Seamus Mallon, RIP

owedtojoy

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A giant of Ireland politics just passed away at the age of 83.

Along with John Hume, Mallon held the line for Constitutional Nationalism over the long agony of the Troubles, and was a key Architect of the Good Friday Agreement. They were very much a duo. Hume was the ideas man, Mallon his foil. In Irish terms, Hume leaned towards Fine Gael, Mallon towards Fianna Fail. Yet, Mallon was no narrow nationalist. He lived among a predominantly Unionist community, and that easy way with "the other tradition" greatly facilitated his partnership with David Trimble in the first NI Executive.

At least he lived to see the party he had served (the SDLP) regain a Westminister seat, though now a minority party in the nationalist community, and see the Northern Ireland Executive back in place after a long hiatus. We hear this greatly brightened his last days, as his health worsened after the passing of his beloved wife Gertrude in 2016.

My memory of a trenchant and plain-spoken man was in an interview, in the grim 1980s, with a reporter who berated him that the SDLP had no "Advice Centres" in his constituency, whereas Sinn Fein were opening many. Mallon fixed the reporter with a beady stare, and said "I had an office, and it was burned out. I had another, and I was put out of it at the point of a gun. Now, my Advice Centre is my own home. And I do not need Ben Dunne* Advice Centres is my constituency"

(* Supermarket heir Ben Dunne had been kidnapped, and (it is said) ransomed for a large sum).

We may never see his like again. May we never need his like again so desperately.
 


owedtojoy

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The "Celebrity Deaths 2020" thread did not do justice to this man.
 

Levellers

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The OP is peddling the false 'architect of the GFA' nonsense again. Mallon fought against the GFA throughout its long birth and particularly ballyragged Hume for entering into talks. He only accepted the GFA when the people of Ireland voted to approve it.
 

Jack Walsh

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View attachment 22091

A giant of Ireland politics just passed away at the age of 83.



Along with John Hume, Mallon held the line for Constitutional Nationalism over the long agony of the Troubles, and was a key Architect of the Good Friday Agreement. They were very much a duo. Hume was the ideas man, Mallon his foil. In Irish terms, Hume leaned towards Fine Gael, Mallon towards Fianna Fail. Yet, Mallon was no narrow nationalist. He lived among a predominantly Unionist community, and that easy way with "the other tradition" greatly facilitated his partnership with David Trimble in the first NI Executive.

At least he lived to see the party he had served (the SDLP) regain a Westminister seat, though now a minority party in the nationalist community, and see the Northern Ireland Executive back in place after a long hiatus. We hear this greatly brightened his last days, as his health worsened after the passing of his beloved wife Gertrude in 2016.

My memory of a trenchant and plain-spoken man was in an interview, in the grim 1980s, with a reporter who berated him that the SDLP had no "Advice Centres" in his constituency, whereas Sinn Fein were opening many. Mallon fixed the reporter with a beady stare, and said "I had an office, and it was burned out. I had another, and I was put out of it at the point of a gun. Now, my Advice Centre is my own home. And I do not need Ben Dunne* Advice Centres is my constituency"

(* Supermarket heir Ben Dunne had been kidnapped, and (it is said) ransomed for a large sum).

We may never see his like again. May we never need his like again so desperately.
Sad to see just one reply (and that is a critical one)

Absolutely a giant of Irish Politics.

Delighted also he appears to have found real peace in recent years as the end drew near
 

mangaire2

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he did some good work in the early days of the Civil Rights,
but he was very arrogant.
he never accepted the right of the Nationalist electorate to chose SF rather than the SDLP.
he appeared to get ever more bitter as he advanced in age.

Ar dheis Dé, go raibh a anam.
 

Golah veNekhar

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An intensely bitter man who hated the Provies more than he hated any savage Orangist Prod.

"was a key Architect of the Good Friday Agreement. They were very much a duo. Hume was the ideas man, Mallon his foil."

