It took the British government 38 years to apologise for the massacre in Derry. Meanwhile, they're going all-out to obscure the truth about a far more recent massacre in Basra...
Thee road to the Saville Report was long and winding but we got there in the end. But as one family member said to me the day after the delirium in Guildhall Square, "Ninety-five percent on our demands, five percent on everything else."
From the point of view of David Cameron, everything else is what mattered.
Saville confined his strictures to the grunts on the ground and one expendable middle-rank officer. Everybody above was awarded a clean bill of health. So Cameron was able to disown those fingered as culprits and issue his apology to the families of their victims.
Meanwhile, his Government obstructs the efforts of the families of 20 civilians who died at the hands of British soldiers in Basra in May 2004 to win an inquiry into their deaths. The families say the victims were unarmed and innocent. The British army says they were armed members of the Madhi Army.
The case is currently being argued in the High Court in London. Cameron's government is obstructing them every inch of the way and withholding documents on grounds of – now where did we hear this before? – national security.
Death certificates in the case describe "Several gunshot wounds to body - severance of sexual organs"..."Gunshot to head"..."Gunshot in face, pulling out of the eye, breaking the jaw, gunshot to the chest."
Sharing in the joy of the Bloody Sunday families shouldn't mean we sing dumb about Cameron's hypocrisy.
A Catholic nun in Arizona has been threatened with excommunication in the wake of a decision to allow a pregnancy to be terminated to save the life of a woman.
Sister Margaret McBride approved the termination of an 11-week pregnancy. The woman was critically ill with pulmonary hypertension, which limits heart and lung function and can lead to death in pregnancy.
Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted procured her sacking from the ethics committee of the Catholic hospital and declared that she had "automatically excommunicated" herself. "While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means."
Olmsted's predecessor, Thomas J. O'Brien, had resigned following revelations that he had covered up a slew of cases of clerical child sex abuse: plus, he'd been convicted for a fatal hit-and-run accident. He'd hidden or moved pastor Dale Fushek in 2004, Fr. Paul LeBrun and Fr. Joseph Briceno in 2005, Fr. Mark Lehman in 2006, etc.
Neither the miscreant priests nor Bishop O'Brien has been threatened with excommunication.
Of course, the Irish bishops have a record even more wretched than their US counterparts in these matters and still feel free to denounce gay partnerships. Here, there or in Vatican City, they haven't changed a bit.
Our local Communities Against the Cuts was discussing the Brit budget when Tommy McCourt piped up, "How come we owe all this money, then?"
When it's said that "we" are in debt to the tune of 20 or 50 or whatever billion, who is it that we are in debt to? Me being a resident smart-alec, I had to attempt an answer.
Imagine, I tentatively suggested, that, mad keen to make a mint for doing fuck all, you borrowed two grand from Sandino's and put it on Willie Wagtail at 20 to one in the 2.30 at Leopardstown, having been assured by top tipsters that the nag was a dead cert. You've used the anticipated 40 grand winnings as collateral to buy a swanky car. But Willie Wagtail turns out a candidate for the glue factory and comes home 20 lengths adrift of the field.
Meanwhile, on account of the crash, the car is suddenly worth no more than Bertie Ahern's oath. And you still owe Anne at Sandino's £2,000. What to do?
Make the rounds of the neighbourhood, saying, This pains me as much as you but you'll have to cut back on food, rent, heating and clothes for the kiddies. My associates will be calling every week to collect the money you've saved until the debt is paid off.
If cheeky articles protest that they didn't borrow the money and lose it on a gamble and so shouldn't be asked to tighten their belts, explain that if they don't cough up, the vintners and restaurateurs who'd supplied you with booze and crème brulee on credit in expectation of your boat coming in, not to mention motor dealers, suppliers, mechanics and back-up staff, will all plunge into deep soapy bubble, putting the entire economy and social stability at risk. We are all in this together.
"Is that it?" asks Tommy.
"Far as I can work it out," says I.
"What are we waiting for, then?" asks Tommy.
Incidentally, you could tell that the Saville Report wasn't all it was initially cracked up to be from the gratuitous and gushing intervention of the popular crooner, Bono, in the New York Times. What a relief to encounter Roger Waters‘ best-ever version of "We Shall Overcome", recorded as a contribution to the campaign to end the blockade of Gaza. Bring his brilliant video up on YouTube. "Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall tear down the Wall some day." The honour of music saved.
