Quotes Of The Night.


I am only home from a SDLP organised discussion on the “Good Friday Agreement….15 Years On”. I will be blogging about this tomorrow. It is after midnight and my head is still buzzing from the tour de force that is Seamus Mallon.

In honour of the Good Friday Agreement…let me quote Tony B Liar who said it was no time for soundbites before announcing that he felt the hand of history on his shoulder.

So no time for soundbites but let me give you some.

” I call no man SIR…I call no man MY LORD” (Seamus Mallon)

“Seamus Mallon is NOT a moderate..in the old days if you called him a moderate, he would probably hit you” (Frank Feely)

“Dont lose the capacity to be angry”(Seamus Mallon)

“The SDLP must not become a boutique party for intellectuals and pseudo intellectuals who like to hang around South Belfast” (Seamus Mallon).

Yes I did have a very good night.

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19 Responses to Quotes Of The Night.

  1. mekonged says:

    As the 80s progressed the inclination I received from Mr Mallon was that he would’ve felt much more comfortable with Eddie McGrady’s disposition towards ‘the risen people’ than say John Hume or Mr Feeney in North Belfast….any input on how the former giants of the SDLP relate to each other now in retirement?

    • I cant say that I would agree or disagree with that. I was out of SDLP from about 1982 to 2011.
      I have been at Conferences since 2009 and the old warhorses are a familiar sight, meeting up and seemingly enjoying each others company.
      Of course there is some frailty.
      But say people of my generation …I am 61….who stayed the course since the 1970s and became councillors or branch secretaries are used to the company of these people.
      But the young ones…and theres a heck of a lot of them….clamour to have pics taken with them.
      The great tragedy of SDLP is that there is a missing generation of 40-55. Thats been crucial.

  2. They dot make SDLP pols like that anymore. If memory serves me right, the Docor wasn’t much loved by those guys, especially over his hijinks on becoming deputy mayor at BCC despite it being notorious for discriminating against RCs in employment matters or is that all a fiction invented in my head? (it’s been a long week and I’ve survived man flu, just…)

    • I cant say for sure about Belfast Council.
      Youre absolutely right about Seamus Mallon. They broke the mold.
      What was pretty apparent is that there is a warhorse generation and I understand at least one is quite seriously ill at the moment.
      There is a secondary group of warhorses who fought the good fight in council areas for two or three decades and on some occasions stayed on too long or left too early.
      and there were a lot of young folks there last night.
      But somehow there is a missing generation of 40, 50 year olds…..the very generation that is doing well for Sinn Fein.
      sorry about the man flu.
      Its a killer…women just dont understand.

      • You hit the nail on the head FJH, that 40 something generation is with SF and I don’t think anyone at the SDLP has really asked why? What is it with THAT generation that they decided they’d go en masse to SF? These guys grew up in the 80s and became adults in the 90s, what made them turn away or not show up in the SDLP and go to SF?

        For me, SF moving into politics and seeking less compromise on issues of culture radicalised that generation, that and they became THE organisation, the only operation going in nationalism, the guys who basically rocked up and told the elderly north and south that they weren’t doing enough for their constituency (stoops or fianna FAIL for instance) and this was a very potent message, be that the SDLP has never really shook off IMHO.

      • I think the big names in SDLP got elected in 1969 and 1973…the warhorses ( men in their mid 30s say)
        but effectively there was no politics at Stormont or nearly twenty years so a whole generation never got into politics.
        I was 21 in 1973 and was out of politics by 1981or 1982.
        Mixture of changed Geography, Marriage and Disillousionment at there being no Politics.
        But anyone getting into Politics after the Hunger Strikes was inevitably 10 years younger.
        So say Hume, Mallon, McGrady, Hendron Rodgers are now in late 70s or more.
        But I think Politics is very much generational.
        adams is 63-64, McGuinness 61-62.
        And while I certainly think that SF has the advantage in top table terms but are …possibly making mistakes by co-opting too many inexperienced people into Assembly team.
        But Id honestly say SDLP have a lot of brilliant people in their 20s. Not sure how it will be for them in 15 years.
        To be honest FC, I havent rationalised it myself. Its just an observation.

        In GAA terms…SF have the better senior team but Is argue that it is past its best. They have the infrastructure but Im not convinced about their minor team.
        The SDLP dont have the infrastructure ( they are working on it) but they do have a brilliant minor team. Its that crucial 35-45 group.

