Right Of Reply: Patrick Corrigan

A few days ago, I posted a bog “A Tale Of Two Corrigans” in which I noted that Patrick Corrigan, top man in local Amnesty International, made a very public speech last Saturday, criticising American record on human rights and foreign policy and still managed to be in the VIP seats at the Waterfront Hall just forty eight hours later….to listen to the American President Barak Obama. Presumably it was by invitation.
I contrasted this with the treatment of another Corrigan…Mairead Corrigan, who actually won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts with Betty Williams to bring Peace to Norn Iron.
The Nobel Peace Laureate was airbrushed out of the entire proceedings. Ironically the American President is himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
I do not know whether Mairead Corrigan was invited to the Waterfront.
I do not know whether she declined the invitation.
But I do know that while fellow Nobel Laureate Obama was making a speech name-checking John Hume, David Trimble, Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams….Mairead Corrigan was standing outside Belfast City Hall….protesting American foreign policy.
It seems she is the wrong sort of Nobel Peace Laureate.

Mr Corrigan…as I noted here…has blogged his speech of last Saturday. On his blog, I asked whether he had taken the opportunity to mention his concerns to President Obama. His reply is now on his Blog.

A couple of days ago, Mr Corrigan contacted me via Facebook and asked why there was a delay in publishing his right of reply. Apparently he has sent a comment on my Blog. It has not reached me. Mr Corrigan has stated that he will re-send the comment when he has time.

Let me emphasise as I did in the original post that if Mr Corrigan chooses to comment, I will be happy to publish it.

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28 Responses to Right Of Reply: Patrick Corrigan

  1. factual says:

    May I comment?

    Surely there were many people from the 1970s who worked hard for peace? I realise that Mairead Corrigan did a lot and got the Nobel, but getting the Nobel should not automatically put you at the top of the list of people who worked hard for peace in the 1970s? Basically it is very difficult to draw up a list of people to praise without leaving equally worthy people off?

    • Of course you may comment.
      But try not to talk such obvious shite.
      No offence but the very fact that Mairead Corrigan won the Nobel Peace Prize is recognition that she either DID do more than anyone else or at the very least WAS PERCEIVED as so doing.
      That she was flavour of the month in 1976, lauded in London (where I believe she was exploited) Dublin and Washington is a lesson to everyone that they can be cast aside and marginalised as Mairead Corrigan was …as soon as they cannot be patronised and exploited.
      Like it or not…Mairead Corrigan got the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to (among others) the people you hold in high esteem. And you seek to marginalise her for that alone.
      Shame on you. You are better than that.
      This nation (of which you dont seem that proud) has Nobel Peace Laurates such as Sean MacBride. Would you be happy if people sought to marginalise him because he was disapproved of in some British or Unionist circles?

      I cant disapprove of (say) WB Yeats getting the Nobel Literature Prize because he wrote crap poetry.
      I just have to take it as an honour to Ireland because people who know about that kinda thing say he was good enough.
      So whether I like it or not, he can be classed as an Irishman who actually achieved something.
      You cant begrudge Mairead Corrigan. Shame on you.

      • factual says:


        You have accused me: “Mairead Corrigan got the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to (among others) the people you hold in high esteem. And you seek to marginalise her for that alone.”

        Let me just say that this is not true. I don’t seek to marginalise her and if I did I would not want to protect the men of violence.

      • Nonsense.
        Your comment that it was difficult to draw up a list of worthy people without leaving someone out is bizarre. how can you leave a Nobel Laureate out of a list of people who have worked for Peace over forty years.
        Only three have managed it…Hume, Trimble, Corrigan.
        You are assenting to her marginalisation.

  2. hoboroad says:

    Mrs Corrigan was lauded by President Jimmy Carter who holds many of the Pro-Peace in the Middle-East views she does. I think the Israel lobby has something to do with this. They seem to have it in for Mary Robinson as well. Also men of violence really Factual you sound more like Margaret Thatcher everyday. A totally sexist comment and a gross insult to the women of Ireland who gave their lives for Irish Freedom.

  3. factual says:

    I think in broad terms we are all on the same page here. I think I must have misspoke as I certainly do not wish to airbrush the excellent work that *anyone* did for peace. I think that all those who put in outstanding work for peace should be mentioned.

    • No we are not on the same page.
      Necessarily that list would be very long and necessarily would have to be edited to include those who made an outstanding contribution and nevessarily by any standard would include a Nobel Laureate.
      It is shameful to exclude her from even the shotrtest list.
      And shameful for “Factual” to say that not everyone can be included.
      In doing so “Factual” demonstrates that she is not mature enough to see thru the narrative presented.

      President Obama makes a speech at the Waterfront where selected members of the Golden Halo sit in the VIP seats…and it includes Patrick Corrigan who 48 hours previously made a pro forma, off the peg speech about how bad American policy is.
      If the Americans took any notice of him, he would not be invited into the VIP seats.

