2 November 2000 Edition
Don't take us for fools
Wasn't Saturday's outcome at the UUP ``meeting and subsequent end result'' interesting to say the least! One can only derive that this was a very well-orchestrated engagement indeed. While Trimble and co-conspirator, meaning Donaldson, are attempting to rewrite the Good Friday Agreement, Mandelson has publicly stated that he doesn't ``oppose a review of the Agreement'' and has the audacity to tell us ``not to overreact''. And why, we must ask ourselves. Why?
Does the whole issue of power sharing not go deeper than what is being portrayed by the unionists and indeed, Mandelson? Is it not obvious to the people on the ground that the unionists are only using the issue of IRA weaponry, as a stalling tactic, so as to crash the whole peace process?
Isn't it obvious that after years of unionist domination in the north of Ireland, that they point blankly refuse to work with our elected representatives? Meanwhile, Trimble will hold tight to the £380,000 that was presented to him, following his award as a ``Nobel Peace Prize winner'' in October 1998. Ironic, isn't it!
The big ``D'' word that we continually hear being bandied about, is decommissioning - a word that is not listed in the English language dictionary. However, when you look up the word commission and view the term ``out of commission'' it clearly states the meaning as ``out of active service or use''. Is this not what the IRA have done with their weaponry and by allowing arms inspections? Who is inspecting the weaponry of the British Army, RUC, RIR and loyalist paramilitaries, plus the ``reported'' 350,000 ``legally'' held guns?
It would appear that the weaponry that still remains in the hands of the British Army, the RUC, the RIR, and the too many loyalist death squads has been conveniently forgotten about. Not to mention the buried issue of demilitarisation, which in the English dictionary clearly states ``to strip of military forces and weapons''. Demilitarisation is an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement and to date has not been implemented.
In fact, on Friday, on the eve of the UUP's meeting, the British Army press office issued a statement advising that the Lookout Post at Cloughogue had been removed. One only has to visit Cloughogue and view the monstrosity that still sits majestically on the hill spying on our every move.
Who are they all out to fool?
Toni Carragher (Mrs)
Secretary and PRO
South Armagh Farmers and Residents Committee
`Belittling' by Orange Unionists
I have been listening to the various Orange/Unionists (O/U) Assembly members over the weekend and the measured responses by Sinn Féin and the SDLP to the demands for complete disarmament at the instigation of upstarts like Donaldson, Ross and Co. Do these people not realise that it is not within their prerogative to demand anything and that talks on such are only in the preserve of the IRA and British Government via the interface meetings with the General?
It would appear to me that the Orange/Unionists must be taken down a peg or two and once and for all put in their place. They must be made to understand that they no longer call the shots on how we, the people of this island, are to live our lives, (they forfeited that right after 50 years of misrule) and that they are now part and parcel of a collective group that share equal rights and can equally command the same influence/power.
They are there to discuss ways of moving us forward to a peaceful solution to our problems and not, as their deeds and performances suggest, to raise one obstacle after another before the peace we all so earnestly desire is achieved.
I particularly dislike the method and manner by which the Orange/Unionists endeavour to present themselves as being hard done by and desiring to be seen as the most reasonable of people. The tuppence halfpenny worth by McGimpsey, who called the Sinn Fein response hysterical, as if it was a naughty child he was talking about and to, is typical of the contempt with which he and his party regard the tenacious steps taken by republicans in their contribution to bring about a meaningful peace. Trying to put Sinn Fein into a preposterous position as if they were not in control of their own emotions is both arrogant and bizarre, as too is the attempt by all shades of unionism to poo poo as minimalist the IRA's decision to allow an independent inspection of its arms dumps. This itself was an unprecedented milestone in republican history and deserves greater recognition.
In my considered opinion, I think it is about time that Sinn Fein took the bull by the horns and exposed these people (Orange/Unionists) in the true position that they occupy, by which through subtle subterfuge it is their remit to destabilise and dismantle the whole procedure. Their attitude must be continually disclosed to the public and Sinn Féin must treat them as ostensible enemies (which they undoubtedly are) and not mislead the world into believing that there might be a degree of mitigating friendship between them, however fragile.
The whole exercise is one huge smokescreen for non-power sharing and that is where the real difficulty for the unionist brethren lies. If truth be told, the demands for disarmament are like the many other facile impediments contrived by the (O/U) are merely a mechanism to postpone the inevitability of them having to stare Nationalists and Republicans in the eye as equals. It's not decommissioning that is their greatest difficulty, it's peace itself and the baggage that comes with it.
P.S. The continual sniping by some media types in playing the blame game beggars belief. Irrespective of whether or not they think they are being objective and even handed in apportioning fault for each succeeding crisis, their failure to do so is incredible. One has only to listen to Thompson, Caruthers and Nesbitt doing battle with Donaldson, Paisley, Ross and co. in the accountability war that we get a fairly good picture of their objectivity. Was it not significant that Donaldson suffered a complete mental block to the three deaths on the Shankill within as many weeks, plus the three deaths in Portadown that led up the loyalist feud, but yet was able to recall in detail all the allegations laid at the door of the IRA since the calling of the `94 ceasefire and all without one jot of evidence.
What is equally reprehensible is that certain sections of the media appear to be suffering from the same amnesia condition that afflicts Donaldson and his kind. It is almost as if they were afraid to admit that since the process of peace began it is loyalist guns that have done most of the barking. If this is not the case, then I wish someone from the media would explain to me why is it that they refuse to publicly criticise the Orange/Unionists' partiality in the case surrounding the issue of guns. The recent death of Joe O' Connor is a prime example of letting one section of the equation off the hook. On that note it would be in the interests of all concerned if republicans, active or otherwise, challenged the media's credentials on this type of reporting and not add to its misguided preconceptions by giving it unqualified support.