The traitors v patriots slanging match, between supporters of the Real IRA and Sinn Fein, is based on the absurdly false notion that political violence is either good or bad depending upon timing.
Even for the ungodly, violence is a crime against humanity. Patriotism is best defined as true devotion to the nation.
It entails service, never domination of the community. Patriots include all working to repair the effects of violence, never those engaged in fratricidal use of bombs and bullets.
‘War should belong to the tragic past, to history; it should find no place on humanity’s agenda for the future’ (Pope John Paul II). Thirty years ago the Pope’s teaching, that violence is an evil and unacceptable solution to political problems was rejected by Sinn Fein. Now they say the context has changed, so violence is presently wrong.
The real IRA says nothing has changed, so violence will continue.
W B Yeats mused about living alone in a bee-loud glade: “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow”. Unlike those permanently wedded to violence and those now expediently divorced from it, real patriots continue working for real peace in a just society — no matter how slow it drops.