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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 16, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    Courage and the Northern Troubles

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It is reported that some people who displayed “courage” in denouncing the IRA during the recent Troubles were miffed because they weren’t invited to any of the events surrounding the current British royal visit.

    You wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The real courage in the Troubles was displayed by the likes of John Hume and Albert Reynolds (not to mention Bill Clinton) who braved hostile media and other opinion to make contact with the Provos and show them there was indeed another way.

    It took very little courage to denounce the IRA from the mid-70s onward. The burning of the British Embassy in 1972 was the high water-mark of sympathy for militant republicanism: after that the tide ran out very rapidly for the Provisionals.

    But Hume in particular was hounded and reviled for his (ultimately successful) attempt to get the peace process off the ground. The campaign against him will be forever etched in the memories of anyone who was around at the time.

    • a.commenter says:

      How very coy…!
      Do you mean the Diffident IRA…? ;-7…think I may have commented on this topic before it was posted…spooky!

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      I think you’ll find it took just as much courage, if not more for those, like Cosgrave and FitzGerald to speak the unspeakable; that those of a unionist persusion were just as entitled to their opinion and that opinion must be taken into account and that a unioonist born on the island of Ireland is just as Irish as a nationalist born on the same island and it is a bit much to claim the peace process took off by magic just because John Hume had a few secret meetings – it was an organic process that many people played their part in progressing from the moment the ‘troubles’ started – efforts were being made to stop it.

      You don’t give the person who lays the final brick in a house the full credit for building it – you acknowledge everyone from the foundations upwards. John Hume, Reynolds, Ahern, Blair, Clinton etc were lucky to come along when the final snag list was being drawn up and you can argue they wouldn’t have been able to do what they did without the efforts of those who went before them – the previous work softened the ground so that the seeds planted by Hume would grow.

    • a.commenter says:

      Without Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness there would have been no Peace Process…the militants did not disarm at the behest iof John Hume Albert Reynolds or Tony Bliar…. that was the sideshow and they were prepared to accept the accolades….
      Sinn Fein were the ones that were prepared to sacrifice the articles of Faith to keep the Peace Process on track…What did the Unionists concede..?
      It never ceases to amaze me how those South of the border to contort themselves to ‘accommodate’ the Unionists/Protestants but refuse/d to acknowledge the Nationalist Community…as Bloody Sunday demonstrated so unequivocally…
      There will be United Ireland and tho’ it may not be achieved through idealism…it’s likely to be something far more dear to the Irish…money…as we know the South can be bought…
      No doubt Sinn Fein will broker another good ‘deal’ on favourable terms which those South of the border won’t be able to refuse…Still at least one ‘Banker’ is behind bars tonite…
      Hope all you jackeens have a nice day tommorrow with your Monarch…altogether now ‘God Save Our Gracious old Baked Bean’….

    • Catherine b. says:

      The Sam Browne belts (I remember polishing my father’s) worn by our Irish army officers as part of their lovely green uniforms – that is about the only thing in the ceremonials surrounding the Queen’s visit that I recognise with fondness in this 21st Century Ireland that has thrown aside its culture, its main political party and its religious heritage.

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