The Siege of Clyde Valley

The controversy over the decision of Clyde Valley FB to wear a small Parachute Regiment emblem on their uniforms whilst on parade in Londonderry last Saturday has resulted in yet another battle in the ‘cultural war’ that has been fought in Ulster since at least 1996. Wagons have been circled. War cries have been shouted and the extremely deep (and dangerous) levels of division within Northern Ireland have been laid bare. Again.

The small Parachute Regiment emblem worn by Clyde Valley FB at the Relief of Derry parade on Saturday (10.8.2019)


Yesterday’s statement by the Apprentice Boys of Derry was a welcome development. It may well take enough heat out of the situation to allow the very deep fissures in Northern Ireland society to be papered over, at least for while, although anybody with any sense can see that we are only ever hours away from the next “crisis” or controversy and now would be the perfect time to reflect on the reasons for that precarious situation.

Perhaps the more politically astute amongst our political ‘leaders’ could ask, publicly, why Irish republicanism has decided that the dead of ‘Bloody Sunday’ are to be held as the most important victims of the conflict, the apex of the pyramid of victimhood that Provisional Sinn Fein has carefully constructed over the last 20 years or so?

Why do republicans insist that any reference to the Parachute Regiment, anywhere in the city of Derry, is ‘verboten’ because it is an insult to victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, yet these very same republicans insist that they have a right to commemorate republican murder gangs in that city, regardless of the feelings of the victims of such death squads?

INLA mural, Londonderry


Surely, if references to (and emblems of) the Paras are “offensive” and “distasteful” in Londonderry, because of ‘Bloody Sunday’, then, by the same logic, references to (and emblems of) the INLA, Provisional IRA etc are equally offensive and distasteful given the fact that republican killer gangs were responsible for far more death and destruction than any other party or agency.

Indeed, it could be argued that the emblems and symbols of the Provos and INLA are even more liable to cause offence because they inflicted death and destruction on both communities.

Irish republican terrorist mural, Derry.


In reality though, the “Clyde Valley controversy” has little to do with the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and their families. It has everything to do with Sinn Fein’s heirarchy of victims and their marking out of territory. According to republicans, the victims of so-called “state violence” are more important, more worthy of remembrance and more deserving of sensitivity and respect than any other victims.

On the next level of this heirarchy are the victims of militant Loyalism (those killed by the UFF and UVF), followed by those republicans killed by their own bombs. Everybody else is on the lowest tier of this sickening pyramid.


“All of the animals are equal but some are more equal than others”

Did Provisional Sinn Fein show any sensitivity to the victims of their terrorist wing when they marched recently in Strabane? Were bands in paramilitary style uniforms considered “distasteful“? Were representations of armed terrorists considered to be a “calculated insult” to the victims of republican murder gangs in West Tyrone? Why not?

The answer is very simple- in the minds of republicans some victims don’t deserve respect, whilst conversely, some victims deserve every respect and should be treated almost as if they are ‘Holy martyrs’. According to republicans, the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’ deserve to be treated with kid gloves, insulated and protected from any reference to the Parachute Regiment, or indeed the British Army in general.

Victims like the families of Patsy Gillespie and Joanne Mathers however, deserve no such consideration or sensitivity. Those victims are not to be considered, or even brought to mind, when PIRA/Sinn Fein murals are unveiled in Derry, PIRA and INLA marches take place or commemorations are held.

Patsy Gillespie with his wife. Mr Gillespie was murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein for cooking meals at an Army barracks in Derry.


Make no mistake, we at ISOT believe that every community has an inalienable right to remember their dead. We have said so often, but there is a rank hypocrisy here. Surely if republicans believe that references to PIRA, INLA, IPLO and OIRA gangs are acceptable, even in towns and cities badly affected by the violence of those organisations, then surely they must be prepared to accept references to the Paras, even in the city where elements of that regiment killed 14 nationalists?

But, as I already stated, this is not about the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’. This about the republican heirarchy of victimhood and about marking territory.

In order for PSF to further their agenda and reinforce their revisionist narrative, victims of state perpetrated violence must be kept in the spotlight. They must be seen as the ‘premier’ victims of the conflict, for whilst the spotlight is on the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, Ballymurphy etc then it cannot be on the victims of Claudy, ‘Bloody Friday’, La Mon, Darkley, Teebane, Enniskillen etc etc etc.

The aftermath of the Darkley massacre


Sinn Fein must also present itself as the champions and defenders of the nationalist/republican community. If there is offence to be taken, then PSF must be the ones to take it! This is especially important in places like Londonderry where republican splinter groups and dissident factions are increasingly gaining a foothold.

