Balrog News

Balrog will be on somewhat of a holiday for the next week as my internet connection has gone up the left.

I am relying on friends for internet access at the moment. Due to the fact that I will not be around Balrog as much for the next week I have decided to enable comment moderation.

This will only continue until I get my internet access sorted out, a week at the most.

Posters should contine to post away if they wish because I will be online at least once a day.

I hope you are all enjoying this festive period.

I personally wish to register my continued disgust at Christmas shopping, walking around the shops in Newry is an absolute nightmare at the moment.

I can't for the life of me understand how women find shopping an enjoyable hobby.

See you all soon


Pope attacks climate change prophets of doom

Pope Benedict XVI has attacked the climate change lobby for what he claims is scaremongering.

He has argued that any stance taken on climate change must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

Leaving aside the irony from the Holy Father in relation to a man of faith attacking others for a lack of evidence I do believe that he may have a point.

I have to say that I have yet to be convinced one way or another on the whole issue of climate change.

Now I have no problem in accepting that it is happening, once I have been presented with clear facts that is.

From my perspective there are too many holes in the arguments thus far.

I have heard it said this week that 2007 was the hottest year since 1850.

My immediate reaction is why was 1850 so hot? Surely the climate change lobby don't expect us to believe that is was as a result of CO2 emissions?

I watched a nature show on the BBC a few weeks ago and it spoke about the earth going through different periods of hot and cold since life began and suggested a multitude of factors for this.

I have no problem with people wishing to tackle CO2 emissions and other harmful side effects of human activity however I would like a little bit of clarity and sensible conversation on the whole issue of climate change.

So far I believe that the climate change lobby have over egged the pudding on this issue.


Who's running what?

Last night saw the second meeting of the Quinn Support Group, this time in Crossmaglen.

The difference with last nights meeting was that Republicans attended in order to reiterate our support for the Quinn family and to confront some of those who are using this campaign for their own political objectives.

Conor Murphy’s brother Declan, a long standing South Armagh republican, accused some of those of using this campaign in order to advance their political objectives. Indeed he accused Jim McAllister directly.

According to the BBC Seamus Bellew is now the Chair. Why was Jim McAllister replaced as the Chair of this group???

It was highlighted at the meeting that the SDLP Publicity department are driving this campaign.

I have already asked “El Matador” AKA Gary McKeown of Newry SDLP what role he has with the Quinn Support Group, their website and indeed their Bebo page.

Thus far I have not received any response.

When our Councillors in Monaghan were invited to last night’s meeting they didn’t receive their invitation by way of the Quinn Support Group, they received it from the SDLP in Newry. They were also told that if they were going to attend that they should contact the Newry SDLP office in order to confirm.

Clear evidence that the SDLP are driving this campaign alongside dissidents like Jim McAllister and Co.

It has been suggested by the family and by the Quinn Support Group that this campaign is non political, all the evidence thus far points to the fact that it is a much politicised campaign.

It is quite obvious to a great many people in South Armagh that the reason why a lot of these people are involved in this campaign has nothing to do with achieving justice for the Quinn family.

Their motivation is an anti-Sinn Féin agenda, nothing else!


Coke, a silent killer! Unless you are a celebrity

I am of course talking about the much publicised tragic death of model and socialite Katy French.

Now I feel for Ms French's family, any life lost to drugs is a wasted one. My gripe however is with the media and the political establishment in general.

Since the death of Katy French we have wave after wave of drugs related press, people calling for tougher sentences, prime time investigations, political statements etc.

While all of this is good my beef is with the cold hard fact that had this been your average Joe Bloggs from inner city Dublin we would not have heard a peep.

Is the life of a young and good looking middle-class model worth more than a working class bloke? Is the grief of their respective families any different? No?

So then why is the political and public reaction so different?

Sinn Féin has been saying for ages that the drugs policy of this government and of previous governments wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.

We need to take a serious look at the drugs culture in this country. The Celtic Tiger has created a selfish country awash with money and without any spirit, in effect an "I'm all right jack so fuck the lot of you" attitude.

Where is the community solidarity? Where are the protests outside the doors of drug dealers? Where is the multi-agency approach of this government?

Any fight against drugs will only be a success if the community is involved and the sad fact is that for many parts of Ireland there is no such thing as a community, only a large number of private developments.

I come from a Republican background and because of that I was brought up in a very anti-Drugs environment. I will not be friends with people who take drugs and indeed I no longer speak to former friends because of their new found penchant for drug abuse.

This girl's death is a tragedy and my heart goes out to her family however my heart also goes out to the countless other families who have lost loved ones through the evil of drugs but who have been forgotten about.

If the Scots leave...

Paisley has said that the future of Scotland as a member of the Union will have no bearing on the status of the 6 counties. Now, is that really true?

Paisley was replying to a question from Official Unionist David Burnside and said the following

"The First Minister of Scotland has views on the future constitutional position of Scotland and of course they are well known. Those are entirely matters for him and his party to take forward with the people of Scotland and they have no bearing on the future government of our country."

Unionists', most of those that I have encountered anyway, rely greatly on the Scottish side of the Union and indeed many Unionists' have a bit of an anti-English complex. Not anti-English in the way that Republican's would be in terms of British involvement in Ireland but a much more subtle form.

The glee that they took when their football team defeated England was almost as profound as the joy which we take when ever the Irish team defeat the Saxon foe.

The fact that many English view them as nothing more than Paddies must be a constant cause of irritation to the more delusional type who eschew any form of Irish identity.

With so many Unionists' determined to latch on to this deluded notion of an Ulster-Scots culture and language it just goes to show the lengths that some will go to in order to foster the notion that the Union is a positive beast.

The dominant Protestant denomination in the 6 counties is of course Presbyterian, of Scottish origin, and we have many Scottish surnames from Campbell to Cathcart.

Now of course there is a connection between Ireland and Scotland, one which both traditions on this island share. For the Catholic Irish it is one of Celtic FC, Gaelic language and our shared battle against the Saxon foe. For the Protestant Irish it is a religious and Orange Order connection that is the most visible.

Yet those of us who embrace our Celtic cousins on the Republican side do so in the belief that both Scotland and Ireland should be free and independent Gaelic countries, not a political union of such parts.

Indeed I regularly go to Faughart old graveyard just over the road from me and there I find the grave of Edward the Bruce.

He died in the Battle of Faughart in 1318 and despite his desire to see a "grand Gaelic alliance against England" his legacy in Ireland and his sacking of Dundalk in particular leave a bitter taste in this Irishman's mouth.

Now, back to the matter at hand, Unionist reaction should Scotland take the path of independence.

What would be the point of their Union then?

With just England and Wales left to form a Union with and with most of their perceived cultural and religious ties being with Scotland would their desire to stall a United Ireland be enough to sustain this new found Union?

I ask this out of general interest as I can't see the Union surviving such an occurrence.

With the Union rotting away faster than a bad carrot and with the British Empire banished to the annals of history I can see Scotland landing the final blow to over 200 years of theft, rape and murder.


When losing is still winning!

Celtic lost last night 1-0 to Ac Milan in the San Siro. However Celtic fans are still jumping with joy this morning!

This is of course due to the fact that the Hoops have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League for the second year on the trot. This is a marvellous achievement for Gordon and the Bhoys. For much of the match last night they were equal to Milan, with Brown and Vennegor missing two easily scoreable chances!

The Bhoys must not have read the script before flying to Milan. They were, according to the anti-Celtic media hacks anyway, supposed to get tore apart in Milan whilst Shaktar easily dispatched of Benfica. However neither happened. Yes Celtic may have been beat but it was by no means the hammering many predicted.

