Spotlight shone on the dark heart of republicanism
Dispassionate viewers of the recent BBC Spotlight programme on Thomas 'Slab' Murphy will be left wondering just why any political party would wish to be seen to be covering for this man.
The description of Murphy's IRA influence in south Armagh and beyond was an eye-opener.
There were allegations that successive British Governments have turned a blind eye to republican criminality, most notably revenue evasion, to manage the peace situation.
It is alleged that the IRA continue their illegal activities, which include the poisoning of the water in the various rivers as a by-product of fuel laundering and the subsequent sale of illegal fuel.
Gangsters in the past have been caught by the authorities for tax evasion and this was the tactic used by the Dublin authorities to bring Murphy down.
This man has been found in possession of thousands of litres of illegal fuel and his involvement in that trade should be condemned.
Murphy may have paid a part in the peace process, but he played a much greater role in the campaign of terror.
The Sinn Fein leadership may want to keep him close, because of what he knows of the workings of the IRA army council and past deeds of certain senior Sinn Fein personnel.
Spotlight performed a public service in reminding the electorate in both Northern Ireland and the Republic what lies at the dark heart of the so-called "republican movement".
It is that dark heart that needs to be examined in detail before a single vote is cast.
ROSS HUSSEY (UUP)
MLA for West Tyrone