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18 August 2005 Edition

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Unionist silence will not do

The MP for the area Ian Paisley has been silent as nationalist homes and businesses as well as Catholic churches and schools are systematically destroyed in his constituency. Where else in Europe would such a situation and such silence pertain without a public outcry?

In Belfast the UVF continues, with impunity, to mow down its rivals in the LVF. There have been four murders in the latest round of feuding so far. The myth that unionist paramilitary violence is purely a reaction to the IRA stands exposed as never before.

Meanwhile PSNI officers do not even try to disguise their indifference towards the nationalist victims of unionist paramilitaries. In one incident this week they did not even bother to collect vital evidence at the scene of a potentially lethal pipe bomb attack.

Against the backdrop of recent developments such as the IRA announcement of an end to its armed campaign and with the need to maintain forward momentum in the Peace Process, there is now an urgent need for a focus on the dependent relationship between political and paramilitary unionism. How long are the leaders of unionism to be allowed shirk their responsibility towards exorcising the paramilitary spectre in their midst?

Furthermore how can nationalists be asked to have faith in a police force who have demonstrated impotence and indifference to ongoing loyalist violence?

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