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27 January 2005 Edition

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The real criminals

Thirty years ago, the British Government formulated what was one of their most ingenious strategies, that of "Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation". Today, this strategy is still at work and has been refined to undermine the democratic mandate of Sinn Féin, by attempting to criminalise Sinn Féin on one hand and normalise the impasse in the Peace Process on the other.

Thirty years ago, the British Government formulated what was one of their most ingenious strategies, that of "Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation". Today, this strategy is still at work and has been refined to undermine the democratic mandate of Sinn Féin, by attempting to criminalise Sinn Féin on one hand and normalise the impasse in the Peace Process on the other.

The London and Dublin Governments, the police forces North and South, and some opposition political parties are active participants in this strategy.

These parties are trying to convince Irish voters that the breakdown in the Peace Process, the shutdown of the northern Assembly, the non-implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is normal politics. The denial of democracy is a 'normal' acceptable part of everyday political life. It is ok to have peace without equality, without democratic structures.

It follows then that we have 'normal' police forces on the island, when we clearly don't. How can we have a normal administration in the Six Counties when we still have the NIO, run by security interests, where the psychology of exclusion and discrimination is still the real norm.

Then there is criminalisation. The growth in allegations of criminality has been parallel to the surge in Sinn Féin's electoral success. Here is the irony, the more successful Sinn Féin is electorally and the greater the level of political participation achieved by the party, the more criminal it is claimed to be.

Yet this week it was a former Fianna Fáil Minister, Ray Burke, who was found guilty of a criminal offence and sentenced to a prison term. Maybe he will end up in the cell vacated by Liam Lawlor. Are his files for tax fraud stored in the same cabinet as Charlie Haughey's, or Beverly Cooper Flynn's? Will he be able to swap stories with Fine Gael's Michael Lowry about tax amnesties?

This criminality is all too easy to see because there is actual evidence, actual convictions, but for Bertie Ahern, Michael McDowell and others, it seems to be a case of hear no evil, see no evil. But the rest of us know who the real criminals are.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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