Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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The Republican rally at Stormont today did not live up to any of its reported expectations. It was not firstly a victims rally but rather a thinly veiled political stunt aimed to influence present direction of government policy. Secondly it was not about truth as many of the groups involved campaigned tireless for truth around Bloody Sunday until they were granted their Inquiry. Then they failed to press Republicans most notably Martin McGuiness to divulge the truth when they were called to give evidence. Finally the figure of over a thousand never materialised as a few representatives from a collection of groups gathered to give a press release. These groups are united by one thing and that is their antipathy for the British government and their ability to grab headlines by making ill-founded allegations of collusion. Their stance on victims is hypocritical to say the least as they represent the families of those who in many instances were involved in terrorist groups, and who themselves were in the business of creating victims. Indeed many of the cases they present and promote involve those who were stopped in the act of terrorism by the security forces. Often to stop these ruthless terrorists lethal force was necessary and in each instance their elimination saved the lives of countless other innocent victims.

Republicans cannot lay claim to victim-hood until they deal with their own terrorist past and present the truth of what they and their colleagues did. It is the PIRA and its various associated supportive and front groups thatís hold the truth of many of the darkest deeds of the past decades. The security forces operated within the law and under public democratic scrutiny, if there was deviation from this standard those involved have and should be held accountable. However the PIRA and other terrorist groups operated to no laws to no morals or to no standards. Their victims were afforded no compassion, leniency or decency as many were brutally murdered on cold blood or held and tortured their naked bodies dumped like animals at the side of the road.

If this is the type of war any group would like to associate itself with then it speaks more about the mentality and morality of the organisatio9n than anything else. However as victims we will not allow such evil to be forgotten, and we will not allow the PIRA or it Republican fellow-travellers to rewrite history and devalue the role and sacrifice made by our loved ones. We represent the innocent victims and the defenders of democracy whose sacrifice we are duty bound to remember and preserve. Stunts such as today will not distract us from that work and as we meet with the Eames and Bradley team to make our views known.


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