20 October 2005 Edition
Home truths and unionists
The response to Fr Reid's Nazi comments should precipitate a frank debate on the supremacist streak which runs deep within political unionism and which remains the most fundamental obstacle to progress in this society. There is a compelling need to address the substantive matter of what both Mary McAleese and now Fr Reid got into trouble for addressing.
To this day, unionist political leaders abjectly refuse to acknowledge that the state created by partition was an unjust one-party state, maintaining unionist supremacy and suppressing expressions of the nationalist identity with whatever means were required. The nearest most unionist politicians come is to suggest that, if there did exist discrimination, it was directed against all working-class people, Catholic and Protestant.
Political unionism retains an undiminished supremacist streak to this day, the manifestation of which is there for all to see in the continuing demands to march through Catholic areas; in the obscene protests outside of Carnmoney Cemetery, Harryville Chapel and Holy Cross Girls Primary School; in the refusal of unionist politicians of all hues to share power at local government level; in the tolerance and indeed encouragement of the shamefully intimidatory practice of erecting loyalist flags outside Catholic homes, schools and businesses and, ultimately, in the annual renewal of these supremacist vows during the marching season.
The use of the term 'Nazi'‚ by Father Reid may have caused understandable upset amongst some unionists but it must not dissuade people from making honest observations. Given the summer we have just come through, where unionist paramilitaries unleashed their viciousness on Catholic communities amid 'blood and thunder' rhetoric and hand-wringing from unionist politicians, some blunt home truths were never more necessary.
Unionists need to disarm
An Fhirinne, the Campaign to uncover the truth about collusion between unionist death squads and the British Government warmly welcomes the IRA decision to put all its weapons beyond use. This decision focuses attention on the other armed groups that have not yet disarmed, the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance.
These groups were re-organised and re-armed by the British Government and its agents in the RUC Special Branch and British Military Intelligence in the late 1980s with weapons from South Africa. Within six years 229 Nationalists, Republicans and others were murdered by these death squads. Where are those weapons now?
The UDA and UVF lost many of their weapons yet Ulster Resistance, set up and given political cover by Ian Paisley, has managed to maintain most if not all of its weapons.
Given that British Military Intelligence and PSNI Special Branch have been in control of these weapons through their agents in the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance can we now expect these weapons to be put beyond use?
Those weapons murdered our relatives, friends and loved ones. Natural justice cries out for them to join the weapons of the IRA and be put permanently beyond use before they are used to kill again.
Are these weapons still being used in the ongoing UVF/LVF feud or in the recent murder of former UDA leader Jim Gray?
We, the families of those murdered as a result of the policy of collusion, await with interest the outcome of the British Government's call for the unionist death squads to join the decommissioning process and put their weapons beyond use.
British demilitarisation in the Ireland has been a complete farce. Empty promises made by the British Government have yet to be fulfilled. The British war machine in the North is currently is as strong as it was in the 1970's '80s or '90s.
Given recent developments, the British can no longer shy away from the issue of demilitarisation. Irish republicans have given 100% commitment throughout the Peace Process. The British must do likewise. They must dismantle army bases in the North and remove their intelligence gathering equipment and operatives from the Six and 26 Counties.
Ógra Shinn Féin are currently organising a weekend of events surrounding the demilitarisation issue in the West Tyrone area between 21-23 October. We are also actively recruiting new members. If you wish to join Ógra Shinn Féin or attend the demilitarisation weekend you can contact us on 028 82 25 30 40 or email on [email protected]
Britain, Time To Dismantle.
Ógra Shinn Féin.