La Mon: No Greater Mark of Shame
The Provisional IRA have many shameful episodes in their dark and shadowy history, the deliberate targeting and murder of civilians, the killing of infants, the ‘Disappeared’, all shameful, repugnant acts, but few PIRA/SF attacks were as shocking, as blatantly sectarian or as gruesome as the La Mon bombing. Not only because 12 Protestant civilians, the majority of them women, were murdered, but also because of the way in which they murdered. Not riddled with gunfire, not blown to pieces, but burned alive. Just let that sink in for a moment. Twelve innocent civilians burned alive. Some of those poor people burned beyond recognition. Can you imagine the agony, the suffering? Can you put yourself in the place of the relatives, given the grizzly task of identifying the charred remains of a sister, brother, daughter or spouse? I cannot begin to imagine what those families went through, what they must still go through on a daily basis, left traumatised and mentally scarred by the actions of a gang of cowardly, uneducated, delusional republican thugs.
The La Mon House hotel/restaurant sits in the Castlereagh hills, just outside Belfast. Today it is a popular venue for weddings and functions, just as it was in the 1970s. At that time in Ulster, dinner-dances were all the rage, with almost every club, association, society and fraternity in the country holding an annual dinner-dance. The Irish Collie Club and the Northern Ireland Junior Motorcycle Club were no different. The two clubs having hired out the ‘Peacock Room’ and the ‘Gransha Room’ of the La Mon hotel/restaurant respectively, to hold their annual functions. On the night of Friday the 17th of February, 1978, the two dinner-dances were underway. The diners had just sat down to the first course of their meal when a Provo incendiary device, comprised of a small blast-bomb attached to four large canisters filled with a Napalm like mixture of petrol and sugar, exploded outside the ‘Peacock Room’. (The sugar having been added to the mixture to make it stick to whatever it hit.) The device had been placed against one of the function room’s large picture windows and when it detonated the explosion created an instantaneous and devastating fireball, 40 feet high and 60 feet wide, which engulfed the room. A single, vague warning had been telephoned in by PIRA/Sinn Fein, just 9 minutes before the bomb exploded. Later they gave miserable excuses for having not given adequate warning and thus avoiding, or at least minimising, the number of deaths and devastating injuries, at one point the Irish nationalist murder gang even suggested that the huge loss of life was down to the UDR, a unit of the regiment having stopped the gang’s car after they had planted their deadly firebomb and were, supposedly, on their way to a public call-box to telephone in a warning. Anyone with even a small amount of knowledge about PIRA/Sinn Fein however can see through their pernicious lies and vile fabrications. An inadequate, deliberately vague warning was given so the Provos could murder as many Protestants as possible whilst still maintaining the pretence that they gave a prior warning in order to avoid casualties. A cynical tactic used by these fanatics all too often.
“Like a Scene From Hell”
The massive fireball that engulfed the ‘Peacock Room’ killed twelve people. Innocent civilians murdered because of their perceived religion. Thirty others suffered horrible burns. Young men and women were left disfigured. Others lost limbs. Some of those injured in the attack are still receiving treatment for their injuries over 35 years after the event! One witness to the carnage described it as being “like a scene from Hell”. The survivors, with their hair and clothing on fire, rushed to escape the burning room. It must surely have been a harrowing scene. It took firemen almost two hours to put out the blaze, such was the intensity of the fire. Some of the victims were found beneath a pile of hot ash and debris, charred beyond all recognition, making identifying them extremely difficult as all their individual human features had been completely burned away. Some of the bodies had shrunk so much in the intense heat, it was first believed that there were children among the victims. One doctor who saw the remains described them as being like “charred logs of wood”.
In the aftermath of the bombing most Protestants recognised it for what it was, a sectarian attack against their community. They called for a return of the death penalty. More than 2000 people attended a lunchtime service organised by the Orange Institution at City Hall in Belfast. Belfast International Airport shut for an hour, while many workers in Belfast and Larne stopped work for a time. Workers at a number of factories said they were contributing their half-day’s pay to a fund for the victims and their families. A team of 100 RUC detectives was deployed in the investigation. As part of the investigation, 25 people were arrested in Belfast, including Gerry Adams. Adams was released from custody in July 1978 and became President of Sinn Fein shortly after. There were just two prosecutions in relation to the La Mon massacre. A Belfast man was charged with the twelve murders but was acquitted. He was convicted of PIRA membership but successfully appealed. In September, 1981, another Belfast man, Robert Murphy, was given twelve life sentences for the manslaughter of those who died. He was freed from prison in 1995, having served just 14 years, a little over one years imprisonment for every life taken at La Mon. Why was this repellent, odious, repugnant creature not charged with 12 counts of murder? As is often the case in Ulster, one is left shaking one’s head in sheer disbelief.