      Mairead Corrigan for whatever reason was not sitting in VIP seats….which might actually be testimony to the fact that the Americans and their Israeli allies consider her much more effective than Patrick Corrigan and a thousand of his speeches.

      The narrative….which I did not accept because it was dictated to us by the British Govt and its cronies in the media…..in 1976 was that Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams were heroes.
      I refuse to accept the new narrative dictated by the British, Americans and Irish Givernments and the so called journalists in Norn Iron that Mairead Corrigan doesnt exist and that Hume, Trimble, Paisley and Adams were the (sole) peacemakers.
      To follow that narrative as “Factual” does slavishly insults Mairead Corrigan (and I have expressed reservations about the Peace People) insults the women on the Fals Road and Shankill Road …and simply insults peoples intelligence.
      note Slugger O’Tooles devotion to that agenda.

      Have we not had our intelligence insulted far too often by the the Governments, the disgusting non-journalists and an unelected cabal of letsgetalongerist and people in the Golden Halo of community relations.
      Enough is Enough.

  4. @Factual,

    “I would not want to protect the men of violence.”

    Who are they?

    • Mekonged says:

      Sionnach, I’ve moved back into camp believing ‘Factual’ is a troll. However, this troll’s narrative on engagement with Protestant Culture should be given more consideration.

      For all you Nationalist/Republican bloggers, I’d love to hear our ideas teased out in a podcast similiar to the Scottish INdependence Podcast. I’d be useless, and I know many still wish a degree of annoniminity, but it can only advance our aspirations to something more tangible. Marginalised voices such as Cael and Merle Taggart and the Irish Protestant I heard a forthnite back on the Scottish Podcasts would all be stimulating inclusions. Is Brendan Keenan of hostage pain ready to engage on Ireland. Nell McCafferty? Because as FJH indicates in the north and should be known in the free state, the agenda is still censored to support the status quo on this island.

      • Podcasting is something I’ve been eager to get into for some while on my own blog, both audio and particularly video. I have the gear but not the time at the moment.

        A monthly podcast from a Republican blogger would certainly be a great idea. FJH? 😉

      • I dont really have the technical ability.
        I have recorded things on this ipad and uploaded them on to youtube.
        But I think audio and visual could be a distraction.

    • factual says:

      You will see the context in the comments from FJH where he accuses me of protecting people involved in violence. Sorry about the sexist language- I agree that “people” would have been better!

      • I have done no such thing.
        Dont make up “context”.

      • factual says:

        Sorry, perhaps you did not say that. I should have quoted you to be a little clearer: “Like it or not…Mairead Corrigan got the Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to (among others) the people you hold in high esteem. ” I just want to make clear that I was not seeking to protect anyone persons (men or otherwise) involved in violence. Hope that clarifies!

  5. hoboroad says:

    There would be no peace here if not for the good work of Father Reid and Father Reynolds at Clonard. I didn’t see them at the Waterfront either.

    • Funnily enough, I was thinking exactly that over the past few days. Clonard Novena has started this week and I wanted to write something about it. …largely to bring a West Belfast “social” occasion to a wider (American) audience.
      Am always reluctant to bring “religion” into a blog…as I really dont want to get into wider discussions about Religion, the Catholic Church, Scandals etc.
      I even thought I could post a blog and request ” no comments”.
      Need to think it thru.

  6. factual says:

    FJH I would like to apologise. Clearly, I have got something wrong here, judging by the way you have responded to my arguments and points. I will study the contribution of Mairead Corrigan and reflect upon what you have said. My apologies again.

  7. @Factual,

    I wasn’t focusing on the gender politics in your “men of violence” remark. It was the remark itself. What person claiming to be a Republican (of any strand or background) would use that term? Even in the salubrious suburbs of Deilginis.

