The Trib reverts to type

Lots of silliness in this week's edition of the Sunday Tribune, starting with the suggestion that it may have been fans of Celtic ("the republicans' favourite club") and not Shamrock Rovers who attacked Linfield fans on their visit to Dublin last week: perhaps, says the Trib, witnesses were confused by the similarity of the two clubs' jerseys. Well firstly I doubt the attackers were wearing jerseys at all. Football hooligans these days are nearly always "casuals", who believe that fights should only be conducted in expensive designer wear. (I'll save the post on the silliness of casual culture for another day.) They were probably recognised as Rovers fans because everyone who closely follows the League of Ireland knows exactly who the Rovers casuals are. Secondly, the jerseys aren't that hard to distinguish. And finally the attempt to link republicans to this attack is pathetic, and Sindo-esque.

Onto the travel section, which has a breakdown of Irish airports showing all the direct flights abroad - well, no it doesn't. Although titled "Routes from a small island", the article's listing is limited to 26 County airports. You wouldn't have to be a republican to think this is stupid - there are parts of the south where the nearest (or next nearest) airport is across the border. I've checked out prices for flights from Belfast a few times myself.

And I really, really wish their food writers would stop referring to "fish-eating vegetarians". There ain't no such thing.

The headline story is, once again, the McCartney sisters - this time concerning an alleged threat which was posted on a message board. I say "alleged" because, reading the excerpts that were printed, I'm not convinced the poster actually was making a threat, more like simply confirming that such a threat exists, which I thought we already knew (no small thanks to the Trib for that, of course).

The article cites, unsurprisingly without comment, the poster's reference to anger in the Short Strand over the sisters' "lies". This is the story that the media won't touch: the belief of many within the community that the sisters have gone beyond persistent and into the realms of reckless in their pursuit of justice. I have no idea whether this is a majority or minority view in the Strand; it is at the very least a significant minority view and one which merits investigation, but so far this article in the Sunday Business Post almost three months ago is the only one I've seen address it (the print edition added a number of salient quotes from local residents which unfortunately didn't make it online).

I believe there would be a reluctance to question the sisters' version of events even if it wasn't republicans involved. Of course, nobody wants to add to the hurt of victims' families by suggesting that they're manipulating the facts, especially when they don't have any obvious reason to. But victims' families sometimes do exactly that; recall the case highlighted in the acclaimed documentary Murder On A Sunday Morning. It's not necessarily deliberate dishonesty - sometimes people are overwhelmed by events and convince themselves that something is true when it isn't. But false is false, and it doesn't help the search for justice. If the McCartneys are propagating a version of events that isn't accurate - and I'm obviously not in a position to know for sure that they are - the media are really not doing them any favours covering it up.


Chris Gaskin said...

I don't know why you punish yourself reading that sort of rubbish.

I have a simple rule when it comes to Sunday papers, no tribune, no sindo

Wednesday said...

I know, I know. I used to buy it for Joe Lee and then I bought it for Susan McKay. Now it's just a habit.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so hesistant to accept the McCartney sisters' version of events? Using coy language like "of course, no one is suggesting they're lying..." is doing just that, throwing doubt on the relatives of a slain nationalist. The McCartney sisters' account is very close to what the IRA itself has confirmed. The fact is that these message board warriors and gangsterish individuals are disobeying the Army and throwing it into disrepute. They murdered a man who did not deserve to be murdered: it's as simple as that.

Wednesday said...

First of all I didn't use that language. And second, there are differences between the DETAIL of the sisters' account and other accounts. See for example the Post article I linked. There are also different accounts of how the row started. People who were there - and the McCartneys weren't - have given different accounts. And there are very, very major differences between the McCartneys' account of what happened after the fact and the IRA's and many other people's accounts. These merit investigation and if they're wrong, they're wrong, but the media are pretending they don't exist.

And it isn't "as simple as that". He didn't deserve to be murdered, of course, but nor do innocent people deserve to be wrongly accused. Putting the blame in the wrong place only means that those who are genuinely guilty get off the hook.

Anonymous said...

Well, there are bound to be differences in each eyewitness account. The constant factor in each is that a senseless murder was committed by so-called republicans. Everyone in the neighbourhood knows who was involved and who wasn't.

I don't see how the origin of the incident matters. As if any fistfight or remark could justify such butchery.

Wednesday said...

I'm not saying that the origin does "matter" in that sense, but it's an example of the differences in the detail. And it's also interesting how the media are hushing up the propensity of a certain person (not Robert McCartney) to get into rows, isn't it?

And it's easy to say "everybody knows" but there ARE a lot of people in the neighbourhood who think some people are being wrongly accused (whether of the murder itself, the cover-up or the intimidation campaign). This came up on the doorsteps over and over again in the recent elections. It was also mentioned in the Post article. Now I suppose these people could be telling Sinn Féin canvassers and Anne Cadwallader one thing and telling other journalists other things, but frankly I'm inclined to doubt it.

BTW I heard Paula McCartney on the radio yesterday saying "a dozen" people were involved in the murder. The IRA statement said that four were. That's not "very close".

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