This feat is all the more impressive when you consider how the Bhoys have been dogged with injuries this season. Hopefully come February they will have near a full squad and heres hoping for one or two new faces in January to help the cause. Stracho has already said that in order to progress to become a force in Europe the Hoops must start picking up points away from home.

Can anyone dispute this fact???
A single point from 15 away games is pretty hard evidence!

I feel this boost in confidence will aid the CEltic advance further. Thats two years in a row, so it lays lie to the 'fluke' claims doing the mills last year. However the journey and indeed the task is far from complete. Many are predicting a Celtic exit in the next round. However one should wait to see the draw befor making any such predictions. I feel that with the right signatures in January and a spell free from serious injuries could see the Bhoys advance further. They came within a whisker of doing so last season.


Masters of their own destiny!!!!!

Celtic stand 90 minutes away from cementing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for the second season in a row. What a night it will be for the Glasgow faithful if they pull it off.

It only seems like yesterday when the stinging humiliation of Bratislava was stuck like a lump in the back of every Celtic throat. Celtic have made vast progression since that defeat. It is imperative that the Hoops build on last seasons European adventure, if the future of this great club is to see them restored to the lofty heights they once inhabited.

We can't go through the next ten years heralding the group stages as the zenith of our success. We must go further to build from a position of strength. Furthermore it is a financial imperative that we continue in our advance forward. Furthermore if Rangers qualify it will up the ante on Celtic.

I like many other Celtic fans am not expecting a glorious exhibition of fantastic football at the San Siro tonight. Truth be told I'd be delighted with a dull 0-0 draw, so long as we qualify. Stracho says the troops are playing to win, not for a draw.

There is inherent danger in such an approach. If you open up against a side of Milan's calibre they will tear you to shreds. Celtics best approach is to slug it out with them for 60 minutes then try to counter for the last half an hour. A draw would be a great result considering its all that is needed!

Good fortune may seem to constantly allude the Hoops on their travels but I sincerely feel that tonight could be the night when Celtic get a result that need away from home. Granted there is a lot of players missing through injury: Kennedy, Wilson, Naylor, Doumbe and possibly Naka. Milan on the other hand have the current European Footballer of the year Kaka in their ranks. However saying as how they are already through and only need a draw to top the group the pressure is off for them.

I feel that tonight's match won't be pretty or exciting. In fact it will probably be a poor spectacle of football and boring as sin. However most importantly I feel that Celtic will secure that vital point in a 0-0 draw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The people's own M.P.

It seems to me, in light of recent bull shit evinced by Mc Allister and his cabal of vipers, anti-republican vermin and leeches, that the results of elections are not quite what they seem to be.

According to Jim and his cohorts the current Sinn Fein M.P. for the area, and Minister for Regional Development, MLA, ex-POW and former IRA Oglach Conor Murphy does not know the area or the people who elected him to represent them. Odd that, don't you think?

The electorate in Newry/ Armagh were, according to Jim's reasoning anyway, stupid enough to give 20,965 votes in the Westminster election of 2005 to someone who knows nothing about them or the area.

If Jim is right then there is a lot of stupid fuckers in the Newry/Armagh area. Perhaps that is why he is hell bent on spreading malcontent. If they were stupid enough to give 41.4% of the vote to someone who knew nothing about them, well then surely they would be stupid enough to believe him.

Woe be hold, the electorate were stupid enough to give him 7,437 1st preference votes in the assembly elections of March 2007. They also gave his two running mates 7105 and 6337 votes each.

Interestingly enough they only gave that reptile Davy Hyland 2188 first preference votes. Hold on a minute am I missing something here????

Didn't Jim et al conspire with Davy in his act of treachery in order to cost republicans a seat in Newry/Armagh????

Seems to me that it is Jim and his merry band of vipers and reprobates that don't know the people of the area.

Conor got a resounding endorsement whilst Davy was left close to tears. Conor is a far more worthy representative of the people than Mc Allister or Hyland ever were in their failed political careers. Conor has given more for the republican cause than either of the aforementioned dickheads ever have.

Wait a minute. Maybe we are on to something here???

Could their venom be due to jealousy???

Both these reptiles were cast aside when it became obvious they just couldn't hack the role of the peoples representative. Maybe their new found hatred of all things republican is resultant from wounded egos???


McAllister and Co, hypocrites and liars!

I see that the first public meeting of the "Quinn Support group" has occurred. BBC report that 200 people turned up (that wasn't the figure I received but that is beside the point).

In light of this tactic by McAllister I thought it prudent to put into the public domain a letter from Jim McAllister.

According to people I have spoken to these letters have been sent to many community and sporting groups throughout South Armagh.

This letter was passed on to me by a person who was concerned about the role of Jim McAllister in this group. I would direct you to the third point in the letter. In it Jim states

"We would be grateful if you could put us in touch with anyone in your area who may have been the victim of intimidation or subjected to a punishment attack"

Now this leads to many questions.....

1. Are Jim McAllister and Pat McNamee only concerned with punishment attacks that occurred after they left the movement or are they also concerned with attacks that occurred while they were members??

2. How does seeking to unite every anti-Republican in South Armagh in anyway advance the Quinn family search for truth and justice?

3. Bearing in mind the type of people in South Armagh who have received punishment beatings (rapists, murderers, drug dealers, thieves, child abusers etc) are these the type of people that Jim and Co now seek to stand shoulder to shoulder with?

Do they not realise the anger that is building within the community over their attempts to seek support from those who have inflicted so much suffering on the South Armagh community?

This is clear evidence of McAllister and Co trying to build up an anti-Republican group and it shows their true intentions. They are only interested in their own failed and rejected politics.

They care not about truth or justice!

Is it not about time that the attacks upon innocent people in the Cullyhanna and Crossmaglen area stopped? Is it not about time that Jim and Co speak to some of the people that they have been winding up with bullshit for weeks?

It's unfair that innocent people are having their homes attacked and themselves assulted just so these people can peddle their lies and innuendo.

There are some good people on the Quinn Support group, people who are only concerned about achieving justice for the Quinn family. These people are unlike McAllister and Co as they have no other political objectives.

I only hope that in time they will see through these people for what they really are.

Blue-shirts not happy with Stoops

I see that chief Blue-shirt Enda Kenny has warned Mark "concise" Durkan and indeed the SDLP that it risks souring relations with the other partitionist parties if it creates any formal ties with Fianna Fáil.

I personally would like to know what benefits the stoops have ever gained from their constant tea and biscuits with Fine Gael and Co, or indeed Finna Fáil for that matter?

I mean I have witnessed Dermot Ahern canvassing on behalf of the SDLP, the same is also true for Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte, and we still roasted them in the election.

I mean when you are as inactive, as unrepresentative and as useless as the SDLP it doesn't really matter what the Southern establishment parties are saying.

Fianna Fáil are like vultures hovering over the rotting corpse of the SDLP, just waiting for the opportune time to swoop in for the kill.

So whether we are facing the stoops in South Armagh or stoops with Fianna Fáil badges and brown envelopes it doesn't really matter. The outcome for them will still be the same either way.

We will continue to advance and they will continue to retreat further into political irrelevancy.


Harney's head should roll!

I have followed the deepening crisis in the Irish health service with a great degree of anger and unease.

One can not help but feel for these poor women who have had their lives torn apart by the utter incompetence of doctors, the HSE, Mary Harney and lastly the Irish government.

These women and their families have had to deal with this cruel situation because nobody in the establishment or the health service has a pair of balls. Nobody has the guts to take responsibility for their actions.

Doctors pass the blame upstairs to the management, the management blame the HSE and the HSE blame the government.