Given Sinn Fein’s recent ‘difficulties’ in the New Lodge area of Belfast, Saturday’s events must have been a godsend. Indeed, there must have been some PSF members positively rubbing their hands with glee (that is not to insinuate that there wasn’t some Sinn Fein members who were genuinely outraged), there can be no doubt whatsoever that Clyde Valley FB have inadvertently handed so-called “mainstream” republicanism a much needed propaganda boost.

Gerry Kelly, for one, must have been delighted that something had quickly come along to distract people’s attention away from his ignominious (and hasty) withdrawal from the New Lodge only days earlier.

Why the long face Gerry?


“This is OUR city”

There is another aspect to this gross overreaction too. There are many republicans, especially vocal on social media, who wish to use this incident as a stick with which to beat the ABOD and, somehow by extension, the Orange Order (such is the ignorance of republicans about the Loyal Orders and their relationship to each other).

an orange free zone”


The reasoning seems to be that because Derry is a majority nationalist city, then all others must ‘toe the line‘ as it were, or the majority will withdraw their consent for any cultural expression other than their own. This too is deeply hypocritical. In Derry, Rasharkin and the Garvaghy Road it would seem that the majority rules ok but in Northern Ireland as a whole, majority rule is deemed “oppressive” and “undemocratic” and we must have mandatory power sharing, or else!

There is a lesson here for those who believe that a so-called ‘united Ireland’ is in any way viable, for it would appear that nationalists and republicans only believe in the sharing of power when they cannot obtain an absolute majority, or perhaps that is just cynicism. The available evidence, however, would suggest the former not the latter.

If ever Sinn Fein win an overall majority of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, they will no doubt campaign for an end to power sharing and a return to majority rule, all in the name of “civil rights” and “equality”, naturally!


Keep the fire stoked!

Provisional Sinn Fein will keep this incident in the headlines for as long as possible. There are others too, on the Unionist/Loyalist side who will seek to exploit this unfortunate situation for their own ends. The inappropriate behaviour of the PSNI has, rightly, been highlighted and there needs to be an investigation into that behaviour, however, it would probably be best all round if the entire business could be forgotten.

Rent-a-mob, aka PSNI DMSU


The two communities in Northern Ireland are more deeply and bitterly divided than ever. In the interests of peace and reconciliation it would be best if incidents like the one on Saturday could be quickly dealt with, so as not to cause even further division.


Sinn Fein lead the chorus

Unfortunately, with Sinn Fein leading the chorus of those who equate the wearing of a small Parachute Regiment emblem with international war crimes, that will never happen. It will not be allowed to happen. PSF cannot miss an opportunity to reinforce their vile narrative and, with dissident republicans fast gaining control of former PIRA/SF heartlands, they cannot afford to miss an opportunity to present themselves as the defenders of the nationalist community.

If that means taking a hypocritical and, frankly, absurd stance on any given issue, that will be no problem for the Shinners, after all, they do not seem to be bothered that Clyde Valley Flute Band take their name from the principal ship involved in ‘Operation Lion’, the 1914 UVF gun running which saw tens of thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition landed in Ulster by Carson’s Volunteers, some of which was used by the UVF in 1920 in very heavy street fighting in the cityside of Londonderry, which left dozens dead.

In 1920 the UVF took over Londonderry City centre and the Foyle bridge. Dozens died in subsequent fighting in the city.


But they are offended by a tiny crest of the Parachute Regiment being worn on the uniform of the band, who also go by the name “the gun runners”. Bizarre. Are Sinn Fein telling us, at least subtly, that they only care about dead nationalists who were killed within living memory? Or, perhaps, those families of dead nationalists who are still around to vote would be more accurate?

Or, perhaps I’m being cynical again, they really couldn’t give a tinker’s curse about the victims of ‘Bloody Sunday’, or their families and are instead using this situation to-

A) shore up support in certain areas, especially Derry,

B) Exploit the situation to reinforce their narrative and heirarchy of victims,

C) Use the incident to further reaffirm that Londonderry is their city and everyone else must follow their rules, or-

D) All of the above.

Sometimes in Northern Ireland it’s hard not to be cynical!

The republican anti-internment bonfire in the New Lodge area was a huge embarrassment for Provisional Sinn Fein


On and on….

No doubt we will be hearing more about the ‘Seige of Clyde Valley‘ in the coming weeks and (probably) months. Preferred victim status must be upheld, narratives must be shored up and territory must be marked out. It’s not as if Sinn Fein (or the DUP) have anything else to do!

Meanwhile, ‘non celebrity’ victims across Northern Ireland and beyond, will just have to carry on as before- forgotten, marginalised and denied any semblance of justice. Indeed, in some cases, they have not yet even had their loved one’s remains returned to them for burial.

Best not to mention that though, not while the Shinners are having yet another little temper tantrum!


