Loyalist David Ervine Former MLA Remembered

Irish-Rationalist

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The 10th anniversary of the death of PUP leader David Ervine has been marked in a ceremony at his memorial in east Belfast. A piper played as a wreath was laid at the Albertbridge Road mural dedicated to the late politician.

David Ervine was synonymous with working class unionism - he served as a councillor for east Belfast and also as an MLA at Stormont until he died in January 2007, aged 57.

The one-time member of the UVF was instrumental in bringing about the loyalist ceasefire of October 1994 and was once described as "one of the most eloquent politicians in Northern Ireland".

Tributes paid to Loyalist David Ervine



The hypocrites within unionism, the UUP, DUP and demagogue Paisley in particular, were adept at rousing and manipulating the patriotic passions of working class Loyalism, then when Loyalist paramilitary groups carried out acts of violence in defence of their union, both the UUP and Paisley & Co. distanced themselves and denounced militant Loyalism. But they've traditionally relied upon Loyalists as muscle, and Trimble entered the pre-GFA negotiations notoriously and blatantly flanked by Loyalist paramilitaries.

This duplicitous attitude towards Loyalism has traditionally characterised middle class unionism's attitude towards their less affluent working class counterparts. Being typically right-wing in political orientation, the same unionist parties have traditionally deprived the Protestant Loyalist working class of left-wing Socialist political representation.

Spence and Ervine, like or loathe them, were the only Unionist politicos with the fortitude to stand up and declare themselves Socialists. Ervine voiced his criticisms of the Big House Unionist regime which was responsible for initiating and condoning a program of systematic discrimination against the CNR minority, which ultimately provided ammunition (metaphorically and literally) for the PIRA response.

Sinn Fein are now the second largest party in NI, and have made significant inroads in the Dail. Since Ervine passed away and Dawn Purvis resigned in disgust at a UVF murder, Loyalism in NI has no political representation at Stormont. In fact, Loyalism is still generally looked down upon and associated with a subculture of underclass criminality, gangsterism and drug peddling.

I remember when David Ervine was active before the media spotlight before and during the negotiations leading to the GFA. Despite his violent background, he struck me as honest, articulate and sincere. Unlike many unionist politicos who relied upon pedantry, obfuscation, denial and evasion to cowardly side-step issues, Ervine had both the courage and intelligence to confront issues head on.

As a politician of humble background who was as eloquently critical of unionism as he was of militant republicanism, Ervine had a more honest and accurate grasp of the nuances of NI political life than many of his fellow compatriots. He spoke truth, at least from a PUL perspective, from the heart, and filtered his words with his head. The presence of Adams and McGuinness at his funeral sent a shockwave through the Loyalist community at the time, but it spoke volumes of the esteem in which he was held by his traditional enemies.
 


Lonewolfe

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The 10th anniversary of the death of PUP leader David Ervine has been marked in a ceremony at his memorial in east Belfast. A piper played as a wreath was laid at the Albertbridge Road mural dedicated to the late politician.

David Ervine was synonymous with working class unionism - he served as a councillor for east Belfast and also as an MLA at Stormont until he died in January 2007, aged 57.

The one-time member of the UVF was instrumental in bringing about the loyalist ceasefire of October 1994 and was once described as "one of the most eloquent politicians in Northern Ireland".

Tributes paid to Loyalist David Ervine



The hypocrites within unionism, the UUP, DUP and demagogue Paisley in particular, were adept at rousing and manipulating the patriotic passions of working class Loyalism, then when Loyalist paramilitary groups carried out acts of violence in defence of their union, both the UUP and Paisley & Co. distanced themselves and denounced militant Loyalism. But they've traditionally relied upon Loyalists as muscle, and Trimble entered the pre-GFA negotiations notoriously and blatantly flanked by Loyalist paramilitaries.

