10 December 1998 Edition

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Hypocrisy unveiled

By Sean Marlow

The Tories are right. Why indeed should convicted killers be released early - very early? Not only have they not repented but they are rewarded by promotion in their killer gang. Not only have the killers of hundreds of unarmed people not decommissioned their weapons but they have taken up the gun again and are openly deploying them on the very streets where the families of their victims live.

Strange, then, that British Conservative NI spokesman, Andrew Mackay, and his right-wing ilk should have campaigned for the early release of Privates Thain, Clegg, Wright and Fisher when they had served only around two years of life sentences for murder.

Strange, too, that RUC apologist, Les Rodgers, should whinge about calls for a proper policing service from ``those lucky not to have been in jail''. Could he have been talking of those RUC officers who killed Samuel Devenney, the first victim of the current conflict, in his own home? Or those who killed Francie McCloskey, the first pensioner killed? Or the killers of the first child victim, nine year old Patrick Rooney, shot dead in his home? Or he may have been referring to the senior RUC Commander who admitted giving the order to shoot Nora McCabe with a plastic bullet while on her way to her local shop in the 1980s (and who was later promoted to Asst Chief Constable).

Or the RUC man who shot fifteen year old Seamus Duffy as he walked home with his friends in the 1990s. Or those RUC members who leaked details of nationalists to their loyalist killers. Surely, he could not have been discussing those very senior RUC officers who were in charge of investigations and ensured that not a single RUC member ever served a day in jail for any of these crimes?

Even stranger that UUP deputy leader John Taylor should be able to get away with arrogantly dismissing the right of SF voters to be represented on the new Assembly Executive and All-Ireland Bodies.

Taylor and much of the media seem to have conveniently forgotten that Taylor, as Minister for Home Affairs in the old Stormont, was in direct control of the RUC when they killed Samuel Devenney in Derry, Francie McCloskey in Dungiven, Patrick Corry in Unity Flats, John Gallagher in Armagh, 9 year old Patrick Rooney in Divis Flats, Samuel McLarnon in Ardoyne, Michael Lynch in Ardoyne and Gerard McAuley (15) in the Lower Falls.

All of these killings occurred before the IRA had been able to fight back as the 60s leadership had decommissioned virtually all its weapons, leaving nationalist areas defenceless in the face of RUC/Loyalist attack.

All of these facts are relevant in the context of the selective propaganda campaign around decommissioning - and again last weekend we had yet more ``security source'' inspired stories about Army Conventions and handover of Semtex.

It is obvious that most of the media commentators and 26 County politicians like Bruton, Quinn and de Rossa (who knows nothing of Official weapons) would wish to go on forgetting how the RUC and its political masters in the Unionist Party were responsible for the start of the troubles, while trying to impose bogus preconditions on SF's right to represent its voters.

The publication, then, of a new book by Fr Raymond Murray is timely. It is titled ``State Violence'' and details many of the almost 400 direct killings of (mostly unarmed) Irish people by British Forces. It also unveils the collusion by the British Army and RUC which provided loyalist death squads with the vital information needed to murder hundreds of nationalists in the 70s and again in the late 80s/early 90s after the more direct ``shoot-to-kill'' policy was (partially) thwarted by the Stalker/Sampson investigation.

Murray's excellent book also details the consignment of lethal weapons imported by British Agents from South Africa and provided to loyalists in the UDA/UVF/Ulster Resistance to enable them to up their killing rate.

If you haven't bought your Christmas presents yet, you could do a lot worse that getting a few copies of ``State Violence'', published by Mercier Press for £9.99, for your friends, relatives and yourself.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1