Bertie Ahern lacks the balls to sack the Minister for Health, something that would happen in any other country under the current circumstances. The fact remains though that in Irish society nobody falls on their sword, their is a total abdication of responsibility.

Mary Harney is now facing a vote of no confidence, I personally have no confidence in that vote.

Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and the Labour party will be pushing for her resignation but I don't have much hope.

The Green party have sold their soul to this arrangement and even though they know she is incompetent they will not wield the knife, we will see no Et tu, Brute? moment from that shower.

We then have the quite ironic position of many of the so-called "independents". As most come from the Fianna Fáiler gene pool we will see no independence of conviction from them. How will Finian McGrath vote on this one?

Many Finna Fáil back benchers believe she should be sacked but Haughyism has returned to Fianna Fáil in the form of Bertie's SS enforcer Tom Kitt.

As Chief Whip he has enforced a three line whip and said that any back bencher who fails to vote or who votes against Mary Harney will face expulsion from the Brown Envelope Brigade aka Fianna Fáil.

Bertie has rejected calls for TD's to be allowed a free vote. This comes after rebel TD Ned O'Keeffe called on Harney to resign.

Mr O'Keeffe said: "I think Mary Harney should resign. This is a more serious issue. It's a matter of life and death [that] is involved for many unfortunate female persons across the island of Ireland."

The Cork East TD has been a pain in Bertie's side and failed to turn up for last months no confidence vote in the Taoiseach.

How are these sheep in Fianna Fáil going to face their constituents after they vote in favour of Harney?? Is there a backbone amongst them?

The HSE was created by Fianna Fáil as a buffer between them and the public to hide their failure, despite large sums of money being invested, to transform the health service.

Mary Harney is not interested in creating a better health service for all, she is intent on creating a better one for the rich as evidenced by co-location.

If you are poor, indeed even if you are what is described as "comfortable", and unwell then the message from this government is a big "Fuck you!"

No more room at the inn!

UPDATE: Harney survives vote of No-Confidence by 83 votes to 73 and Fianna Fáil TD Ned O'Keefe resigned the party whip and in effect from the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party in protest over the crisis.


Ulterior motives

I see that a committee has been established which purports to pursue justice for the family of slain Cullyhanna man Paul Quinn.

Now before any of the bloggers on this thread attempt to stick the boot into me over this post, let me categorically state that I support the Quinn family's attempts to achieve justice for their son 100%. It was a most heinous murder and those who perpetrated it need to be brought to justice. No one can question a family's desire to see justice for a murdered love one.

However I have grave concerns about this committee. I fear that the Quinn family are unknowingly being manipulated by criminal and anti-republican elements to further an anti-republican agenda. This is not concerned with achieving justice for Paul Quinn.

It will be a grave indictment of these elements if they do, as I suspect they will and already have, seek to exploit the murder of a young man to further their own ends. This is not in the best interests of anyone, least of all the Quinn family.

These elements will support the Quinn family until it remains viable to pursue an anti-republican agenda through this avenue. Whenever another seemingly 'worthy' cause to stick the boot into republicans comes along they will drop the Quinn family like a bag of spuds. Look what happened to Davy Hyland's campaign. Where are those people who backed him now? They failed to get their pound of flesh so they fucked off leaving him high and dry and to wallow in his own self pity. The same will invariably happen to the Quinn family.

Furthermore I would like to know if Jim McAllister and this committee are going to do anything to address ongoing attacks against a Cullyhanna family wrongly connected to the tragic murder by Lord Laird (Jim admitted Laird got it wrong).

I would also like to know if they have any plans to champion the cause of justice for Vol. Keith Rodgers who was murdered by criminal elements. I am going to hedge my bets and say that these two issues will be side stepped by Jim and the committee as it is not in the interests of an anti-republican agenda to address them.


No South Armagh unity on Sunday

I am of course talking about this Sunday's Ulster Club Championship final between Antrim side St Gall's and South Armagh side Crossmaglen.

I have tried to wish Cross all the best but it's just not possible for a number of reasons. The arrogance of many a Cross supporter has simply made it impossible for me to support them.

Added to the mix the fact that Kevin McGourty, St Gall's star man, is a close friend of mine and the fact that I am a Dromintee man might go someway to explain why I am reluctant to support Cross.

This will be the first time that I have not supported the Armagh side in the club championship however needs must. Now had Cross being facing Down side Mayobridge that would have been different, the enemy county is still the main rival afterall.

St Gall's were very unlucky not to have won the All-Ireland two years ago, I hope they can do it this year.

Best of luck to Kevin and the lads against the forces of evil!

Time to wake up and smell the coffee

I see that that Unionist's are none too happy about the recently formed Oireachtas committee on the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Their displeasure is down to the fact that it will contain Northern representation.

The DUP's East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has said that the establishment of the committee demonstrates an extraordinary level of arrogance on the part of the Irish Government.

This utterance by Gregory comes after the leader of Seanad Eireann, Fianna Fáil's Donnie Cassidy proposed that there be permanent Northern Representation in the Seanad.

Now I understand that many people have issues with the Seanad, myself included, however this can only be another positive step.

The all-party Oireachtas committee on the Constitution has already made clear the need for more Northern Representation in the Dáil and the Oireachtas in general.

Prodiban protagonists like Gregory may find that uncomfortable however this is the road in which we are headed.

It's only going to get worse for people like Gregory, All-Ireland cooperation and integration is the way forward and it is the de facto policy of both governments.

It's about time that Unionist's started to accept this obvious reality.


I was delighted to see that case against our Newry and Mourne councillors has been settled out of court.

This relates to a case brought by Willie Frazer and his desire for bullet proof glass in a hall where the community association had threatened to resign on mass if he was admitted.

Willie and those who use him in the UUP had tried to see our Councillors disbarred because of this decision.

The case has been settled out of court with the Local Government Auditor. The surcharge certificate has now been set aside with the Sinn Féin and SDLP councillors agreeing to pay the legal costs of the case.

I have said all along that these councillors would not be disbarred, it would have been an injustice for them to be disbarred.

Sinn Féin councillor Jimmy McCreesh said that they had been vindicated by this result.

"The judge's comments that the agreement reached was sensible and pragmatic clearly indicate his understanding of the issues involved. It is a matter of record that the cross-community management committee of the centre in Newtownhamilton totally opposed this application which initially involved a request for bullet-proof windows to be provided.

We as elected representatives were duly obliged to balance the rights of Mr Frazer and FAIR with the rights of the community."

Now I am sure poor Willie and Danny Kennedy are upset that our councillors are still in place however the people of South Armagh and indeed Newry and Mourne as a whole will be relieved that their councillors are still in place.

Hard luck Willie, better luck next time!


Engerland are out!

I was away at a law fair yesterday with a friend and didn't return home until after nine last night. On the way up the road I heard the man on the news say that England were 2-0 down.

My heart began to flutter, how are Russia doing? Then I heard the news that every Irishman was waiting for, Russia were 1-0 up.

By the time I finally got home there was only 10 minutes left and England were trailing 3-2.

By the time I had changed out of the suit and poured a large Whiskey it was the dying minutes and England were all but out. Then the final whistle came and I received my early Birthday present.

England were out of Euro 2008, I was beside myself with joy.

I remember watching the England-Holland match earlier this year while I was living in London. We were in a Lloyds bar in the centre of London and I was the only voice to be heard when Holland scored.

One of the lads asked me why "you Irish and Scots never support England, even though we support you whenever you are playing. Like what have the English ever done on you?"

Resisting the urge for one of my political rants I simply informed my English mate that I followed the Tommy Tiernan rule of thumb regarding the old enemy.

