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Unionists happily sit in government with former IRA members, yet condemn people like Dee Stitt

letter of the day: double standards

The ongoing controversy surrounding Charter NI chief Dee Stitt as to his eligibility to hold his position has rumbled on for a good number of weeks and has made uncomfortable headlines for the Northern Ireland Executive and the Social Investment Fund, which finances Charter NI.

The problem, of course, relates to the fact that Dee Stitt is a former UDA member who served a jail sentence and is also allegedly the present commander of the UDA in north Down and made comments suggesting that his local band would "defend" north Down.

Should this be a problem? In a normal society, it would be. But this is Northern Ireland and before passing judgment on Dee Stitt consideration should be given to the past activities of his critics, such as Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, former IRA commander and army council member. This, then, puts the whole controversy into perspective.

Retired RUC detective Norman Baxter - quite rightly - pointed out this inconsistency.

The sad reality is that, at successive elections in Northern Ireland, unionists have been willing to sit in government with Sinn Fein and former IRA members, whose terrorist backgrounds are much worse than anything Dee Stitt was convicted of.

Those unionists opposed to terrorists in government can, of course, continue to express their views on former paramilitaries being rewarded with such positions.

But those in political parties and the media who have supported the 'peace process' are in no position to whinge, or complain, about Dee Stitt, as this is a situation of their own making.


Traditional Unionist Voice

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