Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Recent moves by Sinn Fein/IRA to hold a party conference on the issue of policing should surprise no one except perhaps the most politically naive. It should also be accepted that if Adams has went as far as calling the meeting he has only done so in the knowledge that he can carry the day. So for unionists and most particularly victims it is now time to prepare ourselves for that eventuality. For many there remains a disbelief sadly cultivated by unionist politicians that Sinn Fein/IRA will be unable to deliver on policing. However as the reality that they will and indeed always have been willing when the price is right dawns on people perhaps they will amend their attitudes.

We were told before by the likes of David Trimble that unionism must play it smart and that Sinn Feinís bluff could be called. That they would never enter a political process and that Unionism being seen to hold out the olive branch would be enough to expose Republicanism and further the cause of the majority community, unfortunately Sinn Fein seized the olive branch and sharpened it into a pointed stick which they added to their existing arsenal of weapons. This stick has and continues to be used to beat and prod unionists and has been far more effective in extracting concessions and ground from our community than the thousands of guns and tonnes of semtex amassed by the PIRA.

Next the UUP told the unionist community to support the Belfast Agreement for Sinn Fein would never enter Stormont, that their supporters would not tolerate such a move as it would challenge the core of their Republicanism. Entering a Partionist State was tantamount to admitting that they had failed and as such a broken Sinn Fein could be easily house trained in the hypnotic surroundings of Parliament Buildings. Then unionism was conned into jumping first in order to put pressure on Sinn Fein/IRA to decommission. That too we were told was unprecedented and unheard of, sadly any student of history would realise that the modern IRA did no more than their predecessors under Frank Aiken when they dumped arms.

With unionism divided on the significance of the event Republicans were secure in the knowledge that they had traded an arsenal of unserviceable weaponry for a much greater prize and as a bonus had conned the state into facilitating the main evidence that could be used to convict dozens of killers within their ranks. Now we are told that the days of push over unionism have ended and that there will be no more concessions. This is from the party that despite rejecting the act of decommissioning as having gone far enough, now seems to be moving forward on that basis. There appears despite manifesto commitments and personal assurances from the leadership an acceptance of the principle of a mandatory power sharing coalition with Sinn Fein/IRA. The entire issue has been boiled down to an acceptance of policing.

Victims demand to know what happened to the issue of decommissioning, what verifiable and transparent means will there be to assure victims and the community that the structures and operational capabilities of the PIRA have been permanently dismantled and in terms of policing and justice how can we be sure that Sinn Fein/IRA are not simply as they did at Stormont simply going to use their positions as a means of infiltration and intelligence gathering. In such terms as a dangerous fifth column within policing they could do more to destroy it that they have achieved over thirty years of terrorism.

Time and time again Republicans have appeared to do the impossible like a magician they have pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. However most of us are aware of just how such illusionists work, they are nothing more than confidence tricksters and Adams is no different. Whist the two governments are quite willing to believe whatever they see unionism has shown its eye is just not quick enough. We as victims hope that the DUP will not be taken in by such trickery.


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