress.

It appears that the British goverment don't want to see empty Nationalist and Republican benches and so Peter Hain is believed to have planned no business for the Assembly next week.

It is very clear that the only people who are stalling progress are the DUP, the simple fact is that they do not want to share power. Signs of splits are beginning to show with the news that Peter Robinson believed the new committee should be for negotating while Ian Paisley has given his usual 'NO' to any prospect of negotation.

The DUP should not be allowed to stall progress, if they can't share power then the Brits should abolish Stormont once and for all and move on to Plan B.

Let's see if that can't focus their minds!

Slugger has moved (temporarily)

I know that many regulars on this site are also regulars of Sulgger O'Toole. Many will have noticed that the site has been down for a few days but it has moved temporarily to here.

I wish Mick a speedy journey back to the blogging Mecca that is Slugger HQ.


Catch a grip!

I see that the Orange Order has revealed that it has received a letter from the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, acknowledging its right to parade. No big deal in that, our position has been clear from day one.

The Orange Order does indeed have a right to parade but that right is not absolute, it is qualified. It is qualified against the rights of residents to live their lives in peace, free from displays of triumphalism, intimidation and sectarianism.

Showing their warped mentality, the Orange Order has argued that they will only believe Gerry Adam's 'bona fides' if the annual Drumcree parade is allowed down the Garvaghy Road this year.

So let's get this clear, they want Sinn Féin to force the residents of the Garvaghy Road to accept this parade through their area while the Orange Order refuses to speak to the residents?

Catch a grip!!

The biggest hypocrisy has yet to come though, In addition they are demanding support for the police from Republicans/Nationalists and that all future Nationalist protests must be non-provocative and peaceful.

Did you ever hear the like of it?

They have the cheek to talk about Nationalist protests after what they did last year!

Nationalists and Republicans will accept a new policing service when we get one, what we have at the moment does not suffice.


Govt under pressure to introduce new rape law

I see that the Irish Government has come under intense pressure to update the law of statutory rape. It comes after the Supreme Court ruled the existing law as unconstitutional. The law as it currently stands makes it an automatic crime to have sex with a girl under the age of 15.

However, the Supreme Court said this was unconstitutional as it did not allow the accused to argue that he honestly believed the girl was older.The ruling came in a case taken by a young man who had sex with a 14-year-old girl who told him she was 16. He was 18 at the time.

I agree with the Supreme Court on this, we can't have a situtation where the crime of rape is treated as a strict liability offense.

I remember a couple of years ago I was working in an over 18's disco and this girl started to hit on one of our bouncers. Now this girl had shown ID in order to gain entry and she looked at least 22/23. Anyway she asked this fella to take her home at the end of the night and made it perfectly clear what she had in mind. Someone was looking down on this fella because he said no, owing to the fact that he had work in less than 4 hours. He was driving through Dorsey the next week and saw the same girl getting off the school bus, she was only 15.

Rape, for this reason alone, can never be treated as a strict liability offense.


No longer a student

Yesterday saw me take my last exam as a QUB student. It seems that the 3 years of my Law degree has came and gone and now it is time to enter the big bad world. I should be back to full capacity blogging from tomorrow onwards, I am still a bit tender from the absolute session that we went on yesterday.

I am not sure what I will be doing next year, there is a possibility that I will be doing some paralegal work for a year. The other possibility is that I could be moving to London, it seems that it is still not too late to take up the LPC in London this September. My family are not too keen on the idea of me moving to London so I will have a lot of thinking/drinking to do in the next couple of weeks.

Talk to you all soon


Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O'Hara 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of South Armagh Hunger Striker Raymond McCreesh and Derry Hunger Striker Patsy O'Hara. Raymond was the third Hunger Striker to die, he would not be the last.

A native of Camlough and from a staunch Catholic background his family came under intense pressure from the church to bring him off the strikes, the tragedy is that he was due for release in less than 2 years when he went on the strike but that didn't matter to Raymond.

Raymond went on the Blanket immediately upon his arrival at the H-Blocks. His selection for the hunger strike was controversial because he so quiet and wasn't a famous IRA man. Some thought his religious nature would make him susceptible to the influence of interfering priests trying to get him off the hunger strike, even his own brother. But, Bobby Sands, who knew Raymond from being on the same wing, understood his determination. So did Frank Hughes, whom he shared a cell with.