A virulent parasite may be about to decimate banana crops. But that is just one of many enormous challenges, which threaten life on earth as we know it...Read More
Pro-choice campaigners have been spurred into action following a recent case in the North, and their reaction heralds a long overdue shift in thinking on abortion.Read More
Rock rebels everywhere should be appalled at the British establishment’s attempt to appropriate punk rockRead More
Using abortion pills could see you slung into prison for 14 years. How is this insane situation allowed to persist?Read More
It would be glib to suggest that we shouldn’t vote because it only encourages them. But there’s a kernel of truth there.Read More
Perhaps the most significant new thing to come our way in 2015 was the confirmation that Islam is no more a religion of peace than Christianity, Judaism, or any other organised system of superstitious belief.Read More
Reflections on a time when no fees and decent grants made student life considerably easier.Read More
Pope Francis is far from the progressive figure some influential media commentators would have you believe.Read More
It is weird to hear the routine contempt for Aboriginals in a country where people are generally so friendly and helpful...Read More
An article in the official magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries makes a splendid case as to how it should be so… Plus: (Sing it) There’s only one Joey Barton…Read More
Why the public made the wrong choice in selecting the best Irish poem of the 20th century.Read More
Why did Gerry Adams tell the world about his passion for naked trampolining? Why can’t the West face up to its history of genocide? And why won’t our leaders force the Church to relax its death grip on our schools?Read More
The attempt by the Ancient Order of Homophobes to pretend that there is no such thing as an Irish gay is a grotesque embarrassment...Read More
The essential role music played in spreading the message of Martin Luther King Jr. has been overlooked.Read More
As the Israel-Palestine conflict rumbles on, there is precious little festive goodwill to be found in Bethlehem right now.Read More
How the legalisation of marijuana in states across America has vindicated one man’s lifelong struggle.Read More
When our columnist put his money on Now What, he expected a better result. This setback, neo-liberalism and U2 are all on the agenda...Read More
All religions are fundamentally insane. There is no reason to believe Islam per se is any better or worse than the others...Read More
Psychiatry has always had a taste for pathologising perfectly normal behaviour. After all, being gay was once listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.Read More
A millionaire who bellyaches about being broke; an enthusiastic supporter of Israel’s ceaseless extermination of Palestinians; and a whole lot more besides. So why are so many self-proclaimed lefties and liberals still so determined to think highly of Hillary Clinton, hot favourite to be next President of the United States?Read More
Marijuana is far less harmful than booze or cigarettes – that it remains criminalised is one of the true absurdities of modern IrelandRead More
Horrific crimes committed in the Republic continue to go unpunished. Meanwhile, Israel carries on doing as it has always done...Read More
The Labour reshuffle was utterly underwhelming - apart from the demotion of Joe Costello, a brave man willing to champion unfashionable causesRead More
Our columnist’s thoughts on the Israel/Palestine conflict have drawn ire from far afield – meanwhile, the Catholic Church continues to show greater interest in exorcising demons than dealing with the skeletons in its closetRead More
The former Irish Times columnist is far from being the bigot some have portrayed him as - but in the age of facebook and twitter there's no hiding from the hatersRead More
The 'few bad apples' theory doesn't hold up when it comes to the gardai. Repeated scandals have demonstrated that the entire organisation has been compromised by corruption and indiscipline. And nothing is being done about it.Read More
While Ireland goes overboard to pay tribute to St Paddy, Italy has struck upon a more mature way to honour its patron saintRead More
A routine health procedure sets our correspondent thinking about test cricket. Meanwhile, torturer and war criminal General McChrystal remains a free man...Read More
A dancing British royal, a charity worker, a slimy ex-Prime Minister and a bloodthirsty US general - which one of this quartet is currently incarcerated without trial? Go on, take a wild guess...Read More
We're not kidding. We have scientifically proved beyond doubt that one hurricane is no match for a thousand lesbians. Read on...Read More
A folk-rock band has offered a compelling take on the writings of James ConnollyRead More
How long before people get it into their heads that the Poppy has nothing to do with peace?Read More
Forget the hype, listen to the reviews – Fergie’s tell-all tells us very little new indeedRead More