This duplicitous attitude towards Loyalism has traditionally characterised middle class unionism's attitude towards their less affluent working class counterparts. Being typically right-wing in political orientation, the same unionist parties have traditionally deprived the Protestant Loyalist working class of left-wing Socialist political representation.

Spence and Ervine, like or loathe them, were the only Unionist politicos with the fortitude to stand up and declare themselves Socialists. Ervine voiced his criticisms of the Big House Unionist regime which was responsible for initiating and condoning a program of systematic discrimination against the CNR minority, which ultimately provided ammunition (metaphorically and literally) for the PIRA response.

Sinn Fein are now the second largest party in NI, and have made significant inroads in the Dail. Since Ervine passed away and Dawn Purvis resigned in disgust at a UVF murder, Loyalism in NI has no political representation at Stormont. In fact, Loyalism is still generally looked down upon and associated with a subculture of underclass criminality, gangsterism and drug peddling.

I remember when David Ervine was active before the media spotlight before and during the negotiations leading to the GFA. Despite his violent background, he struck me as honest, articulate and sincere. Unlike many unionist politicos who relied upon pedantry, obfuscation, denial and evasion to cowardly side-step issues, Ervine had both the courage and intelligence to confront issues head on.

As a politician of humble background who was as eloquently critical of unionism as he was of militant republicanism, Ervine had a more honest and accurate grasp of the nuances of NI political life than many of his fellow compatriots. He spoke truth, at least from a PUL perspective, from the heart, and filtered his words with his head. The presence of Adams and McGuinness at his funeral sent a shockwave through the Loyalist community at the time, but it spoke volumes of the esteem in which he was held by his traditional enemies.
A good man who took the wrong path but had the sense to mend his ways and work for peace. He was unambiguous about the futility of violence. That's more than can be said for a lot.
 

PO'Neill

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The 10th anniversary of the death of PUP leader David Ervine has been marked in a ceremony at his memorial in east Belfast. A piper played as a wreath was laid at the Albertbridge Road mural dedicated to the late politician.

David Ervine was synonymous with working class unionism - he served as a councillor for east Belfast and also as an MLA at Stormont until he died in January 2007, aged 57.

The one-time member of the UVF was instrumental in bringing about the loyalist ceasefire of October 1994 and was once described as "one of the most eloquent politicians in Northern Ireland".

Tributes paid to Loyalist David Ervine



The hypocrites within unionism, the UUP, DUP and demagogue Paisley in particular, were adept at rousing and manipulating the patriotic passions of working class Loyalism, then when Loyalist paramilitary groups carried out acts of violence in defence of their union, both the UUP and Paisley & Co. distanced themselves and denounced militant Loyalism. But they've traditionally relied upon Loyalists as muscle, and Trimble entered the pre-GFA negotiations notoriously and blatantly flanked by Loyalist paramilitaries.

This duplicitous attitude towards Loyalism has traditionally characterised middle class unionism's attitude towards their less affluent working class counterparts. Being typically right-wing in political orientation, the same unionist parties have traditionally deprived the Protestant Loyalist working class of left-wing Socialist political representation.

Spence and Ervine, like or loathe them, were the only Unionist politicos with the fortitude to stand up and declare themselves Socialists. Ervine voiced his criticisms of the Big House Unionist regime which was responsible for initiating and condoning a program of systematic discrimination against the CNR minority, which ultimately provided ammunition (metaphorically and literally) for the PIRA response.

Sinn Fein are now the second largest party in NI, and have made significant inroads in the Dail. Since Ervine passed away and Dawn Purvis resigned in disgust at a UVF murder, Loyalism in NI has no political representation at Stormont. In fact, Loyalism is still generally looked down upon and associated with a subculture of underclass criminality, gangsterism and drug peddling.

I remember when David Ervine was active before the media spotlight before and during the negotiations leading to the GFA. Despite his violent background, he struck me as honest, articulate and sincere. Unlike many unionist politicos who relied upon pedantry, obfuscation, denial and evasion to cowardly side-step issues, Ervine had both the courage and intelligence to confront issues head on.

