Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A political bombshell

The Pert Young Piece (for new readers, that's Malcolm's youngest daughter) regaled the dinner table with the odd bit of "news". Her university mate, a young subaltern in the British Army, had volunteered for bomb disposal. A messy job, and potentially personally more so, but someone has to do it. Since she regards the mate as being high-strung and reckless anyway, she does not see bomb-disposal as his best career option.

That ties in, albeit approximately, with a thread running on (where Malcolm finds he has just qualified as a "Senior Member". This thread runs under the headline (note the exclamation point) of:
FF Senator suggests Brit army operate in 26 Co.'s !
Inevitably this was regarded by many comers as treason of the highest order.

It seemed, to say the least, a curious story. So Malcolm checked it out. He found, inevitably, it was not all that it seemed, or had been presented.

He went looking for the on-line Derry newspapers. He was unable to satisfy the hard-liners with any account in the Derry Journal, which seems to have missed this story. Across the Great Divide, in the Londonderry Sentinel, there was this:
Fianna Fáil senator Cecilia Keaveney made the call for cross-border co-operation between British and Irish army bomb disposal units following separate alerts in Letterkenny and Bridgend at the weekend.
That's after:
  • a potential car-bomb caused havoc on the border at Bridgend;
  • a device was found, and detonated in a Pearse Road, Letterkenny, "Head Shop".
Got that, patriots all?

Not the whole British Army (who are otherwise engaged, and a trifle over-stretched, at this juncture), just one technical detachment.

Not on a unilateral basis, either. Senator Keaveney expects two-way traffic.

Malcolm is sure either side could do it in plain overalls and send the bill, should that be the wish.

Since the Irish Defence Forces are likely to have been trained, in part or in whole, by their UK counterparts, and there is no copyright on knowledge in such a specialist trade, we can be reasonably asssured there would be adequate expertise on either side.

What stuck in Malcolm's craw was the pettiness and deceit of the original posting, and the froth and mendacity of the subsequent contributions (which had to include gratuitous sexism and much else).

Is he the only one who recalls the days when Irish fishermen had to be rescued by RAF helicopters and RN patrols? Isn't it grand the Irish forces can now repay the compliment, in some small part? On the other hand, for true patriots it would be an honour to be blown to blazes by a good guaranteed-republican IED!

Moreover, since the nearest (only?) base for the Irish Defence Forces bomb disposal team is Athlone (some 120 miles and 3½ hours away), Senator Keaveney of Donegal may have a point.
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