Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Lindy McDowell: How can the Government turn a blind eye to Moffett murder?

Bobby Moffett (44) was murdered on the Shankill Road in an area crowded with shoppers

Is Raymond McCord mad? Surely it is a crazy thing to expect that the authorities, whose job it is to uphold law and order, would choose to clamp down hard on the leadership of any terrorist/gangster organisation(s) responsible for savage murder.

Especially when those authorities have the convenient “blind eye” option of an official Independent Monitoring Commission report which fails to recommend action against the terror group.

Victims campaigner McCord believes that the leadership who “sanctioned” (IMC terminology) the murder of Bobby Moffett should have their collars felt by the cops.

This is not actually an outrageous suggestion.

If you or I had been aware of plans to kill a man, if it was obvious that we could have done something to stop this and if instead we rubber-stamped the decision to proceed (as the IMC report confirms of UVF top brass) we could expect to be, at the very least, up on a charge of accessory to murder.

The IMC report describes what happened to Mr Moffett as a “public execution”. And “a backward step”.

Which is a neat exercise in the verbal sanitising of bloody reality: a man accosted in broad daylight on a busy street and half his face blown away as his head is blasted at short range.

“The murder,” the IMC report confides without a trace of irony “does call into question the reference in the May 2007 statement to (the UVF) becoming a civilian organisation ”

Yup. It does that.

It also calls into question how an organisation which has supposedly decommissioned can get its hands so effortlessly on the weaponry to carry out public executions.

And it calls into question why the Government tolerates this.

For the real shocker in the IMC report, of course, is not that it finds that the UVF leadership “sanctioned” the killing. (As if we didn’t know.)

What it reveals is that the Government itself also appears to sanction Mr Moffett’s killing.

You really shouldn’t have done it. But have this one on us, boys ...

That, put brutally, is the message from the IMC report.

The report, in fact, serves much the same role as a silencer on a gun.

It doesn’t nullify the damage. It just aims to keep it quiet.

So no wonder people like Raymond McCord who lost his own son at the hands — and guns — of the UVF is so very mad about the official response to this man’s callous and almost casual killing.

Shouldn’t we all be mad? Mad that there are so very few voices in public life speaking out to decry it.

If Bobby Moffett had been murdered by a paramilitary outfit from the other side, unionist politicians would have been hoarse in their shouts of condemnation and demands for action.

They’d have had to be. There would be votes at risk.

But when it comes down to what former Secretary of State Mo Mowlam infamously regarded as “internal housekeeping” it can be conveniently brushed under the carpet by all.

No point in rattling the bad boys’ cages.

Meanwhile the outraged but powerless people of the Shankill (and all those other areas where paramilitary gangsters continue to operate with official sanction) are left to their pain and their disgust.

Mad?

In every sense

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