Belfast Telegraph

Favouring peace does not mean favouring murderers

By Kevin Myers

I was against the peace process: I was and am and will always remain against it, which is why I do not spell it with capital letters.

I am in favour of peace, but not in favour of conciliating murderers and I believe it is the first duty of any state to impose its lawful monopoly on the use of armed might upon dissident armies within its realm.

But the Republic chose to ignore this fundamental principle of any democracy and instead tried to deal with an insurgent terrorist force of the Provisional IRA by using various weak-willed adaptations of common law. The consequence was a conflict that lasted longer than both Boer Wars, the Anglo-Irish War and the two world wars combined.

So I bade a fond farewell to Garret FitzGerald last month for his contributions as a thinker: but I was silent about his role as Taoiseach, for which I feel much disdain, not least because, although he wrung the Anglo-Irish Agreement from the British (Sunningdale II), he did not, in exchange, crush the living daylights out of the IRA.

Throughout the peace process and the gruesome minuet beforehand, no one ever told the Shinners, firmly and unequivocally: “This is how we do things. We do not murder our purely political opponents. We do not break legs.”

But this didn't happen, with the outcome that someone like Mary McArdle has now been made special adviser to Culture Minister Caral ni Chuilin (or, as Eilis O'Hanlon pointed out in the Sunday Independent, just plain old Carol Cullen in her schooldays).

That was before she came over all patriotic and started dabbling in high explosives, when the Xmas Carol became the SemtX Caral.

But her current chum, Mary McArdle, went one better, with her involvement with the gang which carried out the cold-blooded murder of 22-year-old Mary Travers during a gun-attack on the Travers family as they left Sunday Mass in 1985.

This is how magistrate Tom Travers described his daughter's last moments: “At that time, Mary lay lying on her Mum's breast, her gentle heart pouring its pure blood on to a dusty street in Belfast.

“The murderer's gun, which was pointed at my wife's head, misfired twice. Another gunman shot me six times. As he prepared to fire the first shot, I saw the look of hatred on his face, a face I will never forget.”

Judge Travers told of how he and his family had heard the Pope in Phoenix Park say: “Murder is murder and never let it be called by another name.”

Referring to the later and quite scandalous Irish Supreme Court objections to the extradition of IRA killers from this Republic, he added: “These people [the Supreme Court bench] must in reality have believed that murder could be called by another name.” Quite so.

Mary McArdle was imprisoned for life for her part in this disgusting murder. She smiled and waved at her family at the sentence: clearly, a lovely girl.

Her co-accused was acquitted on the grounds that Tom Travers' evidence of identification might have been flawed. So much for the lie that nationalists could not get justice in Northern Irish courts.

After poor Mary Travers' sister, Ann, spoke out about her distress at hearing that the co-murderer of Mary had been rewarded with a prize appointment in the Stormont Executive, there were the usual sanctimonious cries from Sinn Fein that though the killing was ‘regrettable’, Mary's family should ‘move on’.

Better still, there came the accusation that, for victims' families to complain now, was to put the perpetrators at risk of retaliatory violence.

I know, I know: in Sinn Fein/IRA martyrology, the victims always become the culprits. Why can't patriots be allowed to kill as much as they want and then live in peace and prosperity, just as in the good old 1920s?

So the Shinners still luxuriate in their own selective amnesia, still furiously demanding enquiries into the Monaghan and Dublin bombings. And why wouldn't they?

Because no one in government — north, south, east or west — ever takes them by the scruff of their self-pitying necks, waves a mailed fist under their nose and tells them to shuck the fut up — or else.

Belfast Telegraph

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