Oddly enough, the same British corporal who Francis Hughes killed during the fire fight that lead to his capture, was the same man who was the first to open fire on Raymond's Active Service Unit a few years earlier. They both could attest to Ray McCreesh's resolve and dedication.

Raymond recieves the final farewell from his comrades in South Armagh

At 2:11 on Thursday morning, 21 May 1981, Raymond McCreesh became the third hunger striker to die for Ireland's cause.

It is Fr Brian McCreesh who spoke the infamous words that sumed up the entire need for and ethos of the Hunger Strikes.

"My Brother is not a Criminal"
Patsy O'Hara, a native of Derry city, was the former leader of the Irish National Liberation Army prisoners in the H-Blocks. Writing shortly before the Hunger Strike began, Patsy grimly declared:

"We stand for the freedom of the Irish nation so that future generations will enjoy the prosperity they rightly deserve, free from foreign interference, oppression and exploitation. The real criminals are the British imperialists who have thrived on the blood and sweat of generations of Irish men. They have maintained control of Ireland through force of arms and there is only one way to end it. I would rather die than rot in this concrete tomb for years to come. "

Patsy O'Hara died at 11.29 p.m. on Thursday, May 21st - on the same day as Raymond McCreesh with whom he had embarked on the hunger-strike sixty-one days earlier.

Both men paid the ultimate price for their dedication, courage and beliefs. We remember them as ordinary men who did extraordinary things in extraordinary times.

Gone but never forgotten!!


The man who lost Ireland?

Over the Easter holidays I happened to come across a documentary on RTE in relation to the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The documentary was about General Maxwell the British officer in charge of dealing with the aftermath of the Rising. It included references to the recently released court martial records of the leaders, and threw up a multitude of interesting facts and theories. The records were based upon the accounts of William Wylie who was delegated the responsibility of recording the court matials of theleaders on trial.
Firstly he claimed that contrary to popular belief Countess Goore Both did not beg the Brits to kill her and not commute her death sentence on grounds of gender. On the contrary, it caimed she pleaded with them to spare her life and that she was merely a minnow in the Rising. Secondly it dealt with why Willie Pearse younger brother of Pat was the only person to plead guilty. Anyone acquainted with the song My Last Farewell will know it was widely anticipated Willie would receive a reprieve as he was only arressted owing to being a brother of Pat. However it was claimed that he pleaded guilty because such was the closeness of the siblings relationship, Willie could not contemplate life without Pat at his side.
One court martial, however , was not released. It is the one that would reveal, in my opinion, a whole new can of worms, and that is of course the records of Dev's court martial. This has led to renewed claims, and rightfully so in my eyes, that the chief was in fact a British agent. The documentary calimed that Dev was spared because Maxwell had a change of heart in relation to the execution of the leaders. However after this decision James Connolly and Sean Mac Diarmuid, both seriously wounded were inhumanely executed by firing squads. Balrog readers can take what they want out of this, but it is strange and certainly doesn't do Dev any favours.
The programme concluded with telling how Maxwell, after 'sorting' out the rebellion was shafted by the Brit govt. of the day. he was to lead a subdued life of ignominy until his eventual demise. It is funny how some things don't change from history. Even today the Brits use their agents then discard them to the wolves once they have outlived their intended use. Starrs, Dignam, Burns, Gilmoure, Fulton, Donaldson, Mc Gartland can surly all shed a tear for Maxwells plight!!!!



I was disgusted and angry to learn that a Belfast 'man' has been sentenced to life after he butcherd and raped a 15 year old girl. This sick twisted bastard should not have been put in prison, he should have been plugged 20 times in the groin to begin with and then he should have been hung.

The bleeding heart liberals out there who disagree with this can save their wishe washe attitude for someone else, it's that kind of attitude that lets these bastards walk away from their depravity.

John McGrady, 48, strangled and dismembered Rochelle Holness after she vanished while going to a phone box in Catford, south London.

Judge Kramer said "I have been driven to the conclusion you must have been motivated by a sexual desire"

Sorry but that is bullshit!