Respect, Integrity and Equality

How many times have you heard the Irish republican mantra of “Respect, Integrity and Equality”? I’ve oft wondered just what they meant when they said those words.

Sometimes I honestly think republicans don’t know what those words actually mean.

Respect? Integrity? Equality?

Every single day on social media one can encounter these lovely, tolerant people. The very epitomes of respect, unity and egalitarianism.

Ah yes, John O’Neill, the well known historian, author and university lecturer

A threatening tweet? Surely not!

Indeed. Keep this in mind for a second

Punctuation mustn’t be a strong point of renowned authors/lecturers like John

Anti-British racism as well, tut tut!

Maybe it’s me that is mistaken about the definition of words like ‘respect’ and ‘equality‘? Maybe, being a Loyalist, I really am stupid?

No lazy sectarian stereotypes here! Nope. None. Zero. Honest.

But perhaps I’m being too quick to judge, maybe these people are simply the lunatic fringe? Surely the self appointed ‘parody wing’ of the republican movement wouldn’t stoop so low?

OK, never mind, let’s move on….

Elaine is a special kind of bigot, here she is targeting a grandmother who shared a picture of her grandson (note, we have deliberately obscured the picture)

More from the charming Elaine? OK, if you insist

Elaine doesn’t like Americans. Or “Brits”, strangely though….


Says the troll group that has a very cozy relationship with certain dissident republicans, but hey, I suppose they aren’t “terrorists”?!

Racist, sectarian and homophobic. Say it ain’t so!

Sometimes I can’t even read these lovely and tolerant tweets, such is the level of intellectual brilliance.

“ro0bbed the natives”. For shame

Do republicans deny being republicans so they can distance republicanism from their own tweets?

Oops, posted that one again! Btw John Paul, how does your own medicine taste?

Such beautiful people

Is it just me or does Elaine look like she’s dressed as Batman?

OK, so let’s try to get some balance here, let’s go back to John O’Neill, well-known lecturer and author.

Such respect.

I’m beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by all this respect, Integrity and equality.

Apparently John is also an expert in pest control.

What a shame. We should crowd fund some university to re-employ John.


Another one who seems fixated on rats.

I don’t know about you but all this respect and equality is starting to make me feel a bit ill.

The Dark Knight can’t stand crime*

(*unless it’s republican crime)

Somebody seems a little obsessed.

Elaine defending ISIS. Surely she must be on a watch list somewhere? GCHQ, we’re looking at you here!

Now that’s what I call respect!

Yes Paul, I think it is.

Nice of professor O’Neill to openly admit that Protestants were ethnically cleansed from Co. Cork.

True story. Ireland almost became a German state. Honestly.

John is a historian, an author of several books and is the world’s best lecturer. He is also fearsomely handsome.

Well folks, I think that’s enough for one day. After all that equality and respect I think I need to lie down in a dark room for a while.

Never fear though, we’ll be back next week with more evidence of the true nature of Irish republicanism.

Fodor’s Sectarian Folly

A few days ago the so-called ‘renowned travel guide’, ‘Fodor’s’ published a blatantly sectarian and dehumanising guide to political murals in Northern Ireland, lavishly praising Irish republican murals making the ludicrous assertion that such murals “often aspire to the heights of Sistine Chapel-lite, whilst the cretinous author compared Loyalist artwork to “war comics without the humour”.

Not only are such assertions insulting and offensive, they are also completely without basis in fact. The author of the lazy, pernicious and prejudiced piece in question is allegedly a veteran ‘journalist’ and ‘historian’!

Professor Peter Shirlow, head of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, expressed shock at the content-

It represented them as Bible-bashers, against liberalism and it evoked an idea that on the other side there was humour, a capacity for art and also evoked the idea republican violence was something to be glorified and where it represented the unionist community, it is not, if it was the Catholic, nationalist, republican community (being lampooned) I would say the same thing. It is just ultimately wrong and gave an incredibly unfair representation of murals in the city.”

Professor Shirlow added-

The academic issues with how the story of Northern Ireland is presented to visitors need to be addressed.”

Clearly Prof. Shirlow knows what he is talking about. Indeed, it is abundantly clear that the academic is everything that the hack journalist is not; knowledgeable, impartial and not prone to lazy sectarian stereotypes.

“Sistine chapel-lite

Kenny Donaldson of ‘Innocent Victims United’ said the language used on Fodor’s Travel website was-

“…..sectarian in nature” and sought to “castigate a section of the population based upon their ethnic and religious background,”

A Loyalist mural in Derry (in memory of Cecil McKnight of the Ulster Democratic Party)


Unfortunately this incident is symptomatic of a much wider problem, i.e. the constant and absolutely relentless denigration and dehumanisation of the Unionist and Loyalist community, particularly the working class element of that community.