"I don't hate them, obviously I love to see them defeated in stuff like football and war"

I'd say there was many an Irish, Scottish and Welsh smile today. The old enemy is out and it's going to be fun watching the media and the fans explode.


They followed where Mc Verry led the way.

The title of this blog is taken from the popular republican ballad 'The Two Brendan's', but while many sing it they may not fully comprehend the significance of this simple statement.

Just what was it about Oglach Micheal Mc Verry, OC South Armagh Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann, that made him stand out above all others?

What made him a shining light in the struggle for freedom?

How could one unassuming young man from Cullyhanna change the nature of guerrilla warfare in South Armagh and inspire generations of freedom fighters to pursue the goal of our struggle which ultimately resulted in the defeat of enemy forces of occupation in South Armagh

In case you are wondering why I took a sudden urge to post this blog, it was Micheal's anniversary at the weekend. Micheal Mc Verry became involved in the freedom struggle following the murder of Tullydonnell man Harry Thornton in West Belfast.

There was riots in Crossmaglen the night of Harry's murder and Mc Verry, only 21 at this stage, led a group of young men who almost captured Crossmaglen Barracks with only their bare hands and nail bombs.

Mc Verry's reputation would grow from the ruthlessness and efficiency with which he directed the army's war effort in South Armagh. Indeed he is the mastermind credited with driving British forces off the roads in South Armagh and into the sky.

He was also a pioneer in the use of mortars to further the army's war effort, and indeed even the loss of a hand when preparing a mortar could not deter him from leading 'Mc Verry's Men' into battle.

Indeed not even prison could quell the recalcitrance of Mc Very, with him escaping from the Curragh in the early 1970's. Indeed he commanded an area that stretched from the outskirts of Armagh City and Keady, through to Belleek and Cullyhanna right down to the verges of Newry. This is placed in context by the fact that he was barely in his mid-twenties during the zenith of his campaign.

A comrade of Micheal's explained the mentality of Micheal when on active service and how he demonstrated not only a commitment and dedication rare for one so young, but also an overwhelming sense of guerrilla warfare and the realisation that the real battle would take place at the talks tables with the Brits.

The comrade related of how when going out on active service for the army with Micheal if you got to the ambush scene and the Brits were not there "you went looking for them and hunted them down. There was no sitting about waiting for them."

He also described one time when during a successful engagement with enemy forces the ASU were retreating to safety when half way up the road they decided it was not they who needed to retreat but the Brits so Mc Verry gave the order to return and re-engage the Brits once more.

Mc Verry lost his life in a failed military engagement at Keady barracks on 15th November 1973. The ASU had planned to carry out a rocket attack on Keady Barracks but fatally the RPG turned up late and a gun battle began between the freedom fighters and enemy forces. Mc Verry was hit in the stomach in what turned out to be a fatal wound.

Mc Verry was the first volunteer the South Armagh Brigade lost during this phase of the conflict and is perhaps apt that it was their most precious volunteer who would pay the ultimate sacrifice. Such was the calibre of Mc Verry that he would never expect a volunteer to do anything he himself was not prepared to do.

He died at the tender age of 23, yet he had already drove the Brits into the sky, with the RUC estimating that Mc Verry was involved in the killings of at least 26 enemy forces personnel.

In his short life Mc Verry was to lay the foundation stones that would ultimately see the freedom fighters of the South Armagh Brigade Óglaigh na hÉireann triumph over the foreign forces of occupation.


RUC: Collusion, Bigotry and Murder

I see that the motley crew of sectarian bigots and murderers that make up Retired RUC officers have come together in order to tell the story of that forces 80 year history.

I have serious doubts that we will get anything other than a stomach churning dose of bullshit from these people.

The RUC came into force after the minority community on this island used their illegitimate influence to partition this country.

That partition created the bastardised 6 counties, a statelet forged out of sectarian bigotry and the desire to dominate their fellow Irishmen.

In essence " A Protestant country for a Protestant people"

In May 1922 Stormont passed the 1922 Constabulary Act and the RUC officially came into existence on 1 June 1922.

The hatred which the Nationalist people felt for the RUC and their Protestant Militia, the B Specials, is well documented.

The history of the RUC is a history of sectarianism, discrimination, hate, collusion and murder. They only ever served one section of the people and their raison d'etre was to uphold the illegitimate partition of this country.

When you have stoops like Seamus Mallon describing the RUC as "97% Protestant and 100% unionist." you get a feeling for the dept of hatred felt towards the RUC.

Indeed even those few Castle Catholic who decided to join this sectarian force received discrimination.

In December 1997 The Independent newspaper published a leaked internal RUC document which reported that a third of all Catholic RUC officers had suffered religious discrimination and/or harassment from Protestant fellow officers.

Then we move on to the issue of collusion and state sanctioned murder.

On 18 April 2003 as part of the third report into collusion between Unionist death squads, RUC, and British Army, John Stevens published an Overview and Recommendations document. In it contained the following.

"My Enquiries have highlighted collusion, the wilful failure to keep records, the absence of accountability, the withholding of intelligence and evidence, and the extreme of agents being involved in murder. These serious acts and omissions have meant that people have been killed or seriously injured."

In February 1994, Amnesty International published a report which stated there was "mounting evidence" of collusion between the security forces and Unionist death squads.

In fact last year an international panel of legal experts examined 76 killings between 1972 and 1977 and said there was evidence of collusion in all but two of the cases.

So out of the 76 cases they examined 74 of those cases contained evidence of collusion between the RUC and their Unionist death squads.

That's just a 5 year period of a 30 year conflict which was examined. How many cases of collusion would we find if they were all examined?

I had a wry smile when I read that the RUC website claimed

“The Royal Ulster Constabulary served all the people of Northern Ireland with valour and gallantry from 1922 up until 2001”

Yeah right!


John Laird: A coward and a liar!

I was disgusted by John Laird's abuse of Parliamentary Privilege today when he shamefully named men from behind the shroud of this outdated and elitist protection.

If Laird believed that he could stand over what he said then why didn't he say it in public where these men would have recourse under the law of torts?

It's a disgrace that this archaic piece of British parliamentary procedure is still allowed to be used and abused by people like Laird.

I don't believe a word of what Laird spouted today but I do feel for the men to have had their names and character attacked in such a fashion.

What is evident though from Laird's speech is that he has been "contacted by a number of people and groups from the area who would not normally consider me as a friend".

Now, you don't have to be a genius to work out who these people and groups from the area are. The same criminal element that are trying to ferment discord through lies are the same people who are responsible for this speech by Laird.

It is very clear that Laird's only sources of information are these criminal elements.

Anyone who tries a similar action to Laird's on Balrog will have their post deleted and their IP banned.

This action today was not only an attack upon the men involved but it was also an attack upon the presumption of innocence, a presumption that lies at the heart of any democracy.


Pádraig Pearse

I was reading some of the works of P.H Pearse and decided that a blog on him may be interesting. Out of all the leaders of the 1916 Rising he is the one that I feel history has been the cruellest towards.

I have heard it said they he was a mad man who wallowed in blood sacrifice, a paedophile that lusted after young boys and an egotist.

None of these things are true and when you examine his vast array of writings you will find a patriot, a gifted writer, a poet and a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that this country may be free.

His reputation has been tarnished and suppressed because his actions don't sit well with many partitionist Fianna Fáilers.

They tried to invent a democratic mandate for the Easter Rising when no such mandate existed and can't exist. It can't exist because when revolution becomes inevitable it is a consequence of democracy failing.

This can be evidenced by the Home Rule crisis and the unjust influence that a minority held on this island.

When we look at Pearse we must be careful not to look through 21st century eyes, he was after all a man of the early 20th century.