This man wasn't driven by sexual desire he was driven by a will to dominate, humilate and own this young girl. This Judge replicates the typical judicial attitude on rape, i.e. it was sex. It wasn't about sex, sex was the tool but it wasn't the purpose.

The problem this presents is exactly the kind of thing that Catherine MacKinnon talks about when she describes heterosexuality as violent and I can see where she is coming from. Catherine argues that most of our sexual practices are submerged in violence and domination anyway and that by enjoying sex, even heterosexual sex, you (i.e. women) are enjoying that domination.

You can see where she is coming from here when you think about the ‘normal’ sexual position, i.e. the missionary position. This places the man on top and so emphasises the domination yet it is considered the norm.

The problem with the Judges attitude is that it perpetuates the myth that rape is about sex and not domination, he does this in order to protect the phallocentric society in which we live in.

The Judicary's primary role in rape trials, it seems to me anyway, is to reinforce the rape and as such uphold the rule of the phallus.



Davy says hello to Reg, I say So Long to you!

The big political story of the weekend is undoubtedly that news that David Ervine is to join the Ulster Unionist party group when the Assembly is re convened. Many are denouncing the UUP as having gotten into bed with terrorists. Personally I don't see that there is anything new or shocking in this revelation. After all, for years the UUP have proudly presented UDR members in their ranks. The UDR was probablyfar greater links with the UVF then than David Ervine has now. David Ervine stood for election and received a mandate from his consitutuents, it's up to him to with what he pleases and it's up to his electorate to decide whether to renew that mandate. So-called mainstream Unionists cosying up to Loyalism is nothing new, its happened before and will doubtless happen again. At least Reg Empey is recruiting Loyalists for political purposes. Ulster Resistance, founded by Ian Paisley, was in partnership with Loyalism in a much more shady way.

By the way, I realise I've been neglecting my blogging duties for the past week or so. Between turning 21 and plunging into final year exam study, blogging has taken a back seat and unfortunately (or not, depending on where you stand!) that's the way it will remain for the rest of the month. I'm off to Clones tomorrow for what is always one of my favourite days of the year - Armagh's entry into the championship as the Orchard men take on Monaghan's Farney Army. Come Monday it'll be head in the books time and hopefully I'll see you all safely on the other side, maybe even with a degree in hand.

Take Care.


Vol Francis Hughes and James Connolly remembered

Tomorrow, 12th May, marks my fathers birthday but more important than that it marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Francis Hughes and the 90th Anniversary of the death of James Connolly. Francis was the second hunger striker to die, he was only 25 when he died.

He was a determined, committed and a totally fearless IRA Volunteer who organised a spectacularly successful series of military operations before his capture, and was once described by the RUC as their 'most wanted man' in the North.

Francis was a commited Volunteer of Oglaigh na hÉireann but he wasn't a savage, he hatred killing. Particularly, he hated having to kill British soldiers. He told his brother Mick, "They're just kids. For God's sake, I don't want to be shooting them. I want them to bloody go home in the morning."

He was taught by his father, Joe, not to be bigoted against Protestants or anyone. Once he burst in with his gun drawn on a UDR man and told him to say his prayers before meeting his end. While he waited, the man begged for his life, saying he left the UDR. Francis walked away, because he couldn't be sure. It turned out the man had just left the regiment.

He began his hunger strike on 15 March, 15 days after Bobby. He gave a speech out of the cell door to the men in the wing. He told them he wanted to be in the front line of the war. He said he sometimes regretted not holding onto his M14 for a final shootout on the night before he captured, rather than trying to escape, but that he was glad to have gone on the blanket and now he would use the weapon he now had -- hunger strike -- to the end if necessary.

He told them if he died, that they should listen for the sound of his crutch tapping down the corridors of the cell blocks. It would be Frank Hughes keeping an eye on his comrades.

Francis showed courage and honour far beyond what the enemy showed him. He lay down his life for his beliefs and for his comrades.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

It is fitting that Francis Hughes and James Connolly would share the same date with death, both patriots and both fought and died for Ireland's independence.

James Connolly was a Socialist and a Republican, the one man who best symbolises my Republicanism.