Historically illiterate Irish republicans feel enpowered to repeat the most ridiculous ahistorical nonsense because their so-called political ‘leadership’ regularly spout such nonsensical fairytales and are rarely challenged for it.

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, Rome.

Irish republicanism in general, and the Provisional republican movement in particular, has carefully constructed an utterly, utterly toxic narrative in which Loyalists and Unionists are depicted as being less than human. This Nazi-esque propaganda is constant, unsophisticated, crude and laced with sectarian euphemisms. The anti-British racism is as overt as it is nasty. The infantile stereotyping as unintelligent as it is unsubtle.

Irish republicans have been constantly, unrelentingly, told that they are ‘oppressed‘ and discriminated against. The message that they are perpetual victims is reinforced over and over and over again.

That narrative though is hugely undermined by the contrary and simultaneous narrative that the so-called ‘Irish gael’ is resilient, smart, capable and in every possible way superior to the ‘Protestant planters’.

Another view of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Handily though, republicanism has a kind of ‘get out clause’ in order to lessen the cognitive dissonance among it’s adherents; the carefully spun message that yes, indeed, nationalists and republicans were (and are) the poor oppressed but it wasn’t (or isn’t) the ‘planter’ doing it, it was the ‘evil Brits’. The British Empire, the British State, the British Army. According to the propaganda of Irish nationalism it was/is the ‘big bad Brits’ that kept them down, discriminated against them and victimised them.

Loyalists and Unionists are presented as mere hapless proxies of the British State. A confused and stupid people who have been duped into doing the bidding of ‘imperialist’ England.

“err da stoopid Loyalists can’t even do a mural”

Loyalist armed groups are presented by republican extremists as being nothing more than criminals- armed, organised, trained and directed by the Army, MI5, Special Branch, GCHQ, MI6, etc etc etc. The far-sighted and sophisticated political contribution of militant Loyalism is conveniently forgotten. ALL effective operations against republican terror gangs are dismissed as having been the work of secretive special forces units of the British Army.

Politically, Loyalism and Unionism is dismissed as backward looking, old fashioned, innately negative and ardently right-wing. Irish republicans attach themselves to whatever causes they think will help them appear ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’ and forward looking.

It is totally predictable. It is also something which Loyalists can, and must, seriously combat. Republicans have weaponised their vocabulary, especially online. It is high time more Loyalists did the same.

It takes time to build up a negative stereotype of an entire community but it is not difficult. Repeating the same old tropes ad nauseam may be mind numbingly boring and repetitive but it is hardly neuro surgery.

Definitely no paramilitary imagery on any republican murals. Nope. None. Zero.


It would be exceedingly easy, for instance, for Loyalists to continually link Sinn Fein, as a party, with the deeds of their terrorist wing, the Provisional IRA. Not in the way that some Loyalists do at present, but to do so in a more organised and unrelenting way.

It would also be relatively simple to push the narrative that Irish republicanism is inherently a Far-Left ideology, one which is economically unrealistic and forever tainted by the horrors and atrocities, not only of republican ethno-nationalism itself, but also by association, of Marxist and Communist regimes such as the USSR, DDR and the Khmer Rouge. After all, there are many examples of republican murals which are overtly Marxist and, of course, republican murder gangs have well documented links with extreme Leftist terrorist groups such as the ‘Red Army Faction’, ‘PFLP’, ‘Red Brigades’ etc.

Behold! the sophistication of republican Wall art.

Far better though for ALL stereotypes to be dropped. For our divided society to heal, ALL unhelpful and toxic narratives must be sidelined, without exception. Reconciliation can never be achieved when one community regards another as being lesser than themselves.

The obvious arrogance and sense of superiority within Irish republicanism is a virulent poison, a corrosive and devastating toxin which is destroying community relations, heightening tensions and, if unchallenged, runs the very real risk of sectarianising yet another generation of our young people.

Therefore it must be challenged and challenged effectively. In short, the dehumanising rhetoric of Irish republicanism is a cancer which must be excised.

Unfortunately, it would seem that this particular cancer has spread throughout the body politic of Irish nationalism as a whole and is, as evidenced by this latest ridiculous episode, extremely deep rooted.

Time then for the leadership of nationalism, such as it is, to accept responsibility for the outgrowth of this malignancy and to begin to tackle it. Time for those most active in perpetuating these iniquitous stereotypes (‘Ladfleg’, ‘Themmuns’ et al) to permanently leave the stage, and time, most of all, for Loyalists and Unionists to begin calling out this repugnant, dehumanising narrative every single time we encounter it.

To do otherwise is to condemn our community, and society as a whole, to even further division, conflict and unnecessary pain. Something for which future generations will, quite rightly, condemn us.