His now famous "Murder Machine" is an excellent example of a polemic criticising the British system of education in Ireland up to 1916. Of Modernism he had this to say, "the prospect of the children of Sandy Row being taught to curse the Pope in Irish was rich and soul-satisfying"

It needs to be remembered that this man was a poet and a writer, his use of allegory and brash instruments may be lost on those who take quotes of his writing at face value.

Take the following extract from his piece "The Coming Revolution"

"I am glad, then, that the North has begun. I am glad that the Orangemen have armed, for it is a goodly thing to see arms in Irish hands. I should like to see the A. O. H. armed. I should like to see the Transport Workers armed. I should like to see any and every body of Irish citizens armed. We must accustom ourselves to the thought of arms, to the sight of arms, to the use of arms. We may make mistakes in the beginning and shoot the wrong people; but bloodshed is a cleansing and a sanctifying thing, and the nation which regards it as the final horror has lost its manhood. There are many things more horrible than bloodshed; and slavery is one of them. "

What he is saying here is that, yes bloodshed and killing are terrible but that they are a price that must be paid for freedom and that there are worse things that that, slavery, injustice and occupation.

One of the quotes of Pearse that is most abused is the following quote from "Peace and the Gael"

"The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefields."

If you read this quote in isolation you would think that he is a bloodthirsty nut job who relished in death. If you take the time to follow the link and read the entire extract you will find that such was not the case.

When then reach the nub of the lies relating to Pearse, the suggestion that he was a Paedophile. In 1909 he published his now famous poem "A Mhic Bhig na gCleas" although many may know it as "Little Lad of the Tricks".

It must be remembered that "little lad of the tricks" was a translation of "A Mhic Bhig na gCleas". It was first published As Gaelige and was well received, it was only when it was translated into English that questions were raised.

His co-signers of the Proclamation, Thomas MacDonagh and Joseph Mary Plunkett, expressed their concerns about how this poem could be construed in English to Pearse. He was hurt at the mere suggestion that it was a paedophile poem.

When this poem is viewed in the Irish language it is fine, it's only when it's read in English that a problem occurs. It has to be acknowledged that English is one of the worst languages to translate anything into, it lacks tenses and can form crude and even opposite meanings of the original language.

It is for that reason why I have such contempt for the attitude of Evangelical Protestants who follow the words of the English bible as if they were sacrosanct. It is only a translation and a lot of the original meanings have been lost in the translation.

It is accepted though that Pearse could be a difficult man to follow, Michael Collins once wrote

"Of Pearse and Connolly I admire the latter most. Connolly was a realist, Pearse the direct opposite . . . I would have followed [Connolly] through hell had such action been necessary. But I honestly doubt very much if I would have followed Pearse — not without some thought anyway"

I have the utmost respect for P.H. Pearse, he ignited the fire of a nation and while the Rising was a failure militarily it was also a success because what it intended to happen did indeed occur.

Pearse is a man that history and poor academics have slandered for too long


BBBerties double standards

I really had to laugh when I read on RTÉ that an Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has called for wage restraint in the next round of talks on a National Wage Agreement.

Ahern said wage increases under the current agreement Towards 2016 had cost the Government €1.7bn.

This is despite the fact that Ahern has just approved himself a 14% or €38,000 wage increase. This will bring his salary up to €310,000 and make him one of the best paid leaders in the world.

This call for economic prudence in the face of an economic downturn from Ahern whilst he feathers his own nest is reminiscent of the worst era of Haughism.

Charlie called on people to watch what they spent and to tighten their belts yet he spent thousands on £750 Charvet shirts and dinners at Le Coq Hardi.

That's what happens when you have Fianna Fáil in power, it's one rule for them and other for the rest of us mere mortals!

Sinn Féin Chairman for Newry and Mourne DPP

I see that Newry Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Curran has taken up the Chairmanship of Newry and Mourne District Policing Partnership.

As an ex-prisoner and Volunteer of Oglaigh Na hÉireann Brendan's republican bona fides are without question.

This is an important step as the area he will be seeking to represent, Newry and South Armagh, has seen some of the worst abuses of the old RUC.

Brendan will be joined on the local DPP by fellow Sinn Féin Councillors Turlough Murphy, Michael Ruane and Colman Burns.

Brendan said that we are not on the DPP's in order to prop up poor policing.

"The Sinn Féin members on the Newry and Mourne Policing Partnerships will provide the voice for communities who have in the past experienced only bad policing. We want to play a constructive role on those Partnerships but we will not shy away from challenging, or criticising, or questioning policing decisions and policy when the need arises."

"Sinn Féin will not be sitting on the DPPs to prop up ineffective policing. That, in the view of many, is these Partnerships have done in the past. Those days are over, we are determined that Policing with the community will be the core function of the Policing Service."

"For their part the PSNI must indicate a willingness to embrace this opportunity to deliver policing which is democratic, accountable, representative and free from political control."

"Sinn Féin will use their membership of the Partnerships to critically engage with the PSNI in a professional, efficient and constructive manner. We are taking up positions on these Partnerships is clearly significant. There are big challenges for us as we seek to deliver the mandate we have been given. But as with our approach to any issue we will be resolute and we will be determined."

I have complete confidence in Brendan and the other Sinn Féin Councillors who have taken up membership of the DPP. I expect that the cups of tea and biscuit meetings that the cops are used to having with the stoops will come to an end.

This will be a proper, effective and if needs be critical engagement with the cops.

It's time for them to rise to the challenge and do the job they are paid to do!

Edentubber Martyrs

This Sunday marks the 50th Anniversary of the Edentubber Martyrs. This will be the time when Republicans from across Ireland come to remember the sacrifice of five brave men, men who in our history of struggle paid the ultimate price in the pursuit of unity and freedom.

On the 11 November 1957 five republicans were killed in an explosion which demolished a small cottage at the foot of Edentubber Mountain in County Louth, some 300 yards from the South Armagh border.

The five men were Vol. Paul Smith from South Armagh, Vol. George Keegan from Wexford, Vol. Paddy Parle also from Wexford, Vol. Oliver Craven from Newry and Michael Watters from Edentubber.

This five men were involved in Operation Harvest, the IRA's border campaign that lasted from 1956 to 1962.

The Edentubber Commemoration Committee have now launched the Edentubber Martyrs Fiftieth Anniversary Website, it can be viewed under my "Irish Republican" links.

This year promises to be the biggest commemoration yet with an exhibition, a DVD launch, dress up in period battle gear and other aspects of street theatre.

The Balrog team will be there on Sunday so blogging on Monday may have to take a backseat.

These men paid the ultimate price in the hope that this country may be free and united. We meet on Sunday to honour their sacrifice and to reassert our determination that their deaths were not in vain.

Abject tears, and prayers submissive -
Have they eyes, and cannot see?
Never a country gained her freedom
when she sued on bended knee.

- Jane Francesca Elgee


Rome condems English Queen, again

I see that a Vatican supported historian has attacked the new film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, as a “distorted anti-papal travesty” and claimed that it risks dividing the West just when it should be rediscovering its “common Christian roots” in the face of Islam.

Professor Franco Cardini penned this opinion in Avvenire, the official organ of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, and said that the film formed part of a “concerted attack on Catholicism” by atheists and “apocalyptic Christians”.

Professor Cardini said “a film which so profoundly and perversely falsifies history cannot be judged a good film”. It had potentially offered “a contribution to the understanding of a moment of vital importance.”

Instead, the Virgin Queen was portrayed as “an able politician and courageous sovereign” while King Philip II of Spain was shown as a “ferocious, fanatical Catholic, swinging his rosary like a weapon and roaming the Escorial Palace like a madman, full of impotent fury, dreaming of subjugating the world to the Catholic faith”.

