In 1989 loyalist terrorist Michael Stone was sentenced to 684 years in jail. A mere 11 years later he was freed under the Good Friday Agreement along with hundreds of other dangerous terrorist from both sides of the sectarian divide. People are expressing surprise at yesterday's successfully foiled attack on Stormont. The only surprise is that it hasn't happened before now.
Nice set of modern ironies here though...
Loyalist (former?) terror groups and their (former?) political sponsors of course have to disarm, and we want photographs and witnesses to prove that they have. Otherwise the Shinners cannot possibly name a deputy first minister, can they?
Loyalist communities must do more to identify, report and control extremists and potential terrorists within their ranks.
An own goal overall I'd say. For now people like Paisley have got to acknowlegde that for all their bluster and the conditions they set down on their participation in a power sharing government with Sinn Fein, there are indeed sinners (not Shinners) on both sides and that local power sharing has got to be better than direct rule.
The 'apprehension' clip I saw on TV looked completely (& badly)staged.
But without the release of the assorted ne'er-do-wells on both sides it is unlikely the political process would have come far enough for the prospective ministers to meet yesterday in Stormont at all.
It's unsavoury to us, but it did kick-start the process - and the release of some equally unpleasant Palestinians might be the only way to see similar progress in the Middle East.
Difficult decision for governments to take - who'd be a politician, eh?
Michael Stone is clearly mad as a box of frogs, and dangerous with it, but Good Friday is as Good Friday does and it is all water under the ..etc.
Hopefully he will go away for good now.
What I want to know, really want to know, is why the IRA never had a pop at Ian Paisley?
I opposed the Good Friday Agreement. I presume you did not Iain. Thus your criticism of this action rings hollow. Makes me wonder why you praise Trimble, when it was him who allowed the released these fiends, against the wishes of the Unionist people.
Shame on you.
Because they wouldn't dare.
Poor old Chris Patten retired the experienced RUC men and inside Stormont it is no doubt the same kind of amateur security force as in The House of Commons.............
Obviously the tagging and satellite tracking did not work.............a block of concrete and a nice trip round the bay would be more appropriate to men like Michael Stone
"What I want to know, really want to know, is why the IRA never had a pop at Ian Paisley?"
For the same reason they never set off bombs in Glasgow or Liverpool. Because they did not want to set off a spasm of ethnic murder, of which Stone is a one man example. The IRA were always smarter than Hamas. Stone is the example that tests the rule - he was never a member of any group & the fact that he alone has acted & so unsuccesfully, is actually good news.
As somebody who thought at the time the agreement was a sell-out to terrorism I have largely changed my mind, though, like Chou En Lai when asked if the French revolution was a success - its a bit early to tell.
I nearly bust a gut when jerry adams said
"this was serious attempt to injure and kill"
The hypocritical bearded "C" word that Iain doesn't allow.
The pistol was a fake and the "bombs" dud, but hats off to that pair of unarmed security personnel who grabbed the loony , especially the female security officer who clouted him over the head.
I agree that "Michael Stone is clearly mad as a box of frogs, and dangerous with it" but also that if the benefit of releasing these people is peace for the people living in the north of Ireland it is one worth paying. You will always, of course, get reactionaries (and the way you highlight the Stone case certainly gives the impression you are in that camp) who are prepared to fight a war to the last drop of someone else's blood for their principles.
"why the IRA never had a pop at Ian Paisley?" As long as the BBC, and other curs, are prepared to imply a moral equivalence between a big-mouth like Paisley, and murdering terrorists like A and McG, why kill him off?
What I want to know, really want to know, is why the IRA never had a pop at Ian Paisley
Long-standing agreement between the paramilitaries on both sides, apparently, that certain people are off-limits because their murder would tip the place into a fight far larger than either side wanted. Consequently, anyone taking a pop at Paisley would have had PIRA to worry about, let alone anyone else. Similarly, various high-ranking Sinn Fein people (on both sides of the border) knew they didn't have to worry about Unionist paramilitaries.
Or so I'm told by people who know the scene there pretty well.
Peter Hitchens, you can refer to Gerry Adams as a c*** as many times as you like, for all I care. I happily make an exception for him.
Johnny Adair has some brilliant quotes in today's Irish News. Claims that Stoner has been walking into police stations admitting to all sorts for years trying to get put back inside.
Some of the comments on this thread are ill ionformed. The RUC didn't do the security at Stormont for years. The fire that destroyed the HoC chamber burned for 24 or 48 hours in 1995 as there was no one there.
The security staff do a good job, and they managed to apprehend him. That said, he managed to write "Sinn Fein IRA mur" in red paint on the front of the building before walking through the front door to the Great Hall!
Stone campaigned for a yes vote in 1998. On Friday he was shouting "no surrender, no sell out Paisley". He wanted back inside. Be interesting to see if they bother taking him to court on the current charges, his licence will be revoked on Monday and he'll be back inside for the remaining 700 years he got for Milltown. 50% remission wouldn't make much difference to that one!
not suassure, if there was that agreement no one told Paisley or the RUC.
I can remember spending hours in the freezing cold covering an hours visit by Paisley to a church close to the border in South Armagh.
As for Stone, I read his biography, he is a disturbed man who probably needs treatment more than anything else.
The premature release of Michael Stone and the other terrorists, Catholic and Protestant, is a lasting disgrace. Some of the worst served only a few months, because they were sentenced very shortly before the Good Friday agreement.
