You can’t handle the truth!


I must admit, I haven’t been paying been paying much attention to Féile this year, but I have noticed that the big Internment Day march has been reinstated after being quietly dropped a few years back, and will take place tomorrow. No doubt this explains the bonfires – if you’ve passed through the city centre you’ve probably noticed the big fuck-off bonfire at the Markets, adorned with loyalist flags and Rangers tops. [Update 14.8.07: It has been brought to my attention that the bonfires were a bright idea of the Irps, which seems right. The Provos were opposed to them.]

But what has struck me is that the Provos have declared this to be “Truth Week”, which is kind of appropriate since we’ve been waxing Orwellian. Tomorrow’s march will be the March for Truth. Now let me say at the outset that I’m fully supportive of attempts by groups like Relatives for Justice to uncover the facts about the dirty war in the North. All the same, Truth Week?

God’s Little Helper devoted his Irish News column this week to the subject. Let’s hear what Gibney has to say:

This Sunday thousands of people from all over Ireland will march to Belfast’s City Hall in memory of the 10 hunger strikers behind a banner calling on the British government to tell the truth about its role in the conflict.

The march organisers – Sinn Féin and a number of relatives’ organisations – are focusing on the word truth because they believe the truth is the last big issue to be resolved in the conflict.

By and large the truth is known about the role played by the IRA and loyalist organisations because they claimed responsibility for their actions which caused the deaths of hundreds of people.

And, in this schema, the Brits are the only people yet to own up to anything. The Provos and the loyalists have already come clean and have no skeletons left in their closets (although note the weasel phrase “by and large”).

I assume Grizzly will be on the march. He’s still, by the way, refusing to admit that he was ever in the Army, while the Deputy First Minister, to his credit, will cheerfully give you his name, rank and serial number if asked.

Here’s a modest proposal. If we’re going to have Truth Week, why not throw it into relief by staging a Lie Week? Or could the punters not tell the difference from the usual peace process political culture?


  1. Wednesday said,

    August 11, 2007 at 11:54 am

    I have to admit to feeling a wee bit cynical about it too. Not for the reasons you mention, but because it has a whiff of “show of strength” about it, where I suspect that in some quarters what matters less is the issue than the need to demonstrate the amount of support SF has on at least one side of the border.

    That said, the Brits’ ongoing refusal to own up to any wrongdoing during the conflict is a genuine issue, and one on quite a different order of magnitude to Adams’s insistence that he was never in the IRA.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    August 11, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    That said, the Brits’ ongoing refusal to own up to any wrongdoing during the conflict is a genuine issue, and one on quite a different order of magnitude to Adams’s insistence that he was never in the IRA.

    True… but when you have a political setup with the amount of institutional mendacity that we do, Truth Week is a wee bit of a hostage to fortune.

  3. Ed Hayes said,

    August 13, 2007 at 11:04 am

    I’m cynical about the whole deal. During the 1980s every time the Loyalists killed a catholic they would invaribly claim that they were targeting republican activists. Sinn Fein and the IRA would deny this in most cases and point out that the UVF/UDA were simply slaughtering Catholics. I generally accepted this argument and still do for the most part. But…a few years ago I picked up ‘Tirghra’ the ‘official’ record of the provisional republican dead and there are few volunteers in it who weren’t claimed as volunteers when they were killed, including Fergal Caraher, who was always described as a civilian and three volunteers in Tyrone who were killed by the UVF. In other word the IRA didn’t always claim its dead. And this to my mind casts a shadow over their other claims. Plus theres dozens of killings that they did, but never claimed at all, ie. Claudy, Kingsmills etc. So someone other than the Provos should be leading the demand for truth.

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