The defeat of Spain’s “invincible armada” in 1588 was caused by a storm but was presented in the film as a “shining victory for free thought against the forces of darkness in the form of the Inquisition”, Professor Cardini said.

Professor Cardini should remember that history is written by those who have hanged heroes, I'd never worry too much about what historians in England have to say. I'm sure they are still a little bitter after the Papal Bull of 1570 declared their frigid monarch a servant of crime and a heretic.

I wonder does the film look at what Lizzie the first did in Ireland? We had the Battle of Clontibert in 1595 and the Battle of Yellow Ford in 1598. We had that mad bastard Baron Mountjoy as Lord Deputy in 1600.We had the famous Battle of Kinsale in 1601, any mention?

Let's not forget that the Nine Years War in Ireland came very close to bankrupting the English exchequer, it cost them over £2 million.

Does this "Golden Age" tell the viewer that 60,000 people had died in the Ulster famine of 1602–3 alone as a result of English imperialist expansion?

It's a pity we don't have any modern versions of "Regnans In Excelsis", no one would follow them but they would be amusing to say the least.

What does interest me about this review however is the subtle hint of anti-Muslim sentiment from Cardini. He speaks about the need to form a Christian collective and stand up to Islam, I disagree.

What the Church should be doing is standing up to the West and their ever expanding brand of Militant Capitalism, a philosophy that is fanning the flames of hatred in the Muslim world.

On a personal level I am a Catholic first, I wish to stand with other Christians as much as I wish to stand with Jews or Muslims. I don't see this conflict as a fight between religions, I will never view it as such.


New Order

I would have posted this at the weekend but my computer was on the blink. From this moment on any poster who continues to pollute Balrog threads with nonsense about David Vance or ATW will have their comments deleted.

Unless the thread is about either David Vance or ATW personally this policy will be enforced with an iron fist.

I am very annoyed that certain posters have forced me into this position, however I would rather turn off comments and close down Balrog than to have it polluted with this king of puerile and childish nonsense.

I have asked that posters refrain from this kind of bullshit before however several have refused to listen.

I understand that David Vance has banned several posters and they have no access to a site that they can bitch on, the fact that they feel the need to bitch so much shows that one or two are obsessed. It's getting very close to a Glenn Close moment for several of them.

That being said if anyone feels that bad about either David Vance or ATW then I suggest you set up your own blog, I don't like Balrog being used for electronic diarrhoea.

If anyone feels that this is harsh, an attempt at censorship etc I have just one thing to say.... I DON'T GIVE A FUCK!!

This is my blog and I don't post up new threads just to see them turn into anti-ATW threads.

If anyone feels they will be unable to comply with this new order then the door is that way!

Martin Meehan RIP

I was saddened to learn that Republican stalwart and IRA veteran Martin Meehan died over the weekend.

Martin was born in 1940's Belfast, his father was imprisoned for Republican activities and his grandfather was killed at the Battle of the Somme. He joined Oglaigh Na hÉireann in 1966 and described it as a "big occasion, like joining the priesthood".

In 1971 Martin escaped from prison and crossed the border and in 1972 he and others were involved in a four hour cross border gun battle with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. That battle took place at land which was owned by my family at Dungooley in Co Louth, just across the border.

In fact that land is now owned by West Brit Edward Haughey, I remember before the land was sold I was walking across one of the fields and there was loads of empty shells all over the place.

In 1972 Martin Meehan was the first Republican to be charged with membership of the PIRA and in 1975 was the last Republican to be released following the abolishment of internment.

Martin was a lifelong Republican who witnessed first hand the cruelty and injustice of what the British had to offer Ireland.

I think I was about 11 when I first met Martin Meehan in Jonesborough market, my Dad had known him for some time and he introduced me. Even then you could see that this man had a presence and a demeanour that received respect.

Martin was well liked and respected by Republicans the length and breathe of Ireland.

Gerry Adams described Martin as an exemplary republican and said he would mourned by all who knew him

“It was with deep shock and sadness that I heard of the sudden death of Martin Meehan. I want extend my sincere condolences and those of republicans everywhere to Briege and the entire Meehan family".

“Martin Meehan was a lifelong republican who dedicated his life to the struggle for Irish freedom. Martin served the republican struggle as a dedicated IRA Volunteer, political activist and elected representative. Martin and his family paid a heavy price for his republicanism having been interned without trial, served long prison sentences and long periods away from his family because of his activism"

Junior Minister Gerry Kelly commenting on the sad news said

“Republicans everywhere will be saddened by this shocking news. Martin was a republican legend, particularly in Belfast. He will be sadly missed by all of his comrades in Belfast and beyond .On their behalf I extend heartfelt condolences to Briege and the Meehan family"

Many people are what the times demand and when physical force Republicanism was demanded Martin was not found wanting. When politics became the order of the day he didn't shirk his responsibility, he put his head up and was counted.

He lived and died an Irish Republican

I measc Laochra na Gael go raibh sé


Jonathan Swift on Lawyers

 I do feel that he was a little harsh with the following although I know a great many who would agree with him.

"He added, "that he had heard too much upon the subject of war, both in this and some former discourses. There was another point, which a little perplexed him at present. I had informed him, that some of our crew left their country on account of being ruined by law; that I had already explained the meaning of the word; but he was at a loss how it should come to pass, that the law, which was intended for every man's preservation, should be any man's ruin.

Therefore he desired to be further satisfied what I meant by law, and the dispensers thereof, according to the present practice in my own country; because he thought nature and reason were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal, as we pretended to be, in showing us what he ought to do, and what to avoid."

I assured his honour, "that the law was a science in which I had not much conversed, further than by employing advocates, in vain, upon some injustices that had been done me: however, I would give him all the satisfaction I was able."

I said, "there was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving, by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest of the people are slaves.

For example, if my neighbour has a mind to my cow, he has a lawyer to prove that he ought to have my cow from me. I must then hire another to defend my right, it being against all rules of law that any man should be allowed to speak for himself. Now, in this case, I, who am the right owner, lie under two great disadvantages: first, my lawyer, being practised almost from his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite out of his element when he would be an advocate for justice, which is an unnatural office he always attempts with great awkwardness, if not with ill-will.

The second disadvantage is, that my lawyer must proceed with great caution, or else he will be reprimanded by the judges, and abhorred by his brethren, as one that would lessen the practice of the law. And therefore I have but two methods to preserve my cow. The first is, to gain over my adversary's lawyer with a double fee, who will then betray his client by insinuating that he hath justice on his side. The second way is for my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust as he can, by allowing the cow to belong to my adversary: and this, if it be skilfully done, will certainly bespeak the favour of the bench.

Now your honour is to know, that these judges are persons appointed to decide all controversies of property, as well as for the trial of criminals, and picked out from the most dexterous lawyers, who are grown old or lazy; and having been biased all their lives against truth and equity, lie under such a fatal necessity of favouring fraud, perjury, and oppression, that I have known some of them refuse a large bribe from the side where justice lay, rather than injure the faculty, by doing any thing unbecoming their nature or their office."

It is a maxim among these lawyers that whatever has been done before, may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice, and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of directing accordingly."

In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the merits of the cause; but are loud, violent, and tedious, in dwelling upon all circumstances which are not to the purpose. For instance, in the case already mentioned; they never desire to know what claim or title my adversary has to my cow; but whether the said cow were red or black; her horns long or short; whether the field I graze her in be round or square; whether she was milked at home or abroad; what diseases she is subject to, and the like; after which they consult precedents, adjourn the cause from time to time, and in ten, twenty, or thirty years, come to an issue."