Ordinary Voices: Interview 5

Respondent is Enda, who describes himself as-

27, recently married, council employee, Liverpool FC fanatic and hater of DIY. South Tyrone man living in Belfast”


As with all the interviews in the Ordinary Voices project, this interview was conducted via email.



Q1. How would you describe yourself politically?

I’m not actually sure anymore tbh. I’m definitely a Nationalist and a couple of years ago I would have called myself a Republican but now I’m not entirely sure.

I suppose I am still a Republican at heart although I have lost a lot of faith in Sinn Féin in the last couple of years.

To give you the short answer- I’m a Nationalist without a party to support.



Q2. Do you think there is an inherent bias with regard to Legacy Issues?

No, I honestly don’t think there is. The British forces (and I include the RUC/UDR in that) did a lot of heinous things during the “Troubles“. Those who killed innocent people have to be brought to justice.

An awful lot of Republicans and a fair number of Loyalists did face justice and served long prison terms, it is only right that state forces face the same. The IRA and Loyalist groups did not keep records of their actions, the army and police did though and people deserve the truth.



Q3. Do you think that legacy issues are being handled well?

Yes, actually I think the UK government is doing ok in that regard. Something like a Truth Commission will never work in the North. Some people would be truthful, some wouldn’t and then you have those who simply wouldn’t be reliable in their testimony.

A relative of my wife’s is a former Republican prisoner. The man is 60 years old and in poor health because of years of heavy drinking. Tbh I don’t think he’d be able to remember accurately things he was involved in 30 or 40 years ago and I’m sure there are many others like him.



Q4. Do you think that Legacy Issues are damaging the Peace Process?

No. I think the peace process is more or less fireproof now. There’s no going back to the “Troubles” now. Too much time has passed, too many people have moved on. There is a huge centre ground now and many of those people don’t really care about the issues of the past.

Of course there is still a lot of hurt on both sides, on the Nationalist side especially I think, but I can’t ever see things going back to the way they were years ago. There’s just no appetite for it from anybody.



Q5. Do you think that the Loyalist community has been unfairly stereotyped in a negative way?

No. I don’t think that at all. Loyalists bring any negative publicity on themselves. They are their own worst enemy a lot of the time. Take bonfires for example. Why the constant need to insult and intimidate others with these massive bonfires? Why put Holy Statues and flags and other things onto these fires?

Loyalist “culture” is a joke tbh. Nothing but constant marching and burning things. It actually angers me. Loyalists could celebrate Irish culture in their own way but they refuse to even admit that they are Irish, so instead they go out of their way to antagonise others. The DUP pander to Loyalists which is why so many people hate them as a party. The DUP will never get votes from the centre ground because they won’t walk away from the bonfire builders and the “kick the Pope” bands.



Q6. Do you believe that reconciliation is possible between the two communities?

No. We will continue to live parallel lives I think. The centre ground will keep growing, Nationalism will pretty much remain as is and Unionism will continue to be pushed to the margins. We will probably end up in a situation where the people in the centre interact with Nationalists and vice versa but Unionists and Loyalists will be left on the sidelines.

I don’t think that Loyalists are capable of reconciliation, or want it. There are some people on the other side who are the same, they just can’t move on. So I suppose the north will just stagger on as it is.



Q7. Do you believe that a ‘united Ireland’ is imminent?

No, unfortunately. I stopped supporting Sinn Féin partly because they have absolutely no clue how they can achieve reunification. Sadly there are lots of Nationalists who are too comfortable and complacent. They will keep on as they are.

Everyone says that Brexit will lead to reunification but I don’t see it. It’s not going to make any difference to hard-line Unionists, they will still be against a UI even if they are broke and the country is ruined and despite what a lot of Republicans will tell you, a United Ireland is impossible without winning over a lot of Unionists.

It’s too late imo, the North is becoming more multicultural and progressive. Where I live now is very diverse. There is a large Muslim community here now. Will people who have come to live here in the last few years vote to leave the UK? Probably not.

Then there’s the centre ground, the people who vote for the Green Party and Alliance and even some SDLP or PBP voters, they might be Nationalists, even just culturally, but people like that will vote with their heads not with their hearts. If there was a border poll tomorrow people like that will vote to keep the NHS and their Civil Service jobs.



Q8. What are your hopes and aspirations for Northern Ireland in the medium to long term?

Aside from a United Ireland, I’d like to see the North becoming a more modern and progressive place. I want an ILA and the laws on abortion and Equal Marriage changed and brought into line with the rest of the world.

