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5 July 2001 Edition

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British must deliver

Almost two weeks ago, Catholic man John Henry McCormick was shot dead in front of his partner and four children at his Coleraine home by a loyalist death squad. Yesterday, 19-year-old Catholic Kieran Cummings was shot dead in Antrim by the same forces. They were killed for the crime of being Catholic.

Both men were brutally killed against a backdrop of ongoing loyalist bombings and intimidation of nationalists, including the harassment of schoolchildren in North Belfast.

In the circumstances, the rhetoric of leading Irish and British politicians over the past weeks conveys much about the sickening state of affairs in the peace process.

While David Trimble went as far as to resign from his position as First Minister over the issue, or non issue, of IRA arms, how many unionists have threatened resignation, or indeed any action, over the continuing loyalist attacks?

In the same way, the British Secretary of State, John Reid, has attempted to pin the onus for political progress solely on republicans. Yet he has made little comment on the actions of loyalists, let alone given any indication that his government is willing to move on its own commitments they made on demilitarisation and policing last May.

The RUC Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan, despite the abundance of evidence to the contrary, insists the UDA are still on ceasefire.

The only, insane, consistency through all of this is the attempt by the British government, the SDLP and unionism to blame silent republican guns for the crisis in the peace process.

Last May, the British government made an agreement with the IRA and the Dublin government, in which the IRA, in an unprecedented step, committed itself to co-operating with the IICD and working towards a resolution of the arms issue, in the context of British commitments.

While the IRA has been adjudicated, by the IICD, as having acted in ``good faith'' in fulfilling the promises it has made, it is the British government who have reneged. If anything they have conducted a remilitarisation of their garrison in the Six Counties, and scrapped the Patten Commission recommendations on policing.

For nationalists and republicans living in fear of sectarian attacks, which will undoubtedly intensify in the next few weeks, the posturing of the SDLP, unionism and the British government must seem incredibly out of step with reality.

Two young men are dead while Nobel Peace Prize winner David Trimble plays Russian Roulette with the peace process over a contrived crisis, outlined in his letter to UUC delegates last October.

The two governments, particularly the British, who have so far failed in its duty to the peace process, must now show the leadership and commitment necessary to secure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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