Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

No qualification on condemning murder

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and Declan Kearney, the party's chairman, have recently both issued qualified statements of regret for certain actions committed by the IRA during the Troubles.

Unfortunately, they've been careful to emphasise that ultimate responsibility lies with 'society, rather than republicans and, so, its actions were justified.

The IRA murdered 946 members of the security forces, 28 loyalist paramilitaries, 162 republican paramilitaries and around 358 Protestant and 198 Catholic civilians (642 civilians in total).

Loyalist paramilitaries murdered some 1,000 people – 718 Catholics, 156 from a Protestant background, 13 members of the security forces and 25 republicans.

The Good Friday Agreement created an opportunity for the main ideologies in Northern Ireland to promote themselves in a positive, inclusive way, rather than the past's negative, exclusive term.

Unfortunately, things haven't turned out that way. People are being let down by politicians.

Sinn Fein and others who committed murder should consider why wider society should forgive them. Peace was not their gift, it is the right of everyone,and we also have a right to expect that politics are practised constructively.

Once that question is answered, maybe we can progress on how we deal with our past. As for the border poll, we should park the possibility for 25 years and consider options then.

We can spend the intervening years working to unite the people of Northern Ireland. With proper leadership from all sides, such a vision is possible.

TREVOR RINGLAND

Holywood, Co Down

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