I’d like to see the DUP disappear from the political landscape and I’d like to see Sinn Féin come up with some coherent policies, especially with regards to the economy. Most of all I want there to be peace- complete peace and normality. No more murders like that of Lyra McKee. No more pipe bomb attacks. No more punishment beatings or kneecappings or security alerts or riots. Just peace for everyone.




Our thanks to Enda for participating in the Ordinary Voices project.

Is Reconciliation Impossible?

Anybody who has been keeping up with the news in Northern Ireland over the last few weeks would probably be inclined to say yes. With the Sinn Fein leader walking behind a xenophobic and anti-British banner in New York, people in a bar singing about their hatred of Roman Catholics, people in another bar chanting “up the Ra”, sectarian attacks against the Protestant community in Claudy, Co. Londonderry, and the disgraceful vandalism of a Protestant Church in Newry, Co. Down.

Reconciliation looks like it is far away as it ever was, especially if one looks at the attitude of certain people on social media; Irish republicans especially. For whilst Sinn Fein, the SDLP and other nationalist/republican groups like to present themselves as rational, reasonable, non-sectarian and intelligent, there are many Irish nationalists and republicans who do not attempt to hide their hatred and contempt for Loyalism, Unionism, the United Kingdom and anything that they perceive as being ‘other’.

The purpose of this blog post is to shine a spotlight onto the attitudes and opinions of some of those people. People who will never accept anything which is not Irish, Catholic and ‘gaelic’. People who use social media in the same way a pitbull uses it’s teeth and jaws. People who revel in the sectarian slaughter visited on the people of Ulster by republican murder gangs.

Unfortunately, we have hundreds of examples of the bitterness and hatred of such people. We ask you to read their vile comments and their idiotic rants and to ask yourself- is reconciliation really possible?

Of course there are bigots on both sides of the divide. Of course the people featured in this article do not represent all Irish republicans. However, they do represent a large section of that constituency. In all honesty, we rarely see naked sectarianism from Loyalists and Unionists online. We rarely encounter the kind of 19th century style racism that is so often demonstrated by Irish supremacists.

Perhaps we do not see it because we are not looking for it, or perhaps we do not see it because it is much less prevalent than the kind of hatred and vitriol one encounters from republicans on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

Please take the time to look at all of these images; imagine the sort of venom and bitterness that a person must feel within themselves to actually articulate this type of intolerance, xenophobia and hate. Then ask yourself if there is any hope for real, sincere, reconciliation and the resolution of legacy issues in Northern Ireland.

Can unreconstructed Irish republican bigots like these ever become valuable (and valued) members of a secular, democratic and pluralist society?

There is no place in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland for their toxic, narrow nationalism. There is no place in the 21st century for this sort of bigotry, sectarianism, racism and dehumanisation. If such people cannot, or will not, let go of their own toxic prejudice, then they must be left behind to wallow in their hatred in their own little vile, miserable echo-chamber.

It is interesting to note the exceedingly low level of education many of these people seem to have attained.

Interesting to see Irish supremacists use a term such as “mudderland” (sic), a term which neo-Nazis/white supremacists use to refer to the continent of Africa.

Another example of this kind of racist language being used by republicans is the use of the term “slurry skinned” which Ladfleg (South Belfast SF) use continually to refer to Belfast City councillor Ruth Patterson.

Another Irish republican/neo-Nazi ‘crossover’. A modified meme, depicting Celtic FC manager with a rifle and wearing military style uniform, which was originally a neo-Nazi/antisemitic meme widely used by the so-called ‘altright’.

Homophobic insults and breathtaking ignorance all in one tweet. Scarcely believable that such crass stupidity still exists in the 21st century.

Unfortunately this kind of abuse is all too common. Victims of Irish republican terrorism seem to attract more of this sort of poisonous bigotry than others. Perhaps republicans feel threatened by those who speak out on behalf of their murdered family members?

Usually republicans attempt to mask their ethno-religious bigotry by using derogatory terms like “immigrant”, “hun” or “planter” but sometimes their rage and bitterness gets the better of them and they revert to the type of language online that they generally only use at home, in pubs etc

This is the kind of dehumanising rhetoric used by Irish supremacist bigots. They dismiss the Protestant community as “stupid”, “uneducated” and even use the term “underprivileged” as an insult, ignoring the fact that they are unwittingly admitting that the ‘PUL’ community suffers social exclusion, deprivation and discrimination.

For some reason many republicans on social media deny being republicans. Despite the fact that their political opinion is obvious (Easter lily avatar etc)

(For the record, we have never murdered or raped anyone)

The irony of someone with a Liver bird, emblem of the city of Liverpool and of Liverpool FC, tweeting this kind of anti-British racism is apparently lost on Irish republicans.

