Tim McGarry: Dissidents always have their fingers on the pulse... unfortunately it’s the pulse of Patrick Pearse

Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.
Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.
Tim McGarry’s latest News Letter column:

If you are reading this on Thursday morning I will be in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh at the gig of the week — Pray for Partition.

I wasn’t supposed to go but there was a spare ticket going after there was a no-show from some guy in Dublin.

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To be honest I’m only attending in the hope of finally getting that OBE (apparently writing for the News Letter is not enough!)

The distinguished Irish writer Bearnard Labhardha, or Ben Lowry, as I believe he prefers to be knownThe distinguished Irish writer Bearnard Labhardha, or Ben Lowry, as I believe he prefers to be known
The distinguished Irish writer Bearnard Labhardha, or Ben Lowry, as I believe he prefers to be known

The other main reason for going would be to annoy dissident republicans.

There is a veritable alphabet soup of dissident republican micro groups, like RNU, RSF and Saoradh.

One of them, 32CSM had urged a protest at the centenary service saying that the “British Queen is not welcome”.

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Republican dissidents always have their finger on the pulse.

Unfortunately, it is the pulse of Patrick Pearse.

My favourite story about them goes back to 2007 when the GAA changed its strict rules about only permitting Gaelic games in GAA facilities in order to allow a rugby match to be played at Croke Park.

Dissidents held a small protest outside the ground. One protester had a placard that read “Say no to foreign sports!”

He was wearing a Celtic top.


Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of local football. I’ve always wanted more people to watch Irish League matches.

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Well this week I got my wish. Sadly however it wasn’t because of the quality of the football, but instead because of the rather robust criticism of one Glentoran player by the Glentoran goalkeeper.

Well, I say criticism.

It was an assault really.

Yes, on Saturday, after the team conceded a goal, Glentoran player Bobby Burns was attacked and thrown to the ground by the Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.

By Monday, footage of the remarkable incident had gone viral and acquired over one and a half million views.

Gary Lineker tweeted the clip with the epithet “WTF?” Clearly he thought Warrenpoint Town Football club were involved.

No Gary! It was Glentoran v Coleraine.

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To be fair to Aaron McCarey, the incident does illustrate the great passion you get in our local game.

So please do go out and support your local team. I can’t promise top-class entertainment like they got at the Oval on Saturday at every match.

But I can guarantee full-throttled fervour and enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, across the water there was controversy when Newcastle United were bought over by a consortium closely connected to the Saudi Arabian government.

Some of their fans seem almost entirely unconcerned by the human rights record of the new owners.

This is not entirely surprising.

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Football and morality rarely go hand in hand. In fact football and morality go together like Ben Lowry and an Irish Language Act.

As a Cliftonville fan my only concern is that there are no evil despots or dodgy billionaires left in the world to invest millions in the club.

Of course the perfect person to take us over would be Donald Trump – because then, even if we were to lose a match, the Donald would just insist that we won.


To misquote Oscar Wilde: “You have to have a heart of stone to read about the death of the Northern Ireland branch of UKIP without laughing.”

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Yes, Six Counties UKIP has disbanded. It is no more. It is deceased. Bereft of life. It rests in peace. It has shuffled off its mortal coil and gone and joined the choir invisible. At last, a tangible Brexit benefit.

Local UKIP members were said to be “frustrated” that UK members “showed little interest in affairs this side of the Irish Sea”. This is of course the irony of Unionist support for Brexit. The vast majority of UK Leave voters know little and care less about Northern Ireland. Many of them think the leader of the DUP is Gerry Adams and that PIRA was Village People’s follow up to YMCA.

As startling evidence of this I give you the ex-leader of UKIP, Nigel “Nige” Farage – who has also gone viral by appearing on a video saying “up the Ra”. Mind you, after the Protocol, Sinn Fein supporters have been known to shout “Up the Nige!”

Nigel says he was tricked and he didn’t know what it meant. Come off it Nige! You’ve been sitting beside Arlene Foster on the GB News sofa for months now – surely she’s told you something about here.

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Nigel made the comment on Cameo, a site where you can get “celebrities” to send you personal greetings – apparently he was paid £73 or €86 (I really hope it was Euros).

We learnt this week that Ian Paisley also has account on Cameo and will send you a video greeting for money.

It allows “fans” to get personalised message from the great man...’s son.

No prices for an Ian Junior video are included.

Clearly if you have to ask, you can’t afford him. So we’re not sure if he is charging £60, £100 quid, or the cost of a Maldives beach hut.


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Finally, it has been a very good week for the distinguished Irish writer Bearnard Labhardha, or Ben Lowry, as I believe he prefers to be known.

His day has come. His la has chuckeed. He is now officially the new editor of the Belfast News Letter.

Cead mile comhghairdeacha Bearnard. Can I have a pay rise?

More News Letter letters and opinion at this link.

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