On May 12th,1916, Connolly was shot by firing squad. He had been taken by military ambulance to Kilmainham Prison, carried on a stretcher to a courtyard in the prison, tied to a chair and shot. With the other executed rebels, his body was put into a mass grave with no coffin.

In death, Connolly and the other rebels had succeeded in rousing many Irish people who had been, at best, indifferent to the cause of Irish freedom.

Ní hiad na fir mhóraa bhaineas an fomhar i gcónaí

Lord Lunatic strikes again

I see that media starved John Laird has claimed that the cross border body, Waterways Ireland, is now being run by the Knights of St Columbanus. In a further twist he indicated that this Stoop Catholic lay organisation may have the backing of the Ultra Conservative Catholic organisation Opus Dei.

Now I have no time for either Catholic grouping, Opus Dei represents all that is wrong with the Catholic church and the Knights of St Columbanus are nothing more than an Irish Catholic version of the Free massons. They have very close links to both the Stoops in the North and Fianna Fáil in the South.

However to suggest that either of these groupings are in control of Waterways Ireland shows just how 'off his meds' Laird has become.

Nothing more than a media whore who has too much time on this hands


Pissed off!!

I am seriously pissed off to learn that the current AUT/NATFE industrial action has reached a stalemate (Hat-tip to Beano for the heads up). The AUT and NATFE have refused a proposed wage increase of 12.6% over the next three years.

I support the demands of AUT and NATFE but I resent these people using my education and my future as a bargaining tool in this grubby war of attition against the Universities. Any suggestion that they do not intend on causing distress to students is absolute horse shit!

I am also resentful at AUT/NATFE for having their hand out for their 30 pieces of silver that they want from Top-Up fees.

Students are getting screwed big time and no one seems to care!

I am snowed under with coursework, having handed in Politics coursework last week and I am in the middle of Gender Law coursework this week.

It seems it would have been more benefical for me to have spent the last 4 months in Renshaws or the Union drinking.

There has been some suggestion that in the event of our exams and coursework not being marked (which is looking more and more likely) that the University will give us "averaged" marks from the last few years.

Any student will tell you that you do most of your work in the last semester.

If this action is taken it will affect my overall average and my degree classification and should this happen QUB will find itself in court quicker than it can say "top-up fees"



I was saddened to learn that a young Catholic boy from Ballymena, who had been savagly beaten by a group of thugs, lost his battle last night and passed away.

I do not know how the people who did this can live with themselves, this lad was only a child. He did nothing wrong except that he was a Catholic (no doubt a crime in the eyes of these scumbags)

I hope that this lads death, while tragic and reprehensible shows people what naked sectarianism and hatred can lead to. No cause is advanced through this lads murder except that of bigotry and intolerance.

This sort of hatred is festering and soul destroying and while I welcome Ian Paisley's words I would like to see some action from him.

I pray for this lads family in what must be a harrowing time.


Credit where it's due

now as regular readers know, I often post criticising the DUP and do my best to expose the sheer bigotry which many of their members display. However it would be remiss of me not to highlight an example of a new tolerance emanating from that party. Its good to see that Councillor Maurice Bradley has seen fit to rise above the bigotry towards the GAA that seems prevalant in many Unionists. When discussing the local GAA club, Mr. Bradley give an unusual amount of praise to the organisation;

I applaud Gaelic clubs for the work they do to promote well-being for young people.

I am from a sporting background myself and have met people through soccer who have become life-long friends.
When we come to debate this, I will consider it purely as a sporting issue

Fair play to him. I'd like to think this more reasonable approach was more reflective of Unionism as a whole. Only time will tell.

Bobby Sands 25th Anniversary

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands. On the 5th May 1981 Bobby died on Hunger Strike after lasting 66 days. I wasn't alive in 1981 but as a young republican growing up in South Armagh his name and story was a very live issue.

In my grandfathers living room stands a picture of the first 5 Hunger Strikers, my Dad and other members in Dundalk had them made at the time of the strikes and very few seem to have survived. My grandfather would have been a Fianna Failer up until that point but like many others changed to Sinn Féin after the Hunger Strikes and passed his first Republican vote when Paddy Agnew was elected in Louth.

