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Friday, October 21, 2005 

Fr. Reid's remarks

Recently we've had to listen to a good deal of manufactured outrage over Fr. Alec Reid's comments, comparing the historical treatment of Catholics in NI to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany (Jon Ihle has covered Fintan O'Toole's acrobatics over this). We have a few comments on this business:

(i) while the comparison is certainly grotesquely out of proportion, and he should (and has) apologised for it, there is a small nugget of justification in what he said. It's not politic in these days of reconciliation to say so, and it's not going to be appreciated by those who've had loved ones killed by the PIRA, but there it is.

(ii) if you watch the video of what happened at the Methodist Hall, it can clearly be seen that Father Reid said what he said in the course of a stand-up row with Willie Frazer, of the so-called "victim's group" FAIR, who was present in the audience and presumably (given his MO) there to cause trouble.

Yes, Reid's remarks were out of place and offensive, and he needed to withdraw them and apologise. But he was clearly provoked by Frazer, who pops up in strange company in all sorts of strange places, and whose occupation seems to be that of professional provocateur, like our old friend 'Lord' Laird. He (Frazer) certainly lost no time in rushing to his local police station with a solicitor in tow (who turned out to be none other than UUP renegade and now DUP member, Arlene Foster) in an attempt to have Fr. Reid prosecuted. It needs to be said that if we were to approach Frazer's own writings and utterances with the same malicious intent, we'd find no end of material to take him to task on.

Taking from just one (particularly pertinent) recent example off the FAIR website:

...Indeed if Mr Reid needs to point the finger of Nazism he should look no farther than the role of his own church and its leadership during the Second World War. As for me and my family we answered the call to fight fascism and my family along with thousands of unionists fought and died to defeat terrorism. Perhaps if Mr Reid, his church and community had become more involved in their years VE/VJ commemorations they would have realised the role played by the protestant community its churches and organisations such as the Orange Order in the war effort.
It is no surprise that Mr Reid has been referred to as the PROVO's Priest, as his Republican credentials and mindset are clear. His position in Clonard monastery an institution which played a pivotal role in the creation of the Provisional IRA is no coincidence. Indeed at that time as the PIRA engaged in its first acts of terrorism in the grounds of Clonard monastery its Superior P.J.Eagan spoke to the people of the area saying " …the defence of the area was left to a handful of teenagers. They did a great job. We were proud of them…." Another senior priest later admitted to the Scarman tribunal that he gave armed terrorists permission to stay and use the monastery as a base for their operations. The clergy of Clonard have blood on their hands as it was they who sanctioned and supported the use of violence and by both acts of commission and omission were instrumental in the creation of the PIRA. They have continually glorified the terrorist acts of those days and created a myth that the PIRA and its weapons are needed to 'defend' their areas and indeed monastery.
There's no real excuse to what Fr. Reid said, but there is context (provocation by a determined troublemaker).

Meanwhile, Belfast Gonzo (who has turned off his comments for this post. Tsk, tsk.) over at Slugger has a post up on this subject, and this to say:
Anyway, if unionists are Nazis, how come the BNP has decided it ain't worth their while to set up shop here?
Perhaps because their natural constituency is already so admirably catered for with the Loyalists and the Orange order? Just a thought.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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