More homophobic ranting, this time from a republican ‘parody’ account. There are at least a dozen of such accounts. None of which engage in any kind of satire or even any attempt at humour, instead using obscenity and school yard insults to attack Loyalist and Unionist elected representatives, victims of terrorism etc. The most notorious of these ‘parody’ accounts being Ladfleg, which is now (more or less) completely controlled by Sinn Fein.

Often, tweets by Irish republican extremists are almost unintelligible.

The use of the word “evil” and the comparing of Unionism to a “disease” or even to “cancer” is particularly curious. This would suggest a quasi religious aspect to the bigotry of such people.

The twitter user above is a favourite of Ladfleg and seems to comment on almost all of their tweets. It has been suggested that the account actually belongs to one of the people behind the Ladfleg account, who uses the @Cobblerz37 account to vent his spleen and say what he really thinks about Protestants.

More homophobic remarks and glorification of the “RA” (presumably the Provisional IRA?)

Outright genocidal rhetoric from someone who wished to see the Loyalist/Unionist community “exterminated”. Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot would be proud!

This is a new low, even for @corkyhere, a well known republican oaf who uses someone else’s picture for his avatar.

Shinnerbots are usually blatantly obvious. No avatar, an obviously fake/bot generated username, fewer than a dozen followers etc etc

The disgusting fascism of Irish republicans. The last Queen of Éire here telling another twitter user what their future will be and engaging in inflammatory racist language that would make Andrew Anglin blush!

@Irish_Ulster is a compulsive liar who, it has been suggested to us by a reliable source, has serious mental health issues. She is neither Irish nor male but is in fact a woman from the North-Eastern United States.

More dehumanising rhetoric from the usual suspects.

More homophobic insults, this time suggesting that Jamie Bryson has HIV/AIDS.

Ladfleg like to propagate the old PIRA/Sinn Fein myth that the UDR was merely a Loyalist paramilitary group in uniform. Ignoring the sacrifice of many Catholic UDR men murdered by Irish republican terrorists.

A rare admission that many Irish republicans support republican gangs involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Comparing Loyalists and Unionists to rats is another staple of Irish supremacists.


Note that Ladfleg have never censured @cobblerz37, taken him to task for his overtly sectarian (and frankly deranged) replies to their tweets or even suggested he show some constraint.

I have no idea what the above even means.

The irony of that tweet (sent from Walthamstow, London)

Elaine believes the recent sectarian graffiti that was daubed across Claudy was done by fairies.

So, is reconciliation possible? From where I sit I’m sorry to say I don’t know anymore!

Ordinary Voices; Interview 4

Respondent is Lez – who describes herself as “Grammar school educated. Happily retired RUC/PSNI. Happily divorced mother of two grown up kids. Passionate about family, animals, gin,integrated education, truth and travel. Hate sectarianism, lies and lack of integrity


As with all the interviews in the Ordinary Voices project, this interview was conducted via email.



Q1. How would you describe yourself politically?


Apolitical. I have been very fortunate in my life to see many sides of the arguments. I have seen the way catholic communities were treated by certain members of UDR ( I experienced this first hand) I came from Protestant background so see how unionists view life here but mostly I’ve seen just the senseless manner in which peoples lives were taken, how easily others killed and maimed and how BOTH communities vilified police.


Q2. Do you think that legacy issues are damaging the peace process?


Yes. It would seem that for many high profile cases it is a case of getting the truth from security forces/state, but where is the truth coming from Republicans? When Gerry Adams can’t even admit being a member of the IRA how can anyone expect the ‘truth’ when everything seems to be so one sided?


Q3. Do you think that legacy issues are being handled well?


I have mixed feelings on legacy issues. For some victims, it can never bring them justice because the very people who they rely on to give them closure and answers will never actually come out and tell the truth. By these people I mean IRA and the state. Do I think we should just draw a line in the sand and put the legacy issues down to unprecedented times and accept things have changed? Personally I could but I am acutely aware that many many victims cannot do that.


Q4. What do you think could be done to help improve community relations and foster reconciliation?


Integration of schools is the single most important and successful way of improving community relations. When people start to OPEN their ears and listen rather than being so entrenched that they lose the ability to listen then we may have a chance.

Q5. Do you believe there is a bias in regards to legacy issues?


Unfortunately yes. As outlined in previous answers, it would seem that security forces would be easy targets for legacy investigations since there were some sort of records kept, it’s much harder for victims of terrorism to get to the truth.


Q6. Do you believe that Loyalists, especially within the UPRG and PUP, have done enough to reach out to nationalists and republicans?


I think that David Ervine was the greatest loss to the loyalist community. Forward thinking, articulate and repentant of his wrongdoing. It’s the DUP who have done nothing whatsoever to reach out not just to nationalists but also to Protestant community.


Q7. Do you think that republicans could do more to reach out to the Loyalist/Unionist community?


