<img src=" Due to ‘staff’ (!) shortages here at ‘1169…’ – because of some football matches or other , this Blog will only be updated every second day , for the next few weeks . In short , I have been abandoned by all but this machine ! Sharon . (PS : the exams are over , but now ‘Junior’ is distracted by the football . What next – girls knocking on the door … ? )
No-one is more aware than David Trimble himself of how little personal loyality he commands among his parliamentary party , how unreconciled senior colleagues still are to his elevation by the despised rank and file of the 600-strong UUP Council .
In an informal setting , Trimble was once asked why did’nt he tell Orangemen that they must realise the damage done by their yearly equation of unionism with the ‘right’ to march past angry Catholics ; ” And if I did , ” said Trimble , ” would you find me another party to lead ? “
One veteran talks observer sounds an optimistic though disillusioned note – ” He does everything arse about face . It takes forever , he creates obstacles so he can claim concessions , and who knows what that does to his community . But bit by bit with a lot of pressure he’s moved in the right direction . And he’s still in there . “
[END of ‘THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT : INSIDE THE NORTHERN IRELAND (sic) PEACE TALKS (sic).]
(Next – ‘PADDY COONEY’S ARMY’ : from 1984.)
On December 12th , 1982 , at the Mullaghcreevie Estate in Armagh City , two INLA Volunteers , Roddy Carroll and Seamus Grew , were gunned down in an RUC ambush that bore all the hallmarks of earlier shoot-to-kill operations and , again , the RUC claimed that the car in which Carroll and Grew were in had burst through a road checkpoint before they opened fire . All the evidence would later confirm that there were no checkpoints at any of the incidents , only RUC men lying in wait . The INLA Volunteers were not armed .
In Roddy Carroll’s case , he had only recently been released – to the RUC’s considerable annoyance – after an informer retracted ‘evidence’ he had initially agreed to give against him .
Since those six Armagh slayings in the space of one month , there has been further incontrovertible proof of a shoot-to-kill policy operating right across the Six Counties , aimed specifically at known republican activists but affecting also other members of the nationalist community found in what the RUC or British Army regard as suitably compromising situations : two men engaged in petty theft have been shot dead in Belfast – Patrick Elliott on December 27th , 1982 , by soldiers of the British Army ‘Black Watch’ regiment as he ran unarmed from an Andersonstown chip shop he had just robbed .
Francis McColgan , January 19th , 1983 , was shot dead after a car chase by the RUC , following a petrol station robbery by McColgan and two friends using an imitation pistol…….
Not the least surprise of the recent Theatre Festival was the emergence into public view of the author of ‘Souper Sullivan’, one Eoghan Harris , who is better known as a TV producer and less known as a political activist . Harris is so given to secrecy that few people outside the media know of his deep influence within the Workers Party – in fact , more than anyone else , Eoghan Harris has been responsible for the transformation of the Workers Party philosophy from socialist republicanism to a bizarre blend of stalinist unionism .
But strangely , now that the Workers Party is breaking through into electoral politics , it is also shaking itself free from its hard-line mentors . There are new stars rising in the WP , more pliable , more compromising , and more intent on getting their bums onto seats in Leinster House . All of which leaves the moody Eoghan Harris somewhat isolated , somewhat bitter , and with time on his hands to write boring plays .
The son of a well-to-do Cork shop-keeper , Harris was originally an ardent republican ; those who remember him in University College Cork say his early republican persona was almost stage Irish…….