  8. Thanks for the plug for my speech at the Fairer World rally (link: http://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/belfast-and-beyond/g8-must-put-rights-heart-decisions).
    I meant every word and repeated its messages to anyone and everyone I met at the Waterfront speech event. That didn’t include President Obama (whom I didn’t get near!) but did include many local figures, including the Chief Constable, the Secretary of State and the Minister for Justice – to all of whom I addressed Amnesty’s questions regarding the scale and public messaging around the police operation directed at protests such as the march and rally on Saturday at which this speech was given. None of them agreed with me – I didn’t expect they would – but I made sure I seized the opportunity to directly raise our concerns anyway. I also used the opportunity to do interviews with some of the assembled international media and got a chance to repeat my message that President Obama should shut Guantanamo, etc if he wants to enhance his credibility on peace and justice issues around the world.
    In part, that’s my job: to speak out, lobby, influence, encourage, protest and communicate Amnesty’s human rights messages when and where we can most make a difference. Last week those opportunities have ranged from rallies outside Belfast City Hall to an invitation-only speech in the Waterfront Hall, to demonstrating outside the gates of the G8 summit in Fermanagh, as well as a public meeting of eight people in Antrim and a film screening about the G8 in Genoa to an audience of 12. Right now it’s hard to say which of those events will bear the most fruit, but my money is on the public meeting in Antrim, which marked the start of a new Amnesty branch in the area (contact us at nireland@amnesty.org.uk if you want more details).
    You ask how many of the trade unionists with whom Amnesty marched, were also at the Waterfront event – no idea, but I certainly spotted and talked to Patricia McKeown of UNISON. She too tries to never miss any opportunity to get her message across, even or perhaps especially if those on the receiving end would sometimes prefer that she didn’t. That’s her job too.
    As for Mairead Maguire – she is someone I am proud to call a friend and former colleague. Luckily for Mairead, she doesn’t do what she does to gain ‘recognition’. Whether on the receiving end of stone-throwing from republicans in 1976 or jail-time from the Israelis a couple of years ago, Mairead refuses to be deterred from delivering her message of nonviolence.

  9. For some reason I thought Amnesty International Ireland was an All-Ireland organisation but apparently not:

    “Article 6: Membership

    The Executive Committee may, upon receipt of an application and the appropriate annual subscription, grant membership in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution to persons and bodies supporting Amnesty International’s objects and methods as follows:

    (a) (i) Individual residents of the State of Ireland aged 12 or over; ii) Irish citizens aged 12 or over resident outside the State of Ireland either temporarily or permanently

    (b) Groups – established in accordance with Article 5(2) – based in the state of Ireland;

    (c) Affiliated organisations located in the state of Ireland; and

    (d) AI support structures based in schools, colleges, youth, and community groups.”

    From a quick search it looks like the British organisation runs the local section in the north-east of Ireland. I could be wrong but that is how it seems.

    • Certainly a few years ago…probably before Paddy Corrigans time…they gave me the impression that they were in a “no mans land” of their own making. Typical “dont say anything and maybe nobody will notice”.
      Certainly…entirely for badness….I have asked chuggers in Belfast and Dublin if they are an all-Ireland organisation and the answer doesnt appear on their script.

      Their record in Norn Iron is a bit chequered to say the least.
      In either 1969 or 1971 when the barricades were up, the Free Radio Belfast people gave out the phone number of the local Amnesty man…to get in touch with over arrests.
      It was the phone number of Basil McIvor the Unionist MP for Larkfield who was I think Minister for Community Relations before during or after Internment.
      At least thats my recollection.
      Notwithstanding the fact that this is an organisation which does great work around the world, they were and are absolutely useless in Norn Iron.
      They had or have the great opt out that they cannot act in their own “country”.

      My second son was trapped by one of their chuggers one time and signed up to the payroll deduction thing. He got a magazine thru the post for a couple of years but I told him to cancel it because they are useless here.
      Oddly local Amnesty is hosting an event in a week or so.
      John Bercow, Speaker of the British House of Commons speaking on LGBT issues.
      If Paddy Corrigan can get a VIP pass to see President Obama, I should get one to see Paddy. …and hopefully Sally Bercow. 😉

      • I wonder if a section was set up in Belfast that sought to be affiliated to the Ireland branch would it be rejected or accepted? The text of their Irish “constitution” could be interpreted to say yes in accordance with the Belfast Agreement.

        I agree about their record in relation to the conflict. Or lack thereof. Now that I remember it all of their reports on Ireland came out of the London offices. The preamble to this 1977 report is rather typical. Interestingly in other reports from other insurgent conflicts the words “terrorist” is not used (I stand to be corrected). Make of that what you will.

      • It always made me wonder why they were so respected in terms of the rest of the world when they were so piss poor in Norn Iron.
        I have tried to rationalise this by thinking that the young 1960s lawyers in Norn Iron would have registered USSR, Poland, or Paraguay or South Africa as human rights issues but certainly even to a liberal unionist lawyer, Norn Iron would not even have registered as an issue.
        Was thinking of this earlier today that specifically Catholic lawyers here…Michael Farrell, CLJ (Im on a train here and not thinking clearly) and London lawyers like Gareth Pierce filled the gap when Amnesty could not be arsed….except of course to raise funds for Chile or Saudi Arabia or Romania.
        So I have only limited respect.
        They stuck to safe issues.
        And Im inclined to think that the upcoming LGBT talk by John Bercow is actually a very “safe” issue.

        On a related topic…well kinda…have you noticed that last week there was a fuss about GCHQ.Eavesdropping was of course the norm here but was denied routinely. Now all of a sudden the English Public is shocked. And likewise express shock horror over Stephen Lawrence family today.
        But for us living here in Norn Iron…should we say “I told you so”

  10. wolfe tone says:

    Amnesty International=NGO. NGO’s funded by governments. sin e.

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