Sunday, June 23, 2024

Irish National Newspaper: How Prince Andrew ‘appeased’ Lord Mandelson’s gaffe

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  • Professor Marie Coleman
  • Queen’s University Belfast

image source, Getty Images

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According to newspapers, Prince Andrew is said to have a better understanding of the situation in NI than Lord Mandelson.

According to a new report in the Irish National Newspaper, Prince Andrew “softened up” a mistake made by then Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson at a charity event in 2000.

Among the 13,200 files just released by the National Archives of Ireland is one that illustrates the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Patten Report is also featured.

The task of leading legislation to create a new police force fell to Mo Mowlam’s successor, Mr Mandelson.

He became Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 1999, but there were concerns about his level of interest and knowledge of Northern Ireland.

The state newspaper said Lord Mandelson, whom he had known since 2008, had a “strange, almost isolated feeling” that night.

He twice embarrassed David Trimble by confusing Harland & Wolff with shorts and asking “out loud” if Keelty’s father Jack, who was shot dead by the UFF in 1988, “was a member of the IRA”. I set it.

The “awkward silence” that followed was broken by Prince Andrew’s diplomatic intervention, “defusing the situation by saying there is no family in Northern Ireland that has not been affected by conflict.”

The newspapers also reported that the Duke of York had a better grasp of the situation at Harland & Wolff/Shorts than Lord Mandelson, and that he “appeared to have more knowledge about Northern Ireland’s industrial policy than the Secretary of State.”

image source, Martin Hayhow/PA

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Lord Mandelson with Mo Mowlam in 1999

When Lord Mandelson was appointed, Irish diplomats based in London considered him an unknown quantity when it came to Northern Ireland.

He has made little public comment on the subject, basing his knowledge largely on his experience covering events in Northern Ireland while working as a journalist for London Weekend Television in the early 1980s. Ta. He was not known to have many friends or colleagues in the state, except for journalist Mary Holland.

Whereas Dr Mowlam was seen as too close to nationalism, Lord Mandelson was expected to appear more neutral.

As a staunch Blairite, he was thought to be a “strong supporter of the Good Friday Agreement”, although he was not one of its creators, although he likely “will consider it in a more flexible way”. It would be ‘Rou’.

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Prime Minister Tony Blair and then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern signed the Good Friday Agreement.

By early 2000, the Irish government was dissatisfied with Lord Mandelson’s degree of neutrality and flexibility. In particular, they said his vague statements about the name of the new police service and his initial refusal to give the police a completely neutral new badge constituted an unacceptable departure from Patten’s recommendations. I was concerned about that.

Lord Mandelson resigned as Secretary of State in January 2001, two months after the enactment of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act, which established the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to replace the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). .

holy cross

The archives contain detailed daily reports on the situation, which began on June 19, and note “conflicting reports as to the cause.”

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Holy Cross: “I was at school and I heard an explosion.”

Loyalists complained that local women were prevented from entering and exiting shops by some men, while nationalists complained that Catholic men who were picking up their children from school He claimed that he was assaulted by loyalists who were planting a paramilitary flag.

Father Aidan Troy, parish priest of Ardoin, pointed to demographic changes as another factor, citing the recent increase in the area’s Catholic population.

The role of loyalist militias was also important.

Loyalists who had been expelled from the Shankill Road during the previous year’s conflict had resettled at Glenbryn Manor in Ardoyne and were ‘keen to stir things up’.

Father Troy did not believe the conflict was entirely one-sided and had personal experience with threats made by supporters in the area.

The newspaper reported: “He himself had stones thrown at him by young children while he was jogging, after they mistook his T-shirt for a Glasgow Rangers jersey.”

In the early morning hours of September 3, 2001, as schools reopened for the new term, Father Troy sought to negotiate a settlement with local Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) MLA Billy Hutchinson.

Father Troy is refused by Mr. Hutchinson to talk to “scum like you.”

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Colonel Billy Hutchinson now leads the PUP.

The priest attributed the intensity of Mr. Hutchinson’s words to Father Troy’s role.[a]”He’s a priest,” he said, but declined to say what other comments were made during the “tonguing” he received from Mr. Hutchinson.

“The words he called to me were unrepeatable,” Father Troy said.

The protests finally broke out in November 2001 after the Northern Ireland Executive intervened with a cross-community support package providing additional resources for schools, traffic calming, local transport, police and community forums. Canceled.

However, a brief relapse in violence when schools reopened in January 2002 after the Christmas holidays indicated that the situation remained unstable.

The school’s headteacher, Anne Tunney, said: “We deplore the fact that the name Holy Cross has become synonymous with bigotry and sectarian hatred and is featured in articles alongside Drumcree as synonymous with everything that is wrong in society. Ta”.

Professor Marie Coleman is Professor of 20th Century Irish History at Queen’s University Belfast.

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