Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

IRA meted out abuse to children over decades

I would like to congratulate Malachi O'Doherty on his interesting assessment of the recent revelations about Gerry Adams father and wider family (December 22).

Like Malachi I was interested to hear Gerry Adams claim that his father besmirched the honour of the republican movement by his actions. To me the child abuse meted out by the IRA over the decades of the troubles was as bad if not worse.

Many children were murdered by republicans in no-warning car bombs, shot in botched operations, mutilated in planned operations. Ironically to Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein leadership, these actions were in someway glorious, but his father's activities were "beyond the pale".

But why? Why was the action of Gerry Adams Snr more reprehensible than the murder of a baby on the Shankill or a young girl in Claudy? Why was it all right to take a young person and cripple him for life?

Why is one morally repugnant to the honour of the republican movement and the other not? Maybe the truth is harder to live with. Most perpetrators do not see their actions as wrong - there is always a logical (to them) explanation.

Probably most IRA leaders didn't, and still don't, see the murder of children or the maiming of young people as wrong or as abusive, as long as it was done for the 'cause'.

Other activity done for personal gain or gratification is reprehensible, but the 'cause' negates normal morality. Is this the explanation? Are the motivations of the perpetrator more important than the sufferings of the victim?

This whole episode, coming alongside the revelations of the warped logic and behaviour of the Catholic Church, does call for a re-examination of what happened over the last four decades.

It calls for a much wider and deeper examination of what motivated those who plunged Northern Ireland into decades of misery.

RICHARD WILSON

Ballynahinch

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