Behind his grumpy exterior, Lou Reed knew a life-time of pain – much of it dating back to his teenage ‘treatment’ for sexual ‘deviancy’Read More
The annual riot of craw-thumping jingoism that is British Poppy Season is upon us. Is this really the best way to celebrate the tragedy of World War I?Read More
The gulf between Ireland’s Gaelic past and Britain’s Royal present isn’t as yawning as you might imagineRead More
Why those who deny the reality of global warming must be exposed at every turn — and why those who say ‘there’s nothing we can do about it’ are completely wrong.Read More
America has always been happy to go to war on trumped-up grounds. It is something we should keep in mind as the Syrian crisis lurches ever onwardsRead More
The State has taken over the production and distribution of the plant, which sounds like a very good idea...Read More
It’s wonderful that Derry has been named UK City of Culture. But it’s a shame that the event doesn’t have more of an edge – the better to convey a sense of the ‘real’ city.Read More
Joe Brolly’s outburst against Sean Cavanagh has once again thrown a light on Mickey Harte’s use of his exalted status in the GAA...Read More
Evil nuns, Rod Stewart, Glasgowbury and phallic entanglement are but a few of the topics on our man’s mind this fortnight....Read More
PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott continues to fritter away public money on unnecessary security operations...Read More
A conservative commentator has tried to tease out what he regards as the absurdity of the government’s proposed, very limited abortion legislation - but only highlighted the contradictions of the anti-choice movement...Read More
A Derry woman was brutally raped and dumped in the street. So why did so called ‘pro-lifer’ Mickey Harte speak strongly in favour of the attacker?...Read More
Everybody’s favourite trendy US President is slaughtering innocent men, women and children in other people’s countries — and people who jumped up and down raging about Nixon, Reagan and Bush are staying oddly silent about it...Read More
A visit by the Dalai Lama sews chaos and chagrin up north.Read More
We like to believe in destiny and the power of the human spirit. But in the end everything just comes down to pluses and minuses, ones and zeroes – as a fascinating study by an Irish writer demonstrates...Read More
Everything you ever wanted to know about Elvis’ role in the making of modern Ireland but were too shy to ask. Plus stuff you really didn’t know...Read More
The new Pope has not fully answered questions about what he did or didn’t do during the Argentine dictatorship – but that isn’t to say it’s not too late for him to find redemption. For that, actions rather than words are required...Read More
One of Britain’s most senior clerics has had to resign after accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards other priests. Given the litany of child abuse in the Church, isn’t that a bit rich?Read More
A small developing nation is the latest to point out the futility of trying to ban substances that are readily available to millions...Read More
An American scandal gives us a chilling insight into the twisted logic of the self-styled ‘pro-life’ lobby.Read More
Time to pick apart the absurdities and contradictions of the ‘pro-life’ debateRead More
Spare a thought for all those downtrodden true believers, whose medieval view of the universe is, so we are told, under attack from all corners in modern Ireland.Read More
The truth about Jesus and abortion: why the savior was pro choiceRead More
Four years into Barack Obama’s presidency, the USA remains remarkably similar to the way it was pre-2008. Remember where you read it first?Read More
When the Bishop of Clonfert John Kirby failed to tell the truth about sex abuse cover-ups, he did so with the benediction of Pope Benedict...Read More
DUP gay-phobia is reaching out into Europe through the aegis of the self-styled Caleban.Read More
Triple All-Ireland winning hurler, the openly gay Donal Og Cusack, gave a mighty address at the recent Derry Pride, drawing parallels between the gay-rights struggle and the fight against institutionalised sectarian discrimination in Norn Iron..Read More
In relation to covering up child sex abuse, other religions are just as culpable as the Roman Catholic Church.Read More
Gay Pride is a celebration of sexual diversity – but it is important not to forget the need for a clenched fistRead More
It’s not enough that they believe in an imaginary deity. They want the rest of us to as well...Read More
The PSNI have begun to compete with Republican Action Against Drugs in the stupidity and ignorance of their ani-drugs raids. Plus: simpering about the Queen...Read More
She’s a busy actor with a Hollywood career of long-standing. So how did Bronagh Gallagher find the time to record a cracking new solo record?Read More
