Friday, March 04, 2005

Murder as a political football

Jude Collins on the use of the murder of Robert McCartney for political point-scoring:

Here, there’s a pub brawl and a man gets stabbed to death. Understandably his family want the killers brought to justice and do all they can to make that happen.

Normally speaking, such a case involving a murdered Catholic would elicit a deep silence from unionist politicians: spontaneous laryngitis sets in and speech becomes impossible. Similarly with politicians from the south: can you remember a time when Michael Son-of-Maggie McDowell came on camera to denounce unionist paramilitary attacks on Catholics and Catholic homes in North Belfast? Maybe you recall a time when Enda Kenny or Pat Rabbitte told press people that the Good Friday Agreement promised freedom from sectarian harassment and UDA thugs must end their criminality instantly? No, me neither.

Miraculously, with the McCartney case, voices on all sides have been rediscovered. Sammy Wilson, Michael McDowell, Enda Kenny, Pat Rabbitte, Reg Empey, Mark Durkan – the chorus of concern is deafening.

And what are they calling for? Not just that justice must be done, but that justice must be done by the IRA. The same IRA that these same people say must end its intimidation of Catholic communities and cede control of law and order to the PSNI must now perform the work of the PSNI and apprehend the McCartney killers and deliver them for trial.

What’s more Sinn Féin, which Sammy, Michael, Enda, Pat, Reg and Mark insist is inseparable from the IRA, must join the policing board.

The media join in, declaring that all of nationalist Ireland is as one with Sammy et al in this and is equally keen to have the IRA join the board. RTE reports that Catholic communities have had enough and are rising from under the heel of republican tyranny, adding as an after-thought that these same communities will almost certainly go on voting in huge numbers for these same republicans.

Laryngitis continues regarding one matter, however: that the grief of the McCartneys has been used as a political football which has been punted the length and breadth of Ireland by politicians and pundits who would garrotte their granny if they thought it’d do down their political adversaries. That’s why for the past month we’ve watched public opinion being kicked until it’s bewildered, in the hope that this will make it see republicans as the source of all our woes.

It’ll be May before we find out if they’ve been successful.

Hopefully the Irish Catholic population is too smart to fall for the anti-republican antics of the unionists and their allies in the Republic.


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