      • It’s hard to disagree with a lot of what you’ve said FJH, however, I do wonder about the SDLP youth guys. I have met some of them from the South Belfast branch before and not wishing to pour cold water on things, I wasn’t too impressed with them as they didn’t appear to be the type of guys who are willing to do bare knuckle boxing. What I do know is a Shinner is always up for some bare knuckle boxing (literally sometimes!) and the youth wing are usually a lot more feisty than most youth wings.

        However, I do wonder about SF co-opting and will it prove a step too far. Not wishing to mix sports but they could become the new Arsenal by placing too much faith in a relatively young and inexperienced new wave. That said, it is obvious that they do place a lot of reliance on youth in the fact that they have just dropped the average age of their Assembly team considerably in one fell swoop while all others will have to do this in the coming years. We discussed the APNI for instance and noted they have a lot of MLAs who are in their or approaching their 60s and may have even come in on the 5th or 6th count. If they are not too careful they may have some trouble and lose some seats which I know would break your heart 🙂

  3. factual says:

    Is that John McCallister?

  4. factual says:


    According to Conor Clements that quote of Mallon’s was directed to Basil McCrea and John McCalluster, not the SDLP:

    Connor Clements ‏@connorclements : Seamus Mallon to @JohnMcCallister & @basilmccrea “Don’t be a boutique party for south Belfast pseudo intellectuals” #freshpolitics

  5. wolfe tone says:

    Infamous Seamus, as he was known when I was growing up, is in the same category as those other prominent citizens in this state e.g seamus heaney, rory mcilroy etc. They are quite contented to doff the cap to the british establishment. Mallon, although he could be critical of the brit govt,r.u.c, etc in his day, he always seemed to reserve most of his wrath for republicans’. Now he pops up along with brid to have a go at sinn fein over the ann travers affair. They can claim they spoke out for ‘all victims’ but it looks very much like a burning desire just to kick sinn fein. And in their haste to kick them they have now managed to kick republicanism. The bitterness emanates from the very fact that the people that used to vote for mallon are now voting for sinn fein. I on the other hand am bitter at sinn fein for selling out republicanism just to get the likes of mallons old job! Hats off to John Hume, he took risks for peace rather than sit on the fence and make a nice little earner collecting an MP’s wage. Mallon probably thought he could have kept his former seat in the family if he played his cards right.

    • I understand he is a pretty decent card player.
      John Hume certainly had a nice little earner as a MP…but then he was actually elected.
      And there was very little in the way of nice little earners for SDLP politicians when we didnt actually have any Politics.
      Not sure what your problem with SDLP is.
      Or indeed Sinn Fein.
      They put themselves before the people. Fair play to them.

      • wolfe tone says:

        They put themselves before the people? They didnt put themselves in front of the enemy. Infamous seamus was under no threat whatsoever from the british militia, as a matter of fact, the said militia operated from his jurisdiction and attacked and killed probable supporters of mallon. He used republicanism as leverage to enhance his own personal ambitions,that much is obvious. I didnt agree with Hume’s politics entirely but i did sense he was genuine. As for cahal daly?? He was just your typical cowardly kow-towing, power/money hungry public figure that unfortunately is rife in the nationalist community. He did what other irish church leaders’ did; he sided with the powers that be. Surprise surprise.

    • mekonged says:

      Exactly my thoughts Mr Tone. I see you also praised John Hume, whom in hindsight I now see as remarkable figure who held his principles and kept Derry City from completely dying as Strbane is now….Fitz, was there anything to the rumors that Seamus was so critical of the Hume/Adams dialog such that he was considering ousting John? Also, don’t want to speak for Mr Tone, but I respect integrity. Bishop Daly transmogrified into someone so bitter towards republicans that he ignored the British transgression at the Deery/McSheffrey funeral. Hypocrite! Cardinal Cahal Daly strongly spoke out against republicans, and when a dozen middle age to elderly men had their skulls and faces smashed by the RIR/UDR in Tally’s bar Galbally, he gave the strongest condemnation I ever heard of what was happening to ‘republican’ communities. Mallon silence! The response of SDLP strongholds to their neighbours, well look at Donaghmore – Galbally actually makes up half the parish – inviting the chief apologist of the UDR Ken MAginnis to be guest of honour to their annual dance. The war should’ve ended in 1973, but much of the benefits that accrued to ‘nationalists’ were as a result of sacrifices of republican communities so that the ‘Northern Ireland’ brigade of Donaghmore, Dundrum, Culmore, Malone can enjoy parity of esteem in their ‘wee country’.

      • mekonged says:

        Just to clarify that’s Bishop Daly of Derry diff to Cardinal Daly of Armagh who greatly surprised me in his condemnation of the Crown forces. And I’m sure Wolfe Tone respects integrity; my meaning there was whether he respects Archbishop Cahal.

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