Ethnic Cleansing Of Ulster’s Frontier
It is very common in literature on Northern Ireland and ‘The Troubles’ to see it portrayed largely in terms of a dominant Protestant majority and a Catholic minority. In the border areas however, it was Protestants who were in the minority and who suffered for it. It has been ignored in large part because it does not fit into the ‘oppressive Protestants/oppressed Catholics’ dichotomy, and yet it is an element of Ulster’s recent past that cannot, and should not, be ignored. It is also one where the brutal sectarian dimension of PIRA/SF is undeniable: the relentless bombing of Protestant businesses, the burning of farms, the shooting up of farmhouses to force the occupants out, and the relentless campaign to kill Protestants (in and out of uniform). One tactic employed by the Irish nationalist murder gangs that roamed throughout the border areas was to kill the only son (often the only child) of middle-aged or elderly Protestant farmers, thus ensuring that ten, twenty or thirty years down the line there would be no-one to inherit the land and it would have to be sold. With many Protestants having been forced out, and with Protestants in the minority to begin with, the buyers of such properties would, almost inevitably, be Irish nationalists.
This loathsome tactic was used again and again in parts of County Armagh, County Fermanagh, South Down and County Tyrone. Protestants in the affected areas (the few stalwarts who remain) can list literally dozens of names of victims of ‘Only Son Murders’. Of course, some of those killed were part-time members of the UDR, or RUC Reservists, thus giving PIRA/Sinn Fein a way to attempt to justify the killings. At other times such killings were put down to ‘mistaken identity’ or excused by saying that the dead man was ‘not the intended target’. Words used to masque the truth, the truth being that such murders were part of a systematic campaign of Ethnic Cleansing, perpetrated by the Provos against rural, peaceful, working class Protestant communities.
Many of the victims of this tactic were men in their twenties. Unmarried men. The reasoning for this was as simple as it was brutal- ‘Kill the Orange bastards before they have a chance to breed’. You see dear reader, Irish nationalists and republicans are obsessed with numbers- 6, 26, 32, 81, 1798, 1916 etc etc. They are also, rather disturbingly, obsessed with the procreation and mating habits of Protestants. There are even a few Irish nationalist/Gaelic supremacist blogs dedicated to that very subject! In the minds of some of these extremist half-wits, a Roman Catholic majority in NI automatically means the creation of an all-island unitary state, because in their completely sectarian little minds, Roman Catholic and Irish nationalist/republican are interchangeable terms meaning one and the same thing. They endlessly postulate on when the ‘glorious dawn’ will come and Catholics will become a clear majority. They misread and blatantly falsify census data. And they are utterly pre-occupied with ‘non-Catholic’ birthrates. You see, according to the likes of ‘Ulster’s Doomed’ et al, all Protestants are impotent old coots, 70 or 80 years old, obstinately refusing to die just to spite the vibrant young Catholics with their
football (sorry, I mean ‘soccer’) teams of rosy-cheeked children. I have even seen one such blog suggest that almost all the ‘Prods’ in one particular Ulster council area could be killed off by ‘one bad winter’ (quick, someone pass me my tartan blanket and slippers!), the borough in question by the way, is at present, around 76% Protestant. That alone should serve as ample illustration of the depths of Irish nationalist/republican delusion and their, quite frankly creepy, obsession with what their Protestant (and Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Atheist etc) neighbours do, or rather what they imagine they don’t do, in the bedroom. Is it any wonder that Irish nationalists have found they have so much in common with Hezbollah, Hamas and the fascist ‘Islamic State’? After all, religious fanatics are religious fanatics, it doesn’t really matter whether they’re firing rockets in Gaza or firing guns in Ardoyne, a zealot is a zealot.
There have been calls from Unionist politicians, for some sort of reparation to be made to those who were forced from their homes in border areas. It has also been suggested that the Dublin government should issue an apology for the documented collusion between ‘An Garda Síochána’ and the Provo death squads, as well as for giving republican gangs ‘safe haven’ in Eire. Of course such calls have, so far, fallen on deaf ears. The toxic and deeply biased Northern Ireland media don’t like to discuss such things. The wannabe ‘Guardianistas’ at Broadcasting House sneer at the very notion of Unionists/Loyalists being victims, or that the ‘RA’ were anything other than ‘freedom fighting revolutionaries’. Even former government employees have rubbished the idea of any kind of reparation or apology coming from the Irish government. A former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, who described the Provos border campaign as “pure ethnic cleansing”, has also said that it would be “fruitless” to even seek an apology from the current government of the Irish Republic, adding that “It is almost as if you are going to invite the current German government to apologise for the Holocaust.” I would tend to agree with Sir Kenneth. It would though, be hugely encouraging if the Unionist ‘mainstream’ were to make their calls for an apology a little louder and a little more persistent. I won’t hold my breath!
