The Police Farce (sic) Games

Of all the bad ideas….Titanic, City of Culture, G8 Summit, Poet Laureate for Belfast….the World Police and Firefighter Games is probably the worst since Justin Bieber and the MTV Awards.
There is the Olympic Games. There are regional competions such as the Pan-Am Games, Age related Games such as the Youth Olympics or Student Games….but it beggars belief that police officers and firefighters are competitors of genuine world standard.
It is of course true that Ethiopian double Olympic Gold medalist, Abebe Bikila was a police officer. And true that Geoff Capes, the British shot putter from the 1980s was a police officer….but there is no way that the 6,500 police and firefighters in Norn Iron this week are all elite athletes.
They certainly dont LOOK like elite athletes. Nor do they behave like elite athletes.
NYPD and LAPD cops eating pizza and drinking Smethwicks in West Belfast for An Feile is NOT Olympian.
The whole thing has the feel of an office or works annual picnic. A competition….RUNNING UP STAIRS (in Belfasts tallest building). It is at best a jamboree, harmless fun. I like the idea of harmless fun. And it is a happy coincidence that the Games coincide with An Feile…the West Belfast festival and various Sinn Fein types from the Mayor down get to show off their bonhomie.
If I know anything about American police officers and firefighters…mostly gleaned from “The Wire” and “Chicago Fire”, they all like an after-hours cocktail in bars called McGillicuddys.
So the opportunity to visit the Old Country in the guise of a major international sporting competition was too much temptation.
Yet it does have a serious side.
Yesterday as part of the nonsense, St Annes Cathedral hosted a service to honour those police and firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
And that surely resonates across the world. We recall New York in September 2001.
But this is….Belfast. Belfast, where three hundred police officers lost their lives between 1969 and 1998.
And leading the devotion to police officers who lost their lives yesterday was Belfasts First Citizen …Mayor O’Muilleoir. And nobody seems to notice.
No doubt some people from the Police Federation, the Prison Officers Association, and the RUC George Cross Association were all in the pews of St Annes.
But I suspect that in the rush to get as many Sinn Fein and other foreign dignatory arses on those pews, a fair number of RUC widows did not get invitations.
The service of their loved ones will be ritually commemorated but to all intents and purposes, they have been airbrushed out of the narrative.
They are inconvenient.
The War is Over.
Of course I am glad about that. And of course as a West Belfast Republican, I hold the RUC in contempt.
But we have seen too much airbrushing of people out of our History.
All in the name of Conflict Resolution.
It is a disgrace.
Two months ago President Obama managed to go thru a speech, name-checking those who had worked for Peace.
The young people cheered…Hume, Trimble, Adams, Paisley.
But no mention of Mairead Corrigan. Nobel Peace Prize winner from the 1970s.
I dont blame the young people for being gulled.
I blame those who are facilitating this obscenity.

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10 Responses to The Police Farce (sic) Games

  1. kalista63 says:

    A friend/neighbour of mine is ex RUC part-time reserve, who didn’t get the compensation the rest got. ” years ago, they tried to take a case to get their dosh but were told they’d have to stump up a large amount of money, so they turned to the Police Federation who told then to get stuffed, saying they didn’t have the funds, It then fell back on to the individuals but it wa too much for them to afford, they dropped the case. Even so, the guy still has his George Cross beautifully framed and proudly hung.

    I also know his former seargent quite well and have met a couple of their A’town police station crew and they’re a mess, save for one, who is flying high in the PSNI. They’ve told me about bigots that served with them but I cannot detect the slightest element of it from any of the ones I’ve met. Whiist they are almost all blatantly unionist (and why not?) one of them, the seargent, is now a firm nationalist.

    But anyway, we are not to talk about these people. They got their George Cross and can now just fek off in to the misery of ther drink and drug misery and let us all pretend, except when there’s political capital in it,

    On the games, watch the national news across all UK stations and have yet to see the 3rd biggest sports event (really?) in the world get a single mention. Just me?

    • I think the BBC are in two minds about it all.
      earlier today Kevin Magee, their Investigative Reporter (speaking at an Amnesty event today) said he cant get a straight answer on the number of competitors. Nor can he get a straight answer on the 25,000 visitors we were supposed to have.

      • SĂ©amus says:

        I think the BBC had a special programme on the opening ceremony. They’ve been reporting that there are 6,700 participants – about two-thirds of the target number.

      • I think 25,000 supporting visitors were expected.
        Certainly in Belfast this week the town centre seemed deserted. Of course the actual venues are widespread. But while it was possible to see the odd track suited Scandanavian , there wasnt much of an atmosphere.

  2. MPG ..... says:

    OK, a few points. As a serving FF/P in the Capital who has attended such events worldwide I would like to clarify a few things.
    The WPFG 2013 was awarded to Belfast many years ago in a selection process similar to the Olympics, I believe. I presume that it was a peace dividend to showcase the normalisation of life etc in the north of Ireland. Perhaps an August (marching season) event is ambitious but to be fair who could have predicted the December 2012 and Ardoyne events which were broadcast worldwide with disastrous effect?
    Attendances of 10 to 12,000 (plus many more family and friends) entrants are achieved normally elsewhere but because of the above negative publicity this is doubtful (I do not know the attendance). This number of visitors to a city such as Belfast would have enormous benefits. In fairness to the local organisers, they have worked really hard to try to get the message across. I have witnessed their efforts but there is only so much they can do!
    As for matching true Olympic performance level, well I don’t think that anybody expects that although many do. Firefighting and Police work can be physical and strenuous (among other things!!!!) so any event (excuse) facilitating wellness and fitness has to be encouraged and applauded. Firefighters are known to collapse and die due to lack of fitness in extreme circumstances. Can you imagine having to get up (god knows how many) flights of stairs with breathing apparatus on your back with both arms full of heavy equipment and when you get there have something left to effectively decide on a course of action and work to implement it (stair climb competition).
    This event is most certainly about contact and camaraderie and this will benefit the hotels, restaurants and pubs. Many friends will be made and these will be lasting and they will take their experiences home. The entrants come from all over the world. It was a good idea and still is to bring it to Belfast. If the circumstances were ideal the impact, social and economic, would have been greater.
    I’m on my way!

    • Youre here for the Games?
      Good luck from all of us.

      • MPG ..... says:

        Thanks. Back now but no medal. We did OK and were happy. I’ve plenty of opinions about whats going on but, as I still serve, I’ll hold my whist except to say that we stayed in a nationalist area well away from Belfast and the locals could not have been nicer and more accommodating. Up the Dubs on Sunday, its been a while!

      • Glad you enjoyed it. Glad they looked after you well.

  3. Political Tourist says:

    Well done to the Spanish lads from Marbella.
    Two sent off in a game, last i heard.
    Not exactly friendly behaviour.

  4. MPG ..... says:

    Heard some of that. There may be repercussions about it!

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