Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Shedding some light on reason for disgraceful Knock deception

Knock shrine, Co Mayo

I refer to the 140th anniversary of the incident at Knock (August 22). It is true that the site has been visited by thousands of pilgrims since then and by two Pontiffs. And the incident was also verified by witnesses and officially authenticated by an inquiry which was authorised by the Church.

But that was like a fox directing an inquiry into his raid on a chicken shed. The real question about this low point in the history of the Irish Church is not whether or not this apparition happened, but rather who were the organisers of this disgraceful deception.

And having researched and visited Knock over many years, perhaps I can shed some light on this mischief.

The alleged apparition occurred just a few days after a major protest by parishioners outside Knock church on a Sunday evening. At the time a major battle for the hearts and minds of the people was raging between the Church, the Fenians and the Land League, who were organising massive resistance and a boycott of the grasping landlords who were charging exorbitant rents and evicting tenants who could not pay.

A prominent Fenian, Henry Curry, was refused the last rites on his death bed in Belcarra, because he refused to renounce the Fenians and repent for his involvement.

One of the landlords who was targeted for boycott by the Land League was Fr Ulick Burke, a priest in Knock. These events, the support for the landlords from the hierarchy and a controversial sermon by Archdeacon Cavanagh during the Sunday Mass, led to the protest outside the church on that Sunday evening. During the sermon he used inflammatory language in his condemnation of the Land League, the Fenians and their leaders. The protest that followed, which was attended by thousands, was a spontaneous response.

The scene on the gable wall of the church the following Thursday was identical to the engraving on a church window in Ballyhaunis 15 miles away which pre-dated the incident at Knock. Witnesses claimed that the event started with beams of lights in the sky. This would have been consistent with that image being focused on to the wall from a concealed location between the church and the priest’s house. Cavanagh was in his house in proximity to the church but refused to go out during its duration which lasted four hours. And no other priest went out to investigate the crowd that had gathered outside the church.

And who did the Church appoint to carry out the enquiry afterwards? Archdeacon Bartholomew Cavanagh.

Belfast BT11


Irish nationalism has been usurped by British counter-insurgents

Why are the people of Northern Ireland so willing to believe that the recent violence is being orchestrated by nationalist paramilitaries?

Given its targets – the Protestant community – it sounds very sectarian and unlike Irish nationalism. The recent adverse attention by the media to the actives of the ‘insurrectionsts’ seems to be very much in the interests of the English establishment. We nationalists always identified the British, not the Protestant community, as the true enemy of Ireland.

The Protestant community were not viewed as the real enemy because they were merely the henchmen of the British establishment. The targets towards the end of the Troubles tended to be the British mainland, as nationalists had long ago realised that wrecking their own environment would not incisively affect the enemy on an entirely different island.

Also, it was long ago recognised by the nationalist population that the only people who really benefited from violent insurrection here were extreme unionist elements. Any increase in violence made jobs for unionists and not Catholics. In short, it was made worth their while to be involved with invading UK services and militarism.

All the targets of the ‘nationalists’ recently seem to be entirely in the interests of the unionists and Conservative UK government. The recent resurgents appear to be influenced by older IRA or dissident republicans, who have no nationalistic insight whatsoever.

Do you not think that very strange?

I believe Irish nationalism has been usurped by British counter-insurgents and the black operatives. It is as if they are rewriting history to make it appear as if they defeated Irish nationalism.

Omagh, Co Tyrone


Propaganda, perception and truth

In 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran the west supported the invasion, even supplying Iraq with the chemical weapons which they used against Iran, leaving thousands dead. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the west took a different approach, maintaining that aggression couldn’t be rewarded, etc, and the United Nations was impelled to pass a sequence of resolutions resulting in the use of force against Iraq. (During the Iraq-Iran War the UN took a different approach by being mostly inactive or calling for ceasefires. Just look at the history of UN resolutions.) The impetus after the 1990-1991 conflict was then to disarm Iraq of its chemical weapons.
My purpose in highlighting these double standards is to show that the official reasons given for world events is in many instances pure propaganda but with just enough semblance of logic to make things plausible for a largely spectating and distracted mass public. Why then do we continue to believe officialdom? The answer is because of apathy, ignorance and arrogance – much of which is largely self-imposed. So, may I say a little self-consciously – people of the world: attempt to actively understand the world around you, you have nothing to lose but your ignorance and false perceptions.

Hillsborough, Co Down


There is no such thing as equality

Unionists claim that the mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Sean Bateson, is not capable of representing all the people of the borough after his tweet at the recent commemoration for hunger striker Thomas McElwee. Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann called for Mr Bateson to stand down as mayor and the DUP spokesperson Aaron Callan accused him of eulogising terrorists. Equate that with Arlene Foster’s high-profile statement in support of the Parachute Regiment in Derry recently. I haven’t heard any calls for her resignation from any shade of unionism.  Nationalists/republicans are fed up with the constant use of the terminology ‘‘parity of esteem’. The truth is, nothing has changed. There is no such thing as equality in this part of our country and it will never happen as long as the DUP remains in power.

Newry, Co Down


Expression of thanks

East Belfast Mission would like to sincerely thank the general public of Belfast for their generous donations to the charity’s street collection which took place in Holywood on Saturday August 10. In total a fantastic £211.99 was raised by the charity to support their youth activities and community summer schemes.

East Belfast Mission

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