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5 June 2008 Edition

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The Mary Nelis Column

Mary Nelis

Mary Nelis

Loyalist arms beyond reach?

OLD SOLDIERS, like old unionist politicians, never die. They don’t even retire but move sideways into more lucrative financial pastures servicing the British establishment.
Most are put out to pasture in places like the British House of Lords or given the task of heading up a consultancy organisation or a commission or an inquiry. It’s all part of the ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ mindset of governments who rule by deceit, lies, bribery and corruption and who guarantee the continuation of the good life for the old boys’ network, for services rendered.
The good and the great delegates at the recent Queen’s University conference made much of the theme ‘Moving from Conflict’ to portray the Six Counties as a ‘normal’ society. It wasn’t all bon homie and back-slapping, though.
The decommissioning body, set up in 1997 to oversee the removal of weapons and headed up by General John de Chastelain, was put on notice by the British Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, who indicated that their jobs (which cost £2,000 every day for the past 11 years)  might just be coming to an end.
They haven’t delivered the goods. They have taken the money and more or less run from the unionist paramilitary organisations and their weapons of mass destruction.
What Shaun Woodward didn’t say in his softly-softly appeal to the UDA and the UVF was that his government had presided over the arming of the unionist paramilitaries and indeed supplied them with many of the weapons used to murder the citizens of this country for over 40 years and that the chickens had come home to roost.
Does Shaun Woodward take the nationalist community for fools?
We all know that it suited the British Government to operate a satellite army of unionist paramilitaries whose job it was to ‘kill Taigs’. The place is coming down with weapons, all in the hands of unionists, either through various gun clubs or in the arsenals of the unionist paramilitaries who more or less have told Shaun Woodward and the decommissioning body to take a hike.
So what plans have the British Government in place to remove from society both the weapons and the users they have helped to create and sustain? The threat that there will be no amnesty is a joke when unionist paramilitaries almost weekly continue to come before the courts on serious charges, including murder, and walk out again on the same day.
Mind you, it’s not all High Noon.
The UVF has said it has put its weapons “beyond reach”: does that mean on a high shelf or under the floor in some remote Orange hall?
UDA ‘Brigadier’ Jackie McDonald, close confidante of President Mary McAleese and her husband, has stated that decommissioning “is not even on the radar screen”.
It is a sickening example of the hypocrisy and double standards of the British Government to hear Shaun Woodward ‘appeal’ to unionist death squads to give up their weapons, knowing that it will never happen. That’s why we need the transfer of policing and justice powers.

An Phoblacht Magazine


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