Not a good week for Belfast. A week that saw the burial of the city’s most influential and respected priest Fr Alec Reid, a week that saw the re-introduction of  vehicle checkpoints in response to the attempted car bombing in the city centre and a week that saw the build-up in tensions as Belfast braced itself for the festive flags season.

The most extraordinary headline of the week goes to the Newsletter which stated on Monday that “Sinn Fein leader Adams was sent by God”. Admittedly it did also have the words “said Fr Alec Reid”.

Gerry must have wondering what the world was coming to – with that sort of coverage from themmuns over at the Newsletter – perhaps there might be a United Ireland in his lifetime after all. 

But of course it was all too good to be true and it was business as usual with the media using the sentencing of Gerry’s brother Liam, as an opportunity to just keep talking about Gerry.

After a couple of excellent programmes on the Disappeared and the Army, the BBC, disappointingly, pushed out a re-heated, re-run of the controversies surrounding Gerry. A muddled programme that had the distinct feel for the need to fill the schedules and which (literally) cut and paste bits out of one it had prepared earlier (The Disappeared). 

Not to be outdone in the highly skilled art of recycling old (Gerry) stories or in the fine art of cutting and pasting, Mick (Fealty) over on Slugger combined the now less than tepid BBC offering with other old ingredients which were pre-prepared by his trusty lieutenant Pete Baker and his good self. Link below for a taste of this quality (not) cocktail.

Runner-up in the headline of the week has to go to the Telegraph which stated encouragingly that

 “UDA finished, says loyalist paramilitary terror group leader”. But any optimism generated by this headline would have immediately dissipated on reading the small (non-headline ) print –  which informed us that a process of splintering into smaller more violent groups was under way.

Comment of the week goes to “seamasbeag” who, in responding to the Telegraph article, reminded us of the basis for the nomenclature of Loyalist paramilitary organisations.

“A split means a new organisation and a chance for unionists to use the old fruit machine name deviser. You know the one I mean. It has Loyal, Royal, Unionist etc on one wheel, Orange, Protestant, Unionist etc on another and Force, Army, Commando on the third one. Pull the lever and hey presto The Loyal Orange Commando, or the Ulster Protestant Force. Brilliant!!”

Slán and remember there are only 25 flag protest (and bombing days) left until Xmas.