As a politician of humble background who was as eloquently critical of unionism as he was of militant republicanism, Ervine had a more honest and accurate grasp of the nuances of NI political life than many of his fellow compatriots. He spoke truth, at least from a PUL perspective, from the heart, and filtered his words with his head. The presence of Adams and McGuinness at his funeral sent a shockwave through the Loyalist community at the time, but it spoke volumes of the esteem in which he was held by his traditional enemies.
It might surprise most here, but like a lot of Republicans though they were on the opposite side, Irvine and a few more of them were fellow working class men I could respect and even understand why they got involved in the troubles. I have met loyalists in Belfast in the past, prearranged through community groups, but there was no hiding our political backgrounds. I have to be completely honest and there's no doubt in the white heat of the troubles I can see how some young men from a unionist background would join up to "strike at the IRA" in their words. However David Irvine and those around him were a small minority within loyalism, Billy Wright, Johnny Adair only too well represent the nihilist sectarian majority who were used by Paisley and Big House unionism as well of course armed and directed by the Brits, all in co operation of the British govt. But one thing they all seemed very sore about - how Paisley, Robinson and the DUP in particular incited young working class Protestant men to commit crimes that landed them in jail for years on end, very, very sore indeed. Nor where the DUP only guilty, the UUP could also flirt with them such as David Trimble and Ulster Vanguard, but their bitterest words were for the Paisley and the DUP. As the loyalists said themselves regrading Big House unionism, the DUP, orange order etc " we're with you but if you get caught we don't know you".

Doubtless down the years thru motorbiking myself and the others I knock around with have had a laugh and got hammered at countless biker rally's, rock nights etc all over the country, even north Antrim and north Armagh during the troubles without a hint hassle !! That's one thing I have to say about the brotherhood of biking worldwide, whatever politics a man has he leaves it behind him and just gets on with the crack of good company :)
 

cricket

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He has never really been replaced in working class loyalism, instead that sector now seems to be in the grip of little more than gangsterism.
 

Fullforward

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I remember he once commented on some of the Loyalist muscle-men walking out of the H-Blocks with their steroid pumped chests arriving at the gates a minute before the rest of their bodies and he said something like "I'm not sure if they are LVF, UVF or WWF"
 

Irish-Rationalist

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He has never really been replaced in working class loyalism, instead that sector now seems to be in the grip of little more than gangsterism.
Billy Hutchinson didn't have the intellectual capacity to fill his shoes, and Dr John Kyle, the current PUP leader, despite being a qualified GP, obviously has the intelligence, but unfortunately lacks the charisma which Ervine exuded.

Most working class unionists are content to continue voting DUP or UUP, and that's a shame, as neither the DUP nor the UUP offer the Protestant proletariat the class politics they deserve.

Instead they have two parties who are traditionally and distinctly right-wing, pro-capitalist and contemptuous of left-wing Socialist politics continuing to lead them by the nose down an anachronistic tribalist cul-de-sac.

But hey, there's safety in the union, so long as Loyalists continue to allow themselves to be led by arrogant, incompetent, buffoons (Foster).
 

between the bridges

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Billy Hutchinson didn't have the intellectual capacity to fill his shoes, and Dr John Kyle, the current PUP leader, despite being a qualified GP, obviously has the intelligence, but unfortunately lacks the charisma which Ervine exuded.

Most working class unionists are content to continue voting DUP or UUP, and that's a shame, as neither the DUP nor the UUP offer the Protestant proletariat the class politics they deserve.

Instead they have two parties who are traditionally and distinctly right-wing, pro-capitalist and contemptuous of left-wing Socialist politics continuing to lead them by the nose down an anachronistic tribalist cul-de-sac.

