Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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If it were not as serious it would be laughable when we see Paisley and Adams issuing a joint statement condemning attacks on Orange Halls. The idiocy of one and the hypocrisy of the other are startling. Paisley has for years exposed and rightly challenged Sinn Fein/IRA as they attacked the Orange Order, killed its members and destroyed hundreds of Orange Halls and thousands of pounds worth of property and artefacts. This has been part of an ongoing process aimed at demoralising, discrediting and destroying the Orange Order. Now we see the First Minister lending credibility to Republican terrorists and their godfathers by allowing them to airbrush history. We as victims know only too well their murderous past when they have been active in some of the worst attacks upon the Orange Order.

These attacks continue today and no amount of honeyed words from Adams or McGuiness will deceive the ordinary unionist on the street the way they have deceived the elderly Mr Paisley. Perhaps his memory is failing him, but sadly for the victims of Sinn Fein/IRA the memories of what they did are etched in our minds. Who can forget the events of the dark night of 1 September 1975 when an IRA murder gang burst into Tullyvallan Orange Hall? Their aim was to wipe out an entire lodge as they prayed, and were only thwarted when an off duty member of the security forces returned fire injuring a gunman and instigating a retreat by the PIRA unit.

A total of 304 Orangemen were murdered by the IRA in the past 35 years - 148 civilians and 156 members of the RUC, UDR or the Prison Service. Many of them were off duty and murdered in front of their wives and children. For many the only reason was their membership of the Orange Order. About a quarter of the victims (73) came from Co Tyrone, with Belfast (67) and Co Armagh (66) also suffering a particularly high number of fatalities. Today Mr Paisleyís new friends in Sinn Fein/IRA hold the truth to these atrocities indeed they ordered many of them directly. Perhaps the First Minster should use his position to extract the truth from them as he promised to do to the victims or is this yet another of his empty promises. He appears to share Republicans eagerness to erase the memory of the past and to add insult to the existing injury of the victims. Just as he has chosen terrorists before his position as spiritual leader of the church he founded now he has chosen them once more above the victims he once stood with. Well as victims we are used to standing up for ourselves and we will continue to.

It is sad to see the DUP allied with terrorists affording them an opportunity to rewrite history portraying themselves as a force for good. It is not words however that we require from Adams, halls can be replaced it is the lives of innocent Orangemen that have been extinguished and destroyed that mean more to us. Let us see justice and let it start with the member of Sinn Fein who was exposed recently after he injured himself whilst involved in what can only be construed as another attack on a South Down Orange Hall


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