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The Troubles cannot be considered a war

Amazingly, the moral fog that Pat Sheehan MLA seems to get himself into in his recent interview (News, January 4) doesn't actually lead anywhere positive.

For all his qualifications and philosophising about 'the war', he misses the simple fact: there was no war in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 1996.

Regardless of what definition is used, the terrorist campaigns carried out by republicans and loyalists never added up to a war, not even a civil war, but as a politics and philosophy graduate, Mr Sheehan knows this.

It was a squalid attempt by political fantasists to change the political will of the people of Northern Ireland and Ireland by murder and destruction.

As for was it civilised? No one, other than a deluded revisionist, possibly someone seeking to come to terms with their own past, would even attempt to suggest that it was.

Without achieving even one of the IRA's supposed core objectives, the provisionals called a ceasefire and Sinn Fein mopped up the political benefits.

Armalites for Armani, cells for constituency offices, safe houses for Stormont; hardly the social, 32-county republic that was talked of.

Mr Sheehan's musings simply perpetuate the delusions of the republican leadership; self-justifying, self-praising, self-glorifying.

The campaigns of republicans and loyalists were nothing but shameful episodes in Northern Ireland's history. They will never be anything else and probably the most ironic silent comment of all comes from the man Mr Sheehan replaced.

If the so-called 'war' was so glorious, why does Gerry Adams so determinedly insist that he was never actually involved?


Portadown, Co Armagh


From Belfast Telegraph