Bill exposes SF doublespeak

I can see arguments on both sides of Jim Allister’s private member’s bill, which is passing through the Assembly aimed at restricting the recruitment of Special Advisers to those without terrorist convictions.

However, what it does achieve is exposure of Sinn Féin’s doublespeak on “political prisoners”. Specifically, it has sought to equate terrorists with the security forces.

No such equation is possible. We had an inquiry into Bloody Sunday because it was carried out by the security forces, i.e. the only authority permitted to use force in certain circumstances. Where that permission is abused, particularly with fatal consequences, it is right that inquiries follow and apologies are delivered. I support the same (though at much lower cost) for Ballymurphy for that specific reason.

There will, however, never be inquiries into Enniskillen, Teebane or Deal. These were similar atrocities, with similar consequences and similar suffering. There will be no reports or inquiries into “what went wrong” with such IRA operations precisely because the IRA – in common with its modern “dissident” versions – was illegitimate to start with.

To be clear, therefore – any member of the IRA was engaged in illegitimate terrorist activity. Most members of the security forces, on the other hand, acted entirely professionally and legitimately. That is a difference Sinn Féin accepts when it condemns the murder of security forces by modern incarnations of the IRA now. It was the same from 1969-94, whether it likes to admit it or not.

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3 thoughts on “Bill exposes SF doublespeak

  1. james McKerrow says:

    ,If you had been a volunteer in the period 1918-1921, had been apprehended and avoided execution, and were now a citizen of the Irish Free State, their would have been no restrictions on your employment. If you had then taken up arms in support of deValera in the Civil War, you would then have possibly experienced restrictions on your future employment, if indeed you had survived. The lesson might be that if you take up arms against your State, you had better win!

    In the current atmosphere at Stormont, where since the last elections the main parties are drawing apart, and sections of public opinion are in accord with this, divisive matters are being used by the DUP and Sinn Fein to drive things furthet apart.

    This doesn’t make Sinn Fein the completely innocent party in this matter, because more forethought, or more carefull reaction when the Marie McCardle appointment became devisive could have defused a difficult situation.

    It is also a measure of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go that we generally accept political appointments where individuals have secured a mandate in a public election, not necessarily without reservations, but do not translate the same to unelected appointments. This is not a critiscism, but an observation about actuality, the environment we have to work with, and the sensetivities of those still alive who have been heavily traumatised by security related events during “The Troubles”.

    On a wider front this has raised the question of the ability of any Special Advisor to perform a reasonable job, and the advisability of having an independent panel to look at each and every appointment to ensure that appointees, regardless of Party and dogma, can be expected to function reasonably at a senior civil servant level. Special Advisors need good powers of analysis and written and verbal expression, and have to deal with sensetive and classified information. We need to know that all Special Advisors are personally equipped, have sufficiently robust personalities, and can be trusted with access to sensetive information.

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