But hey, there's safety in the union, so long as Loyalists continue to allow themselves to be led by arrogant, incompetent, buffoons (Foster).
Kyle is not the current leader of the PUP, please note it helps to have some idea about what it is yer slabbering about...
 

PBP voter

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A total scumbag.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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O'Sullivan Bere

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He turned out of be amongst the best of a bad bunch in the end, but the latter part of that statement is still key: a bad bunch. The UVF is the UFV and everyone knows what they did and still do and its spinoffs and counter-reactions.

I give his legacy its due credit that he was a player for the GFA and was amongst the most honest about what all parties did in it, accepting his own roles and explaining its reasons without just finger pointing and turd polishing as many do.

That's as far as it should go though. His story, as he himself put it, was that the tit-for-tat stuff was behind the strife. Guys like him made the Sands and guys like Sands made guys like him, etc, and everyone else suffered and/or died as a result of that too. The best and worst of his legacy is part of the learning experience, but he's no hero.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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He turned out of be amongst the best of a bad bunch in the end, but the latter part of that statement is still key: a bad bunch. The UVF is the UFV and everyone knows what they did and still do and its spinoffs and counter-reactions.

I give his legacy its due credit that he was a player for the GFA and was amongst the most honest about what all parties did in it, accepting his own roles and explaining its reasons without just finger pointing and turd polishing as many do.

That's as far as it should go though. His story, as he himself put it, was that the tit-for-tat stuff was behind the strife. Guys like him made the Sands and guys like Sands made guys like him, etc, and everyone else suffered and/or died as a result of that too. The best and worst of his legacy is part of the learning experience, but he's no hero.
The same could be applied to any Shinner/former PIRA activist. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, that ole chestnut.

My stance has always been if you're going to label Loyalists as 'death squads', then drop the moral high ground and apply that label to the PIRA/INLA. Similarly, if you're going to label the PIRA as freedom fighters/patriots/martyrs, then have the wit to recognise that although Loyalism committed many heinous and barbarous acts upon innocent CNR and indeed Protestant civilians, their violence was also primarily politically motivated, and that is neither to condone nor justify it.

No-one came out of the conflict with clean hands. Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.
 

O'Sullivan Bere

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The same could be applied to any Shinner/former PIRA activist. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, that ole chestnut.

My stance has always been if you're going to label Loyalists as 'death squads', then drop the moral high ground and apply that label to the PIRA/INLA. Similarly, if you're going to label the PIRA as freedom fighters/patriots/martyrs, then have the wit to recognise that although Loyalism committed many heinous and barbarous acts upon innocent CNR and indeed Protestant civilians, their violence was also primarily politically motivated, and that is neither to condone nor justify it.

No-one came out of the conflict with clean hands. Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.
To many, they were all simply terrorists, and they offered good arguments as to why given the types of atrocities they deliberately committed against civilians.

I think the paramilitaries and the British governments of the time and to a much smaller extent the ROI governments of the time have the most to answer for, and I don't think it's kosher to lump the entire populations at issue into a false moral relevance quagmire over them. Most people, even with grievances legitimate or otherwise, didn't go out preying on others as they did. They only made matter worse.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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To many, they were all simply terrorists, and they offered good arguments as to why given the types of atrocities they deliberately committed against civilians.

I think the paramilitaries and the British and Irish governments have the most to answer for, and I don't think it's kosher to lump the entire populations at issue into a false moral relevance quagmire over them. Most people, even with grievances legitimate or otherwise, didn't go out preying on others as they did. They only made matter worse.
True. Most people on both sides were opposed to the violence. Anyone with sense and foresight recognised by the late 70s/early 80s that the PIRA were not going to achieve their objective militarily, and that Loyalists gunning down CNR civilians and taxi drivers was just exacerbating the situation. Most people growing up in that era wanted absolutely no association with Republican/Loyalist paramilitaries and their futile tit-for-tat violence.
 