In September 1988, John Gallagher drove to Lifford, collected a rifle from behind the wardrobe in his father’s bedroom and headed for Sligo, where he murdered his ex-girlfriend Anne Gillespie, and her mother Annie. When the case came to court John Gallagher pleaded – and was found – guilty but insane and he was remanded to the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum. In July 2000, Gallagher successfully escaped from Dundrum and absconded to England, before returning to Northern Ireland, where he was able to live freely, because of the unique absence of an extradition treaty for people in his position. Earlier this month, in a bizarre twist, apparently in the hope of taking advantage of a bequest from his father, Gallagher turned up at the Central Mental Hospital and handed himself in. It’s open to him to apply to the Health Review Board for release on the grounds that he does not now suffer from a mental illness. The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, has already acknowledged the possibility that he might be released within a matter of weeks. But as far back as 1991, in a special investigation carried out for Hot Press, Eamonn McCann questioned the original verdict of the court – and whether Gallagher was ever ‘insane’ within the meaning intended by the act. In the light of the growing controversy about the case, we reprint here in full the extraordinary story as it was originally published in Hot Press.Read More
The hate directed at the QPR player tells us all we need to know about the hypocrisy of the media in Britain and Ireland.Read More
In 1982, she was sacked from the school in County Wexford where she taught. Irish politicians have colluded since then in protecting religious-based discrimination on the statute books.Read More
Some people may tell you that the violence in the North is over. But Republican Action Against Drugs are continuing their vicious campaign...Read More
The joys of Doonesbury, Family Guy and Jules FeifferRead More
The venal, rotten truth about Irish politics has been exposed for the world to see – but what about the far more serious crimes perpetuated against children by the Catholic church? How can those who were party to such outrages continue to go unpunished?Read More
Plus: the Champions League is decadent and depraved...Read More
The demonisation of drug-taking gives self-appointed vigilante groups impunity to execute those they accuse of dabbling in the trade.Read More
She was a chav icon and slapper pin-up, but, oh, how we will miss Corrie’s Becky McDonald.Read More
We all know that marijuana is less harmful than booze or cigarettes. In the face of incontrovertible evidence, why do Irish politicians continue to insist otherwise?Read More
A newspaper editorial about the Armenian genocide – perhaps holocaust is a better word – shows just how contradictory a place Israel can be.Read More
What the London riot really tell us about the modern UK – and why the issue isn’t as black and white as we are led believe.Read More
Could Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith sink his chances of running for US President on the Republican Party ticket?Read More
A Christmas parable. By the Rev. Eamonn McCannRead More
Reflections on the MTV Awards, the Greedy Bag – plus Tiger Woods and racism in the club.Read More
An area of outstanding natural beauty is under grave threat, having been earmarked by rapacious planners as ripe for ‘development’. Who will shout stop?Read More
An area of outstanding natural beauty is under grave threat, having been earmarked by rapacious planners as ripe for ‘development’. Who will shout stop?Read More
A silly drinks promotion and two men to be reckoned with. It's all in a fortnight's reflections...Read More
According to constitutional experts, if Bertie makes the Aras he can’t be sent to jail. Unfortunately for him, his dreams of winning the Presidency appear to be mostly a fantasy on his part.Read More
Martin Luther King was a ferocious opponent of US war-mongering and imperialism, a fact conveniently overlooked by those who pose today as his spiritual heirs..Read More
It’s time the London police answered hard questions over the death of UK reggae and rap figure Smiley Culture.Read More
A good kid is behind bars while cops roam free. Plus: why the Church won’t ever change; and religious discrimination in Israeli sport.Read More
The death of Northern Ireland blues singer Ottilie Patterson has gone largely unnoticed. But she was a genuinely revolutionary force in the staid sixties.Read More
Feminist campaigner and literary critic Germaine Greer is still taking stick for suggesting that British soldiers involved in war might be capable of rape.Read More
Kofi Annan is just one of many global dignitaries urging cannabis and ecstasy be legalised. Plus, why rumours of Iran’s nuclear programme amount to so many liesRead More
As good as Madonna? Or Beyoncé? All this – and how the USA makes a mockery of the International Criminal Court.Read More
Military Intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been shackled, drugged and kept in solitary confinement at Quantico for the last year for supplying damning video footage of US war crimes to Wikileaks.Read More
Unspeak labels it collateral damage, but murder is murder. Remote operated drone missiles shot from Nevada have killed an estimated 2000-plus Pakistani civilians in the last five years.Read More