06 March 2006

We Say: Thundering hypocrisy


In a coded telephone statement to Daily Ireland yesterday, the Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the attempted murder of a Catholic taxi driver in Belfast on Saturday night and warned all republican ex-prisoners that they are now targets.

The attempt on the life of the taxi driver and the subsequent threat to ex-prisoners came in response to a PSNI raid on a North Belfast pub last Thursday evening when 17 men were arrested in connection with an alleged UDA show of strength in the bar.

The loyalist paramilitary ceasefires, first announced over eleven years ago, have always been a sham. Whenever it suited their criminal or sectarian agenda, loyalist paramilitaries brought out the guns and a long litany of murder and violence is evidence of that.

The outraged cries of indignation in the wake of the raid on that North Belfast bar were to be expected from the loyalists and their political frontmen, but that mainstream unionist politicians would parrot their anger is evidence of a sickness at the heart of unionist and loyalist politics.

The reason that the political process is stalled in the North is that the main unionist party, the DUP, won’t have anything to do with Sinn Féin because it claims the IRA is still involved in violence and criminality. Unfortunately the integrity and purity of their dogmatic refusal to engage is fatally compromised by their attitude to loyalist paramilitary groups which are still involved in the kind of violence that we’ve seen in the past few days. Unionist politicians engage openly and unapologetically with drug dealers and killers on a wide range of political and community fora.

This thundering hypocrisy exposes the lie that unionists are opposed to violence from whatever quarter it comes. By their silence and complicity, unionist politicians are effectively acting as cheerleaders for the loyalist killers.

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