General Urko

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I remember he once commented on some of the Loyalist muscle-men walking out of the H-Blocks with their steroid pumped chests arriving at the gates a minute before the rest of their bodies and he said something like "I'm not sure if they are LVF, UVF or WWF"
While at the same time Táig prisoners would have concentrated on reading Irish History, the Irish Language and aspects of Irish Culture! Altogether, a better breed of Knack!
 

death or glory

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While at the same time Táig prisoners would have concentrated on reading Irish History, the Irish Language and aspects of Irish Culture! Altogether, a better breed of Knack!
A lot of Loyalist prisoners turned to God to atone for their terrible crimes.
The first step to forgiveness.
 

O'Sullivan Bere

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True. Most people on both sides were opposed to the violence. Anyone with sense and foresight recognised by the late 70s/early 80s that the PIRA were not going to achieve their objective militarily, and that Loyalists gunning down CNR civilians and taxi drivers was just exacerbating the situation. Most people growing up in that era wanted absolutely no association with Republican/Loyalist paramilitaries and their futile tit-for-tat violence.
No argument there...spot on. In fact, the IRA and INLA also attacked civilians, including a series of different shooting and bombing atrocities inflicting mass civilian casualties as did the loyalist ones.

IMO, the paramilitaries of that period were the worst advocates of nationalism and unionism respectively and 'own goals' towards their claimed causes.

They also provided convenient cover stories for sociopaths that simply enjoyed tormenting, torturing and killing people, and also the common criminals that wanted to traffic in drugs and other contraband. The latter reason is mainly why they still exist today, kind of like the Irish version of Goodfellas.
 

GDPR

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The same could be applied to any Shinner/former PIRA activist. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, that ole chestnut.

My stance has always been if you're going to label Loyalists as 'death squads', then drop the moral high ground and apply that label to the PIRA/INLA. Similarly, if you're going to label the PIRA as freedom fighters/patriots/martyrs, then have the wit to recognise that although Loyalism committed many heinous and barbarous acts upon innocent CNR and indeed Protestant civilians, their violence was also primarily politically motivated, and that is neither to condone nor justify it.

No-one came out of the conflict with clean hands. Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone.
The thing is that we have think about the future as well as the past and destroying the future for the sake of the past is irrational and unjust. The UK State also doesn't come out with clean hands either. The Troubles was a war that made up for its low intensity with its sordidness.
 

GDPR

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To many, they were all simply terrorists, and they offered good arguments as to why given the types of atrocities they deliberately committed against civilians.

I think the paramilitaries and the British governments of the time and to a much smaller extent the ROI governments of the time have the most to answer for, and I don't think it's kosher to lump the entire populations at issue into a false moral relevance quagmire over them. Most people, even with grievances legitimate or otherwise, didn't go out preying on others as they did. They only made matter worse.
People like BtB and Cruimh were very happy to use naïve Protestant working class and lumpen men and boys to do their dirty work for them and use them as muscle when needs be but always stay at one remove so they could wash their hands of them and pretend that they were purer than pure.
 

O'Sullivan Bere

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People like BtB and Cruimh were very happy to use naïve Protestant working class and lumpen men and boys to do their dirty work for them and use them as muscle when needs be but always stay at one remove so they could wash their hands of them and pretend that they were purer than pure.
Without any intent to lump pot shots at anyone here, as a general matter, there were always people within the PUL and CNR community that had a sneaking regard for the paramilitaries with wind ups and help without the integrity, if you will, to do their own dirty work.

That said, there were also far more that hated the harms done and wanted a safe and better life, and yet wound up being preyed upon and living in fear even within their own neighbourhoods from their 'own' paramilitaries, never mind from attacks by the 'other side's paramilitaries. Plenty were controlled, shaken down, abused and tortured, blown to bits or left beaten and perforated with bullets and stab wounds on the side of a road, etc. Those that didn't had to live in fear of all these things and all their inconveniences caused by them.
 


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