I think admission of guilt, admission of the wrongs done to so very many people. A start would be for Gerry Adams to admit his role as a Republican in a proscribed organisation.


Q8. What are your hopes and aspirations for NI in the medium to long term?


More integration of education system, more business investment, more emphasis and funding for reconciliation projects. For our politicians to get back to actually earning their wage and for parties to work more closely on co-operation where possible instead of bickering, sniping and denigrating each other. Find the common goals and work harder to achieve those together rather than constantly in opposition.



Our thanks to Lez for her participation in the Ordinary Voices project.

Ordinary Voices: Interview 3

Interview 3 of our Ordinary Voices project.

Respondent is Brian (61), a retired teacher from the South L’derry area. Brian describes himself as “happily married and even more happily retired”. Brian is a former member of the Irish Independence Party and a is father of 4 and grandfather of 7.


As with all the other interviews for the Ordinary Voices project, this interview was carried out via email.




Q1. How would you describe yourself politically?


I would definitely say I’m a nationalist. I didn’t vote until I was in my twentys, I was much more of a firebrand in those days and I didn’t have much time for the likes of the SDLP. But when the IIP emerged they appealed to me much more as a party and eventually I became a member.

When the IIP started to fall apart I became a bit apathetic again. I sorted of drifted towards the SDLP a few years later and have supported them ever since, with the exception of one assembly election when I voted Sinn Féin.


Q2. Do you think that legacy issues are damaging to the peace process?


Yeah I think they are. We need to find a way of dealing with the past. That’s vital. So many people suffered and lost loved ones, there is so much hurt and anger out there, we have to face up to it and deal with. How we do that I don’t know. That will need to be worked out by smarter men than me.


Q3. Do you believe that there is a bias when it comes to legacy issues?


Yes and no. It certainly looks as if there is and I know many people in the Unionist community feel like that but you need to remember that we must hold the state (and the army/RUC) up to a higher standard than the likes of the IRA, UVF or INLA.

The army, police and UDR kept records, the paramilitaries didn’t. That makes it really difficult to get to the real truth of murders carried out by them. I think though that something should be done to make the entire process less about what the state and security forces did and more about wrongdoing on ALL sides. I think that’s important.


Q4. Do you think that Loyalism, in particular the UPRG and PUP, have done enough to reach out to the nationalist/republican community?


To their credit they have at least done something in that regard but all the fine words in the world count for nothing when you then have the UVF and UDA involved in killings and pipe bomb attacks and who knows what else.

I honestly think the best thing that the likes of the PUP could do would be to encourage the UVF and UDA to dissolve their organisations completely.


Q5. Do you think that nationalists and republicans have done enough to reach out to the Unionist/Loyalist community?


Honestly no. The SDLP works well with the likes of the UUP but they can do more. The SDLP and the [Ulster] Unionists should be going into ordinary communities, the SDLP into unionist areas and vice versa, I think that would be a very good start.

As for Sinn Féin, I’m afraid I see no outreach at all. If they were truly genuine about a reunited Ireland they would be putting all their efforts into convincing unionists that they have nothing to fear in a new Ireland but they seem incapable of doing that. Some of things Sinn Féin put their time and effort into leave people like me scratching our heads to be honest.


Q6. Would you like to see a ‘border poll’ in the near future?


As a nationalist I have to say yes but everyone involved, including unionists, need to set out their plan for what they will do in the event of a yes vote. Let all parties be upfront about what they think a united Ireland should look like and what concessions would have to be made.

Unionists could get a lot of concessions to get them to buy into a new Ireland. They could really have nationalists over a barrel if they wanted to and were ready to look at it realistically instead of just totally rejecting the idea.


Q7. Do you believe that collusion was as widespread as republicans allege?


No I do not. We had a very dirty “war” here and all sides were up to their knees in it. There are no innocent parties when it comes to this sort of thing. All sides did evil things and worked with other groups when it suited them. Of course collusion happened but it’s made out to be something it wasn’t.


Q8. What are your hopes and aspirations for Northern Ireland in the medium to long term?


I want to see the assembly up and running again, although I don’t know if Sinn Féin and the DUP can ever make it work long-term. Maybe it’s time to give other parties a chance to form a government.

I also want to see some sort of legal recognition for the Irish language. They have legal protection for Gaelic in Scotland and for the Welsh language in Wales, why not for Irish in the North of Ireland?

Most of all I just want to see this place continue to be peaceful and relatively normal. I never want my grandchildren to have to put up with the sort of stuff I had to (or my kids had to) during The Troubles. Time for everyone in Northern Ireland to get on with normal everyday life, as much as we can.



Thanks to Brian for this interview and for contributing to the Ordinary Voices project.