*This letter was published in today’s Co.Down spectator
The recent debate on collusion has once again provided Sinn Fein, and the wider republican movement, with the opportunity to stand on their carefully contrived soap box and perpetuate their own self-serving version of the truth as part of their relentless attempt to demonise the RUC, UDR and British Army.
The irony of those who crept up behind off duty RUC officers and UDR soldiers, and shot them in the back of the head, demanding ‘accountability’ is obviously lost on Sinn Fein.
One of the key speakers in the debate was Gerry Kelly, a former IRA terrorist, who was convicted of bombing the Old Bailey. The Sinn Fein benches in Stormont are littered with those who continue to justify the IRA terrorist campaign and yet they have the audacity to pontificate about the role of the State in the past.
With every step forward in this peace ‘process’, the RUC, UDR and British Army are further sacrificed on the altar of political expediency in an attempt to pacify and appease Sinn Fein, the same Sinn Fein who demand all those involved in the conflict are held accountable, remarkably however, it appears they do not include the IRA in this accountability demand.
Let’s remind ourselves of the words of former IRA prisoner Bobby Storey, speaking at a Sinn Fein rally following the arrest of Gerry Adams- “how dare they touch our leader”. The implied threat was clear and it shows that Sinn Fein want everyone held accountable- except the IRA.
Sinn Fein are happy for British soldiers and former RUC officers to be brought before the courts on historic charges- yet when, in the pursuit of justice, any former IRA member is arrested- they cry foul and tell us how, in their opinion, a ‘dark cabal’ within policing is trying to drag us back and undermine the peace process.
This is all the more ironic given many of their members have already received comfort letters and Royal Pardons as part of the perverse on the runs administrative scheme.
It is imperative that this generation of Unionists do not allow Sinn Fein to re-write history. The UDR, British Army and RUC stood in defence of our country in the face of an unrelenting republican terrorist campaign- we must amplify this truth, not bury it for the sake of political convenience or to protect the ‘process’.
The peace process for many of us within the Unionist community is nothing more than a piece by peace process, of which the ultimate trajectory is to eradicate every vestige of Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist and British culture from this part of the United Kingdom.
There are also very real concerns amongst the Unionist community that some within the system are seeking to justify and assist the ongoing cultural war, by demonising and criminalising every expression of Protestant culture and furthermore far too many people seem quite happy to be complicit, by their silence, in the Sinn Fein project of re-writing of the past, which seeks to paint IRA terrorists, who crept about in the dead of the night planting bombs and shooting people in the back of the head, as some kind of oppressed freedom fighters.