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Shannon in no position to offer wise counsel

DUP MP Jim Shannon, in a strident critique of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness's condemnation of the Orange Order, refers to Mr McGuinness's statement as "an absolute disgrace" (Write Back, January 23).

Perhaps Mr Shannon should relieve himself of post-unionist hegemony angst and adopt a more relaxed attitude to the new power-sharing political structures in the north. Times have changed. May I suggest to Mr Shannon that before he looks down his moral political nose at the perceived offence by Mr McGuinness, he should reflect on his own political involvement with both the DUP and the Orange Order, both of which tolerated to excess every social, moral and political delinquency which in most civilised societies would be a cause of opprobrium. The monolithic combination of unionism and the Orange Order rendered moral and social responsibility obsolete in their treatment of almost half the population of the north from 1921 until Stormont was prorogued in 1971.

For half-a-century, Catholics/nationalists were imprisoned in politically constructed ghettos, were denied equal access to jobs and to ensure the unbridled continuation of this odious policy, were denied equal voting rights.

How can one who has aligned himself with an organisation so entrenched in illiberal views criticise others, or indeed offer wise counsel?

TOM COOPER

Chairperson, Irish National Congress

Dublin

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