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Sinn Fein have no moral ground to condemn

No AMOUNT of revisionist gloss can paint the Provisionals in any better light than Cromwell's army, or the Black and Tans. All are guilty of horrific crimes against the Irish people.

The litany of atrocities is endless, but the IRA's bloody terrorist campaign additionally shamed Ireland.

Murder is a foul business, made worse by collusion, concealment and refusal to accept responsibility. Of the 3,600 killed during the Troubles, the IRA is responsible for 2,200 deaths. It murdered more Catholics than did loyalists.

The Provisionals were self-styled 'Irish republicans', but never in the tradition of Christian republicanism. Instead they were akin to defunct Russian, Italian and German versions, whose causes were Communism, Fascism and Nazism.

In common, they espoused a 'cult of the citizen' and put it above the laws of God and man. Citizen armies, despite terrible atrocities, were excused culpability on grounds that the cause justified the deeds, for example Cromwell's citizen army and the IRA. Thus a Sinn Fein chairman could publicly assert that the murder and disappearance of Jean McConville was not a crime.

Such cults are alien to the Irish. Before Christianity, we had Brehon law to redress wrongs against neighbours.

Even those who feared neither God nor man hesitated to deliberately harm a neighbour, because 'they would never have any luck.' Monsignor Denis Faul put it better: "They bear responsibility for that."

Denis Faul never condemned individual IRA foot-soldiers. Instead, he spoke against unjust methods approved by IRA leaders, with their false justifications.

He appealed over their heads, confident that ordinary Irish people would not abandon faith, culture, heritage and characteristic traditions of respecting the dignity and rights of others.

Now we have the irony of Sinn Fein leaders condemning repetitions of IRA tactics by dissidents, not on fixed moral grounds, but simply because 'the political context has changed'.

BRIAN ROONEY

Downpatrick, Co Down

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