As a young Republican it is not lost on me the fact that Bobby and all the other Hunger Strikers were young men not much older than myself. They are still and will always be a source of inspiration. Their courage can never be surpassed, their dedication never faltered and their belief never questioned.

It needs to be remembered that Bobby's death wasn't just felt in this country, he is remebered all around the world for the courage that he and the other lads showed when they faced down the might of the British in their struggle against criminalisation.

Over 100,000 attended his funeral

The US Congress and state and local governments passed resolutions honoring Bobby's sacrifice and sent letters of condolence. The New Jersey state legislature noted his "courage and convictions."

In Rome, the President of the Italian Senate did what the Brit Speaker couldn't bring himself to do by expressing the Italian government's sympathies to the Sands' family. Five thousand protesters burned the Union Jack in Milan. Thousands more marched in Paris behind a large portrait of Bobby chanting "The IRA will conquer." In Le Mans they named a street after him. The British embassy there call it an "insult to Britain."

Even Hong Kong, a British direct colony, was outraged by Bobby's death. The Hong Kong Standard said it was "sad that successive British governments have failed to end the lst of Europe's religious wars." The Hindustan Times remarked that Margaret Thatcher's allowing a fellow Member of Parliament to die of starvation was an act which never had occurred before in a "civilized country." Iran announced it would be sending its representative to Bobby's funeral in West Belfast.

Protesters in Oslo, Norway, hurled a balloon filled with tomato sauce at the English Queen Elizabeth, there on a state visit. In India, the opposition party in the Upper House stood for a minute of silent in tribute. The members of the opposition party also stood in the Portuguese legislature. It seemed that parties in power feared Brit anger. But in Spain, the Ya newspaper said Bobby's death was "an act of heroism." Pravda called his death "another tragic page in the grim chronicle of oppression, discrimination, terror and violence" in Ireland. Poland's Lech Walesa paid tribute, "Bobby Sands was a great man who sacrificed his life for his struggle."

Dr. Michael Thomas in the August edition of the British Medical Association's News Review . Thomas was the chairman of the Association's Ethics Committee and a serving lieutenant-colonel in the British army. His remarks were made all the more poignant considering his stature and his professional background.

He said Bobby was "like the piper walking in front of a highland battalion, the bloke who was prepared to be shot down first."

Specifically to Basil Hume (who had called Sand's sacrafice suicide) , Dr. Thomas wrote: "Is it suicide for a soldier to charge a machine-gun nest, knowing that he was almost certain to get killed? Isn't it what we describe as laying down one's life for a brother? That's what Bobby Sands was doing..."

Bobby said it best when he said

"Of course I can be murdered but I remain what I am, a political POW and no-one, not even the British, can change that."

Always remembered and never forgotten


Strike action

I see that the industrial action that is being taken by the Academics has been stepped up a notch. It seems that QUB has threatned to dock the pay of those involved unless the strike comes to an end.

As a final year student this will affect me more so than first or second years. At the moment I am knee deep in coursework and revision and I have no way of knowing if it will be marked. We were told about the current situtation today by way of a letter from the AUT.

I come from a long line of trade union members, my father and grand-father were both trade union men, I myself am a member of SIPTU but I do find it hard to feel compassionate about a group of people who complain that they are only getting "£35,000" a year.

It is very easy to feel compassionate for a mother or father of four young children who are on the poverty line, a much more difficult thing to do so for an academic who is worried about where they will go on their next foreign holiday.

I suspect that Queen's will have to thread very carefully when it comes to examinations and graduations in order to stay off legal action from unhappy students.

Collusion - not an illusion

Very interesting to see that today's Irish News contained an expose on the collusion between the UDR and loyalist paramilitaries. Now, of course none of these comes as a surprise to anybody with the wit to realise the truth behind the real involvement of Security forces in the "Troubles". I haven't read today's paper yet so I can't comment on the detail but what I do find interesting is the changing attitude towards collusion by the section of Nationalism which the Irish News is seen to represent politically.

When the issue of Collusion between Security forces and Loyalists was raised, SDLP figures dismissed it as Republican propaganda and refused to take the issue seriously. Now that the passing of time has shown that collusion was not propaganda but rather a sustained and central tactic of the British government, those same people have been forced to radically change their perspective.