It is likewise to be observed, that this society has a peculiar cant and jargon of their own, that no other mortal can understand, and wherein all their laws are written, which they take special care to multiply; whereby they have wholly confounded the very essence of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong; so that it will take thirty years to decide, whether the field left me by my ancestors for six generations belongs to me, or to a stranger three hundred miles off."

In the trial of persons accused for crimes against the state, the method is much more short and commendable: the judge first sends to sound the disposition of those in power, after which he can easily hang or save a criminal, strictly preserving all due forms of law."

Here my master interposing, said, "it was a pity, that creatures endowed with such prodigious abilities of mind, as these lawyers, by the description I gave of them, must certainly be, were not rather encouraged to be instructors of others in wisdom and knowledge."

In answer to which I assured his honour, "that in all points out of their own trade, they were usually the most ignorant and stupid generation among us, the most despicable in common conversation, avowed enemies to all knowledge and learning, and equally disposed to pervert the general reason of mankind in every other subject of discourse as in that of their own profession."

Gulliver's Travels, 1726

It can be a bit daunting at times to be entering into a profession that is loathed by so many people. I can only say that I entered law for , what I believe to be, the right reasons.

I remember my first day of University and our tutor asking about 20 of us why we wanted to be a Solicitor, I was the only one who didn't say "for the money".

I decided to be a Solicitor because I wanted to help people, to stand up for the vulnerable and to speak out for those without a voice. That's why I choose to specialise in subjects like Family and Criminal law rather than the more lucrative property and commercial subjects.

I have always believed that "the law" is the preserve of those with money. You can always buy "justice" when you have the money to do so.

As I am not yet admitted to "the roll" I have to be careful with any advice I give, I can't present myself as a solicitor just yet. As a result any advice which I give, free of charge, will always be accompanied with the proviso that they go and see a Solicitor to back up what I have said.

Just to give an example of this, I recently had a person come to me for advice in relation to a Family problem. I advised them on some of the suitable Section 8 Orders that would help. I should also say that this person has limited financial means and a family to feed and even if I was fully qualified I would never have charged them.

Now, the fucker of a Solicitor they went to gave them some very suspect advice, advice that would make the situation worse but which would line their pockets. As a result of this advice which lasted a half hour they charged this person £175.

Is it any wonder so many people hate Lawyers!!


Allez-vous faire foutre

That's the message that the Irish "Vote No" campaign should send to Jean Marie Le Pen.

Le Pen has said he is prepared to come to Ireland to oppose the referendum on the EU Reform Treaty.

Ireland is the only European country that will be giving its citizens the right to vote on this move towards a European Super State.

When I say the only country, France and Holland have already voted NO yet the Euro elite seem to have forgotten that little piece of democratic exercise by the French and Dutch.

I am opposed to the EU Reform Treaty however I am just as opposed, if not more so, to Le Pen and his motley crew of fascists and reprobates that make up the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty grouping of the European Parliament.

This grouping includes the leader of Azione Sociale and former Playboy model Alessandra Mussolini. She is the grand-daughter of Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP and National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald has strongly rejected Le Pen’s offer to come to Ireland to support the No Vote.

"Sinn Féin is resolute that the politics of Le Pen, the National Front and the far right alliances of the European parliament should have no place in the Irish No Campaign."

“Sinn Féin will encourage and engage in a robust and mature debate during the campaign but we will not align ourselves with the politics and policies of the far right."

“Le Pen and his ilk will only serve to damage the Vote No campaign by tainting it with their racist and inequitable agenda. The left in Ireland’s vision for Europe is a world apart from what Le Pen and his people advocate. We want nothing to do with him or his political groupings.”

The Vote No campaign will give voters the cold hard facts in this debate, that debate will however be a mature and honest affair.

Le Pen and his ilk have no place in that debate, their presence is neither wanted or needed.

Faithful through and through.

I am sure that after last nights loss to Benfica many were not expecting a Celtic thread to-day, but true to form I decided that I would run with one regardless.

Firstly, yes it was another away disaster for Celtic in Europe. Seems to be an inexorable trend in the last few seasons. If it is not the first ten minutes they fuck up in, its the last ten minutes. Perhaps this is where the lack of European experience at a top level becomes apparent.

In Europe you are not playing against Gretna or Livingstone and simply won't get away with it. That said the Hoops were within minutes of claiming a precious away point, that in my opinion would have set them in good stead to progress. Now progression is not so certain.

I decided to blog about Celtic to-day because it is all too easy to sing the praises of team in victory, and ignore the bitter disappointment of defeat. Yes Celtic lost to the Teddy Bears on Saturday and yes they lost to Benfica last night but does that mean I or any of there other thousands upon thousands of loyal fans will quit supporting them? Does it bollocks!!!!

Celtic fans are renowned for their loyalty to their sacred club and no other fans are on a par with them. The fans have ensured that the good name of Celtic is upheld no matter where they go. In Seville for the UEFA Cup Final there was in excess of 100,000 Hoops fans and there was no a single arrest.

Could any English team realistically say the same of their fans?

Yes things may be a bit down at the moment but I am backing the team to bounce back and keep their current spot at the apex of the SPL. We've been through much worse (Rangers 9 in a row, John Barnes, losing the UEFA Cup Final, verge of bankruptcy), this is merely a blip and indubitably in the end the League Flag will be unfurled at Paradise again.

I'll leave with a song called "Raised on Celtic" dedicated to the legions of loyal Celtic fans.

A moral obligation?

I see that Paul Goggins has announced that he intends to introduce legislation outlawing kerb crawling next year. He commented that "We are going to change the law to introduce this as a specific offence".

Whilst acknowledging that something must be done to remedy this problem, I am not quite sure that this is the most effective manner to achieve this.

In certain circumstances I can see how it will be advantageous in combating such activity. In the case of trafficked prostitutes this may work. They will no longer be able to stand on street corners touting for punters or walk the streets plying their immoral trade.
However what this legislation will fail to recognise is that many are not kerb crawling out of choice!

Many are duped into coming to this island, then have their passport confiscated and are then effectively held at ransom and pimped out by ruthless gangsters. Will this legislation change the heinous mentality of these bullies and pimps? I do not think so.
If they can find it acceptable to traffic women and children into this country for the purpose of making them sex slaves, I am sure the fact that it is illegal will do little to deter these godfathers.

As someone who can see a lot of the merits of legalised prostitution in certain conditions, I believe that this issue should be tackled in another manner. It fails to account for the fact that many of these women are not selling themselves on street corners out of choice. For those who are not marginalised and forced into it by traffickers and pimps, they are forced into it by destitution, poverty, tragedy and in many cases drug addiction.

Is criminalising these victims of society the correct way to deal with this particular scourge? These people have already been cast aside by society, are frowned upon and now will ultimately be outlawed. Is this morally acceptable?

There are a number of other ways this issue could be addressed. The first is the long running argument that prostitution should be legalised. Exponents of this view argue that this may aid the women who find themselves caught in this trap of despair. This ,they contend, is achievable by removing control of the sex industry out of the hands of ruthless gangsters and into the hands of an independent agency. This they argue, will en sure that the industry is properly regulated and reduces the scope for exploitation and oppression. This may also lead to proper health screening ensuring that the industry remains 'clean'.

They point to Amsterdam as a paradigm of how this may work in practice. Whilst this may carry a certain degree of validity there is also a number of flaws. The first is that even in Amsterdam there are women forced into the sex trade and indubitably oppressed whilst firmly in its clutches. It fails to recognise, also, that there are a number of backstreet brothels in Amsterdam that are outside the remit of regulation and health and safety.