We used to do things differently. In 1938 (from memory) the two IRA men who bombed Coventry were prosecuted and hanged. Result: the IRA went very quiet for nearly 30 years.
"We used to do things differently. In 1938 (from memory) the two IRA men who bombed Coventry were prosecuted and hanged. Result: the IRA went very quiet for nearly 30 years."
Conclusion: You don't read much Irish history.
Michael Stone does what Bob Piper would never do.
He fights for his Country and will die for it when ordered.
Sorry: I should have identified myself and given more details: The Coventry bomb exploded on 25th August 1939 (not 1938). It was in the carrier basket of a bicycle. It killed five people. IRA members James Richards and Peter Barnes were tried for murder, convicted and hanged on 7th February 1940. This, followed by wartime internment measures, effectively put an end to the IRA's pre-war bombing campaign. Throughout the 40s, 50s and early 60s, little was heard of the IRA although occasionally, for old times sake, they would blow up a pillar box.
The BBC was trumpeting Stone as reformed a celebrity a few years ago on that show were terrorists from both sides had to confront their victim's families.
The Morningstar -- Well, it's not, when you come to think of it, the sort of guarantee upon which you'd want to rely absolutely; if something went wrong, the Chief Constable of the RUC would have looked a bit of a twit trying to explain, 'But PIRA promised us...'.
All I can say is that reporter friends of mine -- both British and Irish -- who've covered NI tell me they've raised exactly that question with their various paramilitary contacts and been told there are some people who're off-limits.
Thank you people for trying to answer my question aobut Paisley.
Clearly there was some sort of understanding, with a three line whip, that certain people, on both sides, were not to be touched.
One day those responsible will be able to tell us.
I find these releases distasteful, but if the price is lasting peace I think we must ask those who lost loved ones on both sides to try and accept it as a necessary evil.
I don't think Stone is important and as another commentator said, he is probably in need of treatment. And it seems he is going to get it for some time to come.
I think Iain and Hitchens are being a bit harsh on Gerry Adams. This is a man who has ostensibly made the long journey from terrorist to politician. What he once was and is now appear to be two different things and he is seen to be appealing to his constituency to follow the route of democracy.
Res Ipsa Loquitur on that one or- by their fruits ye shall know them.
The Republican cause has legitimacy and to deny that is to fail to understand the first principles of the causes of the conflict and its effect on young Catholic men and women in Northern Ireland during the last century.
Violence is violence and I am against it, but we can no more go on casting the Republicans in the role of villains anymore than we should boycott German Automobiles because of Nazis.
Why aren't Paisley or Adams assasinated? Watch the current series of The Sopranos. Much provocation and calls for retribution, but lower members of the opposition are targeted to avoid an all out and protracted war.
Re Michael Stone: he had balls to single-handedly attack an IRA funeral. His hero status would have been secure if he had shot himself at the funeral.
Since his release from prison, he has become an attention-seeking celebrity junkie. This was demonstrated with his apprehension by unarmed security guards. He looked for all the world like Sergeant Bilko muttering, "Hold me back, hold me back."
Unfair, I am sure Bob Piper would have fought for his country, but what is he supposed to do now that the Soviet Union is no long around?
Shouldn't Stone now be offered a job in the Northern Ireland executive, or has he not murdered a sufficient number of people yet.
Didn't the late Mo Mowlam describe Michael Stone as an "unsung hero of the peace process".
Respect to 'permanent expat' (scroll up) who is so on the money here. Only the media illiterate and the bigots (often the same folk), would swallow the whole David-Blaine-banana that a 'Soldier' that was 'programmed' (his words, not mine) to forward sectarian violence, would 'tip-up' - 'tooled-up' at Storment only to be apprehended by a one armed avuncular Chinese burn and impending lower arm collaboration by a woman!! (No offense to the smattering of women who have kicked my ass in my life)
To quote myself, (no need to link back); "In this instance, The message is the message".
Easily the cheesiest processed slice of media drive-thru take-away mirkin management since that mucky controlled demolition business a few years back.
Michael Stone is a wild card but stupid? Naa.. I'd rather be in the trenches with him than the saps who didn't watch the seminal, truth and reconciliation gig but are intimate with boxed frogs.
I like this Blog. Thanks Ian.
cefrith at hotmail.com
wrinkled weasel - reference your question about dr ian paisley. he was apparently known as the 'best ira recruiting sergeant they ever had'.
apparently after some of his speeches legions of volunteers would appear, wanting to join their merry band of brigands - so he was always far more use to them alive.
It might explain why nobody has had a pop at George and Tone - the ant 'n dec of the political world..
"The premature release of Michael Stone and the other terrorists, Catholic and Protestant, is a lasting disgrace"
Totally and absolutley agree.
"I find these releases distasteful, but if the price is lasting peace I think we must ask those who lost loved ones on both sides to try and accept it as a necessary evil."
Justice is one of the fundamental building blocks of real peace, you cannot pay it for peice, it is like selling the TV to pay for the liscence. It is just an evil evil.
"Shouldn't Stone now be offered a job in the Northern Ireland executive, or has he not murdered a sufficient number of people yet.
Didn't the late Mo Mowlam describe Michael Stone as an "unsung hero of the peace process"."
A total affront to the majority of people in NI and in the rest of the UK that have never been involved in terrorism.
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