The Fate Of The Navvies
As soon as I clicked Laban Tall's link, I thought 'I know this man'.
Not him personally, but I've met a thousand Paddy McGees, and have even been related to a few of them; the devout Catholic shop steward, probably oldest Old Labour, probably likely to do anything to help anyone else and possessed of an innate sense of fairness, born of a very deep and universal sense of right and wrong, that makes them as stubborn as mules in the face of real or perceived injustice. Many are like Ents, rooted to the ground on which they were born. I would imagine Martin Meenagh knows quite a few of the type as well.
Mr. McGee is now dead, having been decapitated on his doorstep in Manchester. The motive for the killing may have been a neighbourhood noise dispute. His killer violated his mortal remains, dumping his head in a bin. A man is reported to be in custody.
Decapitation is not a particularly Anglo-Irish way of despatching your foes, or hasn't been for at least a few centuries. James Higham has posted a piece which begins, "These names - Bilal Abdulla, Mohammed Asha, Kafeel Ahmed, Hasib Hussain, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Mohamed Atta, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khaled al-Harbi, Shamil Salmanovich Basayev, Osman Larussi, Yacine Benalia, Kamel Rabat Bouralha, Imam Samudra - they're all Jewish names, aren't they?" I titled my own thoughts on the 2006 airliner plot, "I Couldn't See Paddy O' Shaughnessy". Yet one cannot draw conclusions until all the facts are known.
Paddy McGee was one of the last of a particular civilisation - the navvy. They were as stubborn as hell, but many had good hearts and did good things. He didn't deserve to go to God that way. I only hope he didn't suffer.
O Lord, grant eternal rest unto your son Patrick, and may perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace; and may his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.