I believe that perhaps the best way to deal with the problem is to follow the Swedish solution. Here it is the man that solicits the kerb crawler that is held culpable under the law. Surely this would be more apt, punishing a pervert hell bent on a bit of titillation instead of the woman forced into this terrible situation?

Outlawing prostitution has failed to dent the massive industry that the oldest profession in history has evolved into, but by outlawing those who attempt to engage vulnerable women in such a manner this may be more effectual.


Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika

In response to the English defeat (double!) at the weekend I would like to express my congratulations to our comrades in South Africa.

The links between Irish Republicans and the ANC have been long established and to this day we remain friends and comrades.

I first heard Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika when Ronnie Kasrils, the South African Minister for Intelligence and senior representative of the African National Congress, attended a Sinn Féin organised event.

I am quite a fan of national anthems and my favourite is the Soviet national anthem

Myself and Setanta have recently taken to singing La Marseillaise whilst drunk , however that is for the purpose of annoying a certain individual rather than any love of the anthem.

Northern Representation in the Dáil

I am pleased to see that Northern Representation in the Dáil is beginning to make some progress.

The six counties 18 MP's are to be allowed to attend committee meetings in the Oireachtas whenever they want for the first time.

One of these is the newly-formed Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Oireachtas committees are cross-party parliamentary bodies made up of Dáil and Seanad members.
They shadow various departments and deal with a range of investigations to advise the government.

Sinn Féin has made longstanding calls for speaking rights for MP's in the Dáil and Seanad.

This was backed by the all-party Oireachtas committee on the Constitution in 2002, but the process to implement this has stalled because of the lack of political will on Fianna Fáil's behalf.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has welcomed the establishment of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and has noted his party's intention to build on this initial step towards 32 county representation in the Oireachtas.

"We have called for representation in the Dáil for citizens in the Six Counties. We maintain this call and we do not see the new Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as a substitute for Six-County representation in the Dáil."

Exactly, and while this is a welcome move it is only a start, more needs to be done!

The Dublin government have a responsibility to ensure that Articles 2 and 3 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann are more than just words on a page.

Only a sport???

It was with great amusement that I read some of Celtic goalkeeper Artur Borucs comments to-day.

He was answering a question as to why he failed to shake hands with any of the Teddy Bears after the final whistle had gone in Saturdays game at Castle Greyskull.

His reply was less than cordial. He stated that some of the Huns had set out to "provoke" and "offend" him before the final whistle blew. His reason for refusing to shake hands was:
"I don't have to love anyone. I don't like this club, these players... The season is continuing in Scotland, we are enemies and we are competing for the championship".

Some may not like this and consider it sour grapes but Artur definitely gets my vote on this one!!!!!!!!!!

Whose agenda????

Many 'republicans' (and I use the term as loosely as possible) have been heralded in the media as experts offering accurate and in-depth knowledge of the goings-on within the republican movement.

Maybe its just me, but sometimes I really do wonder how the media rationalises having some disaffected and pissed off reptile portrayed as an expert or the leading voice for Irish republicanism. I mean lets just look at some of the useless cretins they have dared to employ to attack the integrity of the republican movement.

Sean (Sham) O Callaghan is often wheeled out on documentaries to try and inflict a bit of damage on the leadership and stir things up a little bit. This man was a bloody tout! so how can he articulate the mood of republicanism??? The man would not know the truth if it hit him in the face, as many paid perjurers wouldn't. Indeed he has made numerous scurrilous allegations against the late Pat Finucane and is obviously working to an anti-republican agenda.

Willie Carlin is another tout we've had shown on the TV screens as the true voice of republicanism. Eamon Collins was giving the same star treatment from the media. What did they have in common? They were both touts working to a Brit driven agenda.

During the policing debate Paddy Murray was heralded by the media as the authority on hard core republican principles and was afforded several column inches to get a boot into the leadership. Isn't it ironic that rumours are fast circulating that the afore mentioned was actually an MI5 agent and is apparently now in protective custody.

Indeed in the last few days yet another disaffected former republican has seized an opportunity to stick the boot into the movement. This is clear to anyone that knows the person in question. He has long had an axe to grind with the movement. He tried it to no affect by backing Davy Hyland and has now attempted in a reprehensible manner to do the same by laying the blame for a truly terrible murder at the door of the republican movement. The same person has been deafening in his silence about the murders of other young men in the area by criminals. Why?

Because it did not suit his agenda to highlight this. The truth will come out eventually and he will be exposed for what he truly is. People can see through this facade and there is no way to masquerade a wounded ego behind that of a concerned 'republican'.


Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

The great Robert Frost!


Frazer Watch: Part 2

I meant to blog on this at the weekend however with my social calender full I never found the time. I am a bit miffed that Martin McGuinness has decided to indulge the lies of Willie Frazer and Co at FAIR.

The Deputy First Minister has agreed to meet a small delegation from the "victims" group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (FAIR).

I personally wouldn't indulge Frazer's wanton paranoia and lies for a second let alone a full meeting.

This is a man who describes, and campaigns on behalf of, Robert McConnell and the like as an "innocent" victim.

A man that has hid the fact that his deceased relatives who were killed were members of the UDR and UVF Glenanne Gang, like his father for example.

He stated live on Radio Ulster that the “Loyalists” released under the GFA agreement should never have been jailed in the first place.

He said that Billy Wright was “a friend” and a “good man”.

Has associations with “Loyalist” death squads as claimed by the PSNI and upheld by the High Court when they denied him a firearms license - the judge said that the PSNI presented clear and irrefutable evidence to support their accusations.

He and his organisation inferred for years that the Reavey brothers were involved in the Republican movement and were murdered for that reason.

The Glenanne Gang

A ruthless group of sectarian killers who were responsible for the deaths of 120 innocent people. This gang was made up of members of the British Army, the RUC and Unionist death squads and was run by British Military Intelligence and RUC Special Branch.

I hope Martin reminds Frazer of this when he meets him and Frazer starts spouting this nonsense about "innocent" victims.

No Republican involvement

That's the very clear message in relation to the brutal murder of Cullyhanna man Paul Quinn. He was found brutally beaten outside a farm house in Castleblaney and later died in hospital.

It has only been 48hrs since this mans brutal murder but already the usual suspects are trying to suggest IRA involvement.

The family have blamed the IRA for his killing however this has been strongly denied by both Gerry Adams and Conor Murphy.

Gerry Adams had this to say

"The people involved are criminals. They need to be brought to justice and it is fairly obvious to me that this is linked to fuel smuggling and to criminal activity."

"Others may want to play politics with this dreadful murder. I don't and I won't."

"There is no republican involvement whatsoever in this man's murder and all of us should be careful that we don't end up playing politics with what is a dreadful, criminal action."

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy also denied any Republican involvement

"I have spoken to republicans on the ground and they are as shocked as we are, Cullyhanna is a small place and people know the motivation of what's going on behind others' actions. I am confident that the republicans I know in that area were not involved in any way, shape or form."

Added to this mix is former Sinn Féin member Jim McAllister, he has his own motivations for wanting to blame the IRA.

People in South Armagh are well aware that Jim supported Davy Hyland in his failed endeavour to cost Sinn Féin an Assembly seat. They are also aware of the scumbags that they sought support from during this campaign and the hurt those scumbags have caused and continue to cause in the South Armagh area.

When you lie down with dogs you are going to get fleas Jim!

This mans brutal murder should never have happened and those responsible should be put in jail. Anyone with any information should contact an Garda Síochána or the PSNI.

There are those who wish to use this death for their own purposes, Republicans will not let that happen.