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We must accept that terrorism was never justified

Published 05/10/2015

Firstly, we congratulate Emma Pengelly on being selected as the new DUP MLA for South Belfast and we wish her well in her new role.

Those reading Ms Pengelly's comments (News, September 30) may well remark that the words used are quite reflective, fair and realistic, but critically there is a component missing.

Until this society and the individuals who live therein accept that, whatever "politicised days" there were, there was never a justification for the use of terrorism, or criminal violence, then genuine reconciliation will not be possible.

Society must be embedded with a mindset that, when one neighbour wrongs another, they must then engage in a process of the "three Rs" - demonstrate remorse, show repentance and engage in restitutive acts.

Only when these processes have been worked through is individual and societal reconciliation possible.

The IRA, INLA, UVF and UDA and their brothers and sisters in arms are not paramilitary organisations; their foundation stone was - and, to some extent still is - the inflicting of terror upon others as a means of either furthering or defending their so-called "political objectives", or protecting their criminal empires and wealth.

We agree that, because someone has a criminal past, this does not and should not prevent them from having a future, but that future should be prefaced upon an acknowledgement by that individual that the criminal acts in which they were involved were wholly wrong.

There should never be an effort on their part (or on others) to explain away, or excuse, their actions as being either inevitable or acceptable because of external factors going on around them.

KENNY DONALDSON

Innocent Victims United

Belfast Telegraph

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