Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Letter to editor (newspaper submission)

I write on behalf of victims today who have been largely ignored in the aftermath of the last fortnight’s proceedings. While we share with many unionists the sense of shock revulsion and betrayal at the recent images of Dr Paisley with Adams and Ahern ours is more deeply felt. It was to our homes and wake houses that he came to tell us that our loss meant something, that good would eventually triumph over evil. It was there and at the countless funerals he mentions that he urged courage and resolute, defiant action against Republicans. He told us it was our duty to defend the border against the advances and intentions of Dublin and to don the uniform to defeat Sinn Fein/IRA. Do you not think that the men and women who followed his call, those who lived in isolated farms and villages were afraid? Do you not think that they faced threats and that they had easier alternatives they could have chosen?

They did, but chose to face their fears and face down their enemies, many paid the supreme sacrifice? It is now an insult to their bravery and memory that the man who sent them to their deaths in many instances should choose to capitulate. He claims, almost craving sympathy, that he was threatened and forced to accept terrorists in government. He tells us that Plan B was too terrible to comprehend that it would have led to the destruction of the Union and our country. It would appear that if this were the case he has simply ensured a stay of execution, opting rather for a slow death of his own design. This is an act of betrayal and political cowardice that has left the people of Ulster shocked. Many have been shocked into silence, but we as victims will be silent no longer.

I have known Dr Paisley for many years and have been through much with him, I have counted it as a privilege to follow his spiritual and political advice over the years, however the man I knew would not have done this. He is a shadow of his former self as he sits like a little schoolboy explaining how he lost his dinner money. “The bigger nastier boys threatened me and I handed it over.” We can almost hear him say, as he tries to explain the necessity of his actions. It is a sad day for us all not least Ian Paisley when for the first time in over three decades he has been unable to lead his people in opposition to the threats of our enemies. Many victims wonder what it was all for, and look back in despair thinking how many lives could have been saved if only Paisley had done this ten, twenty thirty years ago. If he had allowed O’Neill to implement his reforms and establish workable relations with Lemass then perhaps thousands of lives could have been saved.

Hindsight is a wonderful terrible thing and something no victims that values their peace of mind should use. It is suffice to say that while other lifted guns to defeat terrorism and see off the threat of the Dublin government, Ian Paisley lifted snowballs and gun licences. Cowards did not establish Northern Ireland and they will not sustain it, therefore I can no longer place my confidence in Ian Paisley of the DUP. To cover the immorality of their current position, they try to rewrite history, expunging the evil deeds of Sinn Fein/IRA and the Irish Government. Their promises to help victims seek justice, to end the criminality and dismantle the structures of the PIRA all appear to have been abandoned.

Many unionists now realise that the process that has been set in motion with undue haste was not what they voted for, many now resent that their vote which was caste to keep Sinn Fein/IRA out is now used to put them in. The DUP more than most knows the political price of tearing up a manifesto and of lying to their electorate, as they have seen the fate of the UUP. As victims we will continue to fight for our rights, to challenge and contest against Sinn Fein/IRA now the DUP have put themselves in the firing line by allying themselves with terrorists, and they will pay the consequences. They remains a large section of the unionist community which is still unbroken an unbowed and let noone forget that it was the same people who fought and died for this country, we do not intend to see the birthright we paid so dearly for traded at so base a price by the DUP or any politician. It seems once more that our politicians are willing to give away those things that Republicans could not take from us at the point of a gun


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