What a load of nonsense, he did his best to abort the GFA and Hume and Mallon never got on well and their relationship grew worse and worse over the 1990s.
 

owedtojoy

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The OP is peddling the false 'architect of the GFA' nonsense again. Mallon fought against the GFA throughout its long birth and particularly ballyragged Hume for entering into talks. He only accepted the GFA when the people of Ireland voted to approve it.
If Mallon was that much of a saboteur, he could have scuttled the GFA by resigning and taking on John Hume in public. There were plenty of people alarmed that the Peace Process would run into the sand with everyone worse off.

At the time, there was a lot of concern that Hume was moving too fast, and conceding too much, too quickly to Sinn Fein. It was a calculation on Hume's part to bring them into the limelight. Mallon may have been skeptical of that because in the end Sinn Fein were political rivals. It worked, but it was the SDLP that lost. Sinn Fein very quickly eclipsed the SDLP, once the Agreement was in place, and Sinn Fein claimed the credit for it.

Mallon was once the recipient of a memorable quote from Tony Blair: "It is a great pity, Seamus, that your crowd have no guns". Sh!tty remark to a man of peace, but with a sad truth about how Sinn Fein were regarded both by their foes, and by many Irish people.

Just by the way, Mallon remained always a deep admirer of John Hume, and openly said that John Hume was the equal of O'Connell and Parnell in their day.
 

Leinsterview

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A towering figure albeit that I disagreed with his closing argument about unionist consent for Irish unity (essentially an oxymoron).
 

seanof

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If Mallon was that much of a saboteur, he could have scuttled the GFA by resigning and taking on John Hume in public. There were plenty of people alarmed that the Peace Process would run into the sand with everyone worse off.

At the time, there was a lot of concern that Hume was moving too fast, and conceding too much, too quickly to Sinn Fein. It was a calculation on Hume's part to bring them into the limelight. Mallon may have been skeptical of that because in the end Sinn Fein were political rivals. It worked, but it was the SDLP that lost. Sinn Fein very quickly eclipsed the SDLP, once the Agreement was in place, and Sinn Fein claimed the credit for it.

Mallon was once the recipient of a memorable quote from Tony Blair: "It is a great pity, Seamus, that your crowd have no guns". Sh!tty remark to a man of peace, but with a sad truth about how Sinn Fein were regarded both by their foes, and by many Irish people.

Just by the way, Mallon remained always a deep admirer of John Hume, and openly said that John Hume was the equal of O'Connell and Parnell in their day.
I disagree with two of your points above, however I won't comment until after the gentleman's funeral.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam uasal Shéamuis Mallon.
 

ffc

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I always remember Seamus Mallon in the news during the dark years of the troubles. He took no heed of threat, whether from loyalist or republican, he spoke his piece. The people of his consituency, which was a hotbed of militant republicanism, returned him again and again.
When some terrible atrocity occured, when the army shot people dead before arresting them, when the IRA massacred people at Teebane or some loyalist murder gang rampaged into a bar, Seamus Mallon had the moral authority to condemn them all.
When retirement came, he stayed in his community, no jaunt to the House of Lords ( though I'm sure he was offered it) and died with his hands clean of blood.

I will remember him as someone who could proudly call himself a man of peace.
 

Estragon

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As I remember it, the incident which apparently got Mallon into politics was one where a Catholic family had been denied a home in Markethill. He went to make representations on their behalf and was told, 'No Catholic pig and their litter will get a house in Markethill.'

Markethill is one of those horrible little dumps in the north where fenians are really made to know their place. It's about 15 miles from my homeplace. Mallon, and indeed the entire Catholic population of that area, deserve credit just for sticking it out there.

That said Mallon, didn't seem to take the lessons from the experience one would have expected. He certainly had an enhanced level of self-regard, and maybe that played into things.

There was a generation of Catholics who just accepted that their lot was to be treated like filth. That generation has questions to answer about why they failed to confront the reality of what was essentially a latter day fascist statelet. Mallon was a product of that keep-the-head-down mindset and probably deserves some small credit for putting the head above the parapet at all.

It was bizarre that his most cutting invective was reserved for the likes of Sinn Fein rather than the sort of people who were day and daily making the lives of Catholics in Markethill a misery.

