In Saturday’s News Letter (14th July 2012) a report, written by Political Correspondent, Sam McBride, featured comments made by former aide to David Trimble and Irish Senator, Eoghan Harris, where he said that opponents of terrorism south of the border have “utterly failed” in their 40-year-bid to counter the justification of republican violence.
The report refers to Mr Harris’ regular column, appearing in the Sunday (Irish) Independent the Sunday previously, where he likened the grip of Sinn Fein over voters to that which Scientology has over its adherents.
He argues that Sinn Fein, south of the Border, are ‘winning the hearts and minds of young Irish voters’, who know little or nothing about their bloody past under the guise of the Provisional IRA.
He said that few people, namely media outlets (citing RTE), failed to challenge the Sinn Fein histoprical narrative of what Northern Ireland was like prior to peace. He argues that the Sinn Fein, or McGuinness, narrative was that the IRA fought a just campaign against a regime equated to that of the Nazi state, whereby British soldiers oppressed the Roman Catholic population and that the only response was one of armed struggle.
Whilst Mr Harris refers to the Republic of Ireland perhaps it is time that this narrative was challenged closer to home. I know of many young people, now in their twenties, who do not remember or even know anything about the scale or intensity behind the IRA murder campaign. Sinn Fein and the IRA must be held to account and one example of this is that in any criminal proceedings against the Paratroopers in the dock for that fateful day in January 1972 Martin McGuinness (who appeared before the Saville Inquiry) must also be subject to any investigation about his movements that day, commonly referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday‘. Unfortunately that day was a mirror of many many more in the years to come. This coming Friday (21st July 2012), for example, marks the fortieth anniversary of ‘Bloody Friday’, which no doubt will only be remembered in the hearts and minds of those who were victims of it, injured or not, and not remembered by large scale parades complete with banners and so forth, nor plays.
It is said that history is made by its victors; well Sinn Fein and the IRA did not win, they are just living up to reality in acceptance of the fact that it is difficult to get the ‘Brits’ out of Ireland because they live here, and are not on holiday. It is therefore up to Unionists’ and historians to stay strong and respond with the facts and outcomes of IRA terrorism.
Harris story online at: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/local/irish-youth-fall-for-ira-story-1-4059265. Written by Sam McBride: http://twitter.com/SJAMcBride
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