Mountbatten: There Were Other Victims Too!
Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the murder of Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma, and cousin of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Lord Mountbatten was murdered by Provisional IRA/Sinn Fein on the 27th of August, 1979, while holidaying in Eire. At the time of his death Irish nationalists and republicans celebrated wildly. A member of the Royal Family had been ‘taken out’ by their beloved PIRA, and on the same day as 18 soldiers were murdered at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint in Co.Down. What had transpired in reality was that a Provo murder gang had blown up a 79 year old man, an 83 year old woman, and two young boys aged just 14 and 15. This was no ‘spectacular’, Mountbatten and his party were soft targets. Had one of the victims not been related to the Queen, this act would be seen for the atrocity that it was. Although, speaking from personal experience, I think the nationalist/republican community would have celebrated the murders anyway, even if Mountbatten had been Joe Bloggs from Manchester or Billy Bloggs from Portadown.
Lord Mountbatten and his family had traditionally spent their summer holiday at their castle at Mullaghmore in County Sligo, they had been doing so for many, many years. They did not try to keep their presence a secret. Local people would look forward to the arrival of Lord Mountbatten and his party. After all, they would provide a small but welcome boost for the village’s shopkeepers and did nothing to harm the reputation of the place as a quiet haven for tourists etc. On the morning of the 27th, Lord Mountbatten, his daughter and son-in-law, his daughter’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, the Earl’s twin grandsons, Nicholas and Timothy, and Paul Maxwell, a teenager from Fermanagh employed for the summer by Mountbatten, set out in the Earl’s 30ft sailboat, the ‘Shadow V’, when, a short distance from shore, at approximately 11:30 am, a bomb ripped through the vessel. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast, and Lord Mountbatten’s legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged almost 80, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, but died from his injuries before being brought to shore. The Dowager Lady Brabourne was also pulled from the water alive, though terribly injured. She died the following day. The two boys, Mountbatten’s grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and Paul Maxwell, were killed instantly. Lord and Lady Brabourne, Mountbatten’s son-in-law and daughter, along with their other twin son Timothy, survived the explosion but were seriously injured.
In the immediate aftermath of the atrocity, while the bodies of the dead were still lying in Mullaghmore harbour, PIRA/Sinn Fein ‘President’ Gerry Adams crowed that “The IRA gave clear reasons for the execution. He knew the danger involved in coming to our country. In my opinion, the IRA achieved its objective”. He offered no words of apology for the murder of two children, or the killing of a frail 83 old woman. As he spoke he smiled broadly, truly the mark of a dangerous psychopath. How close he came to his comeuppance, when the Ulster Freedom Fighters came within a hair’s breadth of putting down this rabid dog in 1984 (his miserable life was saved by British soldiers, a fact conveniently forgotten by most Irish nationalists!). Adams has a very great deal of innocent blood on his hands, unsurprising then that he felt nothing for the lives of an old lady and two teenage boys.
Unlike his fascist/supremacist killers, Lord Mountbatten took pride in enhancing intercultural understanding, and in 1984, with his elder daughter as the patron, the ‘Mountbatten Internship Programme’ was developed to allow young adults the opportunity to enhance their intercultural appreciation and experience by spending time abroad, immersing themselves in other cultures. The City Of Ottawa erected Mountbatten Avenue in his memory. The Avenue runs from Blossom Drive to Fairbanks Avenue. Lord Louis Mountbatten was not some boogeyman. He was not the ‘evil Brit imperialist’ that Irish nationalists made him out to be. What was the reason for his murder, aside from whom he happened to be related to? And why was being in this man’s company enough to earn Nicholas Knatchbull, Paul Maxwell and the Dowager Lady Brabourne a death sentence? I propose that they were murdered because the Provos hated the fact that Lord Mountbatten spent every summer in part of their territory. Or what they considered to be ‘their territory’. These Gaelic supremacist jackals simply couldn’t abide the fact that a cousin of HM Queen Elizabeth was happy and content to spend a few weeks of every year in the West of Ireland. Perhaps these deranged fascists thought that Mountbatten and his family might contaminate the ‘pure blooded Gaels’ of Co. Sligo with his Britishness. Their minds have been so warped by hatred, their judgement so impaired, their view of the world so skewed, that anything is possible. These are, after all, the same people who gave the order for 12 Protestant civilians to be burned alive, they are, in short, bloodthirsty thugs, and in any normal society they would now be snugly tucked up…below 6ft of topsoil.
NEXT WEEK: 1980/81 HORROR AFTER HORROR