He never twigged the reason that Sinn Fein succeeded, that Catholics had been on their knees long enough and they wanted British and unionist dominance confronted. SDLP simply didn't want to do that. The image of Bríd Rogers litterally wringing her hands in Garvaghy as Trimble and Paisley marched up the road with police land rovers either side will forever stay with me as the defining image of the party.

John Hume said you can't eat a flag. But a fish supper isn't an identity either. Any fully formed human being needs both.

RIP Seamus Mallon
 

Glenshane4

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Seamus Mallon's mother was an immigrant from Donegal.

Seamus Mallon was a teacher in the Catholic Education System - a Denominational Cocoon in which people like himself did not have to run the gauntlet of sectarian harassment or sectarian discrimination. Hence their soft-on-Prod outlook.

He was a comfortably off middle class Catholic.

He lived among Prods.

Given all of these aspects of his background, it is hardly surprising that he was out of touch with the working class Catholics who lived in the urban ghettos or in the rural reservations.

He was more interested in a United Ireland than in ending Prod tyranny in Northern Ireland. That is why he is so popular among Eirefolk. That is why the SDLP were so easily pushed aside. The victims of Prod tyranny decided that the best people to do the talking on their behalf were the men who had done the fighting.
 

Glenshane4

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As I remember it, the incident which apparently got Mallon into politics was one where a Catholic family had been denied a home in Markethill. He went to make representations on their behalf and was told, 'No Catholic pig and their litter will get a house in Markethill.'
So far as I know, Seamus Mallon did not use his Parliamentary Privilege to name the person who made that remark about "No Catholic pig." He was more interested in pushing for Irish unity than in putting manners on the Prods. He was a typical middle-class Catholic with a United Ireland on the brain. He seems to have believed that a United Ireland would cure everything - everything from mouth ulcers to piles.
 

owedtojoy

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I can imagine Seamus Mallon saying in his blunt manner "No good turn goes unpunished".
 

de valera's' giddy goat

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He was a great man, a statesman who faced down all sides of miltants in the north and condemned them all equally.
 

mangaire2

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So far as I know, Seamus Mallon did not use his Parliamentary Privilege to name the person who made that remark about "No Catholic pig." He was more interested in pushing for Irish unity than in putting manners on the Prods. He was a typical middle-class Catholic with a United Ireland on the brain. He seems to have believed that a United Ireland would cure everything - everything from mouth ulcers to piles.
I reckon that you're incorrect about Seamus Mallon & a UI.
a UI wasn't a priority for him at all.
I understand that his view was that a UI should not happen until it was supported by a significant proportion of Unionists !!!!!

i'm sure that you understand that by definition a supporter of a UI can not be a Unionist.
 

Talk Back

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View attachment 22091

A giant of Ireland politics just passed away at the age of 83.



Along with John Hume, Mallon held the line for Constitutional Nationalism over the long agony of the Troubles, and was a key Architect of the Good Friday Agreement. They were very much a duo. Hume was the ideas man, Mallon his foil. In Irish terms, Hume leaned towards Fine Gael, Mallon towards Fianna Fail. Yet, Mallon was no narrow nationalist. He lived among a predominantly Unionist community, and that easy way with "the other tradition" greatly facilitated his partnership with David Trimble in the first NI Executive.

At least he lived to see the party he had served (the SDLP) regain a Westminister seat, though now a minority party in the nationalist community, and see the Northern Ireland Executive back in place after a long hiatus. We hear this greatly brightened his last days, as his health worsened after the passing of his beloved wife Gertrude in 2016.

My memory of a trenchant and plain-spoken man was in an interview, in the grim 1980s, with a reporter who berated him that the SDLP had no "Advice Centres" in his constituency, whereas Sinn Fein were opening many. Mallon fixed the reporter with a beady stare, and said "I had an office, and it was burned out. I had another, and I was put out of it at the point of a gun. Now, my Advice Centre is my own home. And I do not need Ben Dunne* Advice Centres is my constituency"

(* Supermarket heir Ben Dunne had been kidnapped, and (it is said) ransomed for a large sum).

We may never see his like again. May we never need his like again so desperately.
He lost the plot toward the end - on the one hand was for the GFA, yet on the other hand he was against it (the 50 percent plus 1 other green for Ireland vote).
 


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