Could it have been the intention of the Christian peacemakers who acted as go-betweens and guarantors during the fraught negotiations between the IRA and the British and Irish governments and Unionists that the Sinn Fein/IRA entity would continue as largely sectarian, dishonest and entirely hypocritical regarding human rights and legal processes?
While everyone can see the flaws in the pressurised political institutions, would only Fr. Alec Reid have seen the enormous failings in the leading personality on the republican side, Gerry Adams, who by his own words and deeds cannot release his brainwashed followers from their self-dug sectarian trenches?
His unscripted statement in November 2014 in Enniskillen, scene of the IRA’s murders of eleven civilians remembering their war dead, was possibly one of his most honest utterances:
“But what’s the point? The point is to actually break these bastards – that’s the point. And what’s going to break them is equality… That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy – to reach out to people on the basis of equality.”
Here is the clearest admission – carefully enunciated for any slow learners – that republican strategy is a dishonest sectarian trap for unwary Protestant Unionists, a con disguised as an equality handshake. The Trojan horse strategy is to force Unionists into a ‘united’ Ireland which will be anything but united. Republican ‘reaching out’ in Gerry’s own words is nothing other than a deliberate act of trickery and betrayal. Who could now trust Sinn Fein?
The hypocritical and sectarian approach to human rights is evident in the choice of name for the republican vehicle most prominent in the human rights sphere – the Pat Finucane Centre. Pat Finucane was a solicitor murdered by loyalist paramilitaries allegedly in collusion with state actors in February 1989.
But the IRA introduced into Northern Ireland the murders of members of the legal fraternity by shooting dead Resident Magistrate William Staunton, a Catholic, on the 11th of October 1972 as he dropped his daughter to St. Dominic’s convent grammar school on the Falls Road.
He was shot in front of his daughter and her school friends in his car and died of his injuries three months later.
On the 16th of September, 1974, the IRA murdered Judge Rory Conaghan, a Catholic, at his home in front of his 9 year old daughter, Deirdre. Neighbours ushered his daughter away from the murder scene.
On the same day, and at the time, the IRA also murdered Resident Magistrate Martin McBirney, a Protestant, at his home in front of his family. Martin McBirney was a prominent member of the Northern Ireland Labour Party, had married a Catholic and, while a barrister, had acted for the defence in civil rights’ cases and had represented Eamon McCann.
Here was all the template the loyalist paramilitaries needed for the Pat Finucane murder at home, but much more was provided by the IRA.
On the 16th of January, 1983, Judge William Doyle was murdered by the IRA as he came out of Mass in St. Brigid’s Catholic church on Derryvolgie Avenue in Belfast.
Judge Doyle had offered a 72 year old lady a lift home in his car and, as they both exited the church, two IRA gunmen fired at him. He was hit by six bullets in the chest and stomach. The lady with him was shot in the stomach and seriously injured.
Sixteen months later, an IRA gunman again used the same Catholic church to attack Judge Tom Travers. One gunman shot his daughter, Mary, in the spine. She fell to the ground taking her mother with her. A second gunman shot him in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. The gunman then stood over him and fired five more bullets into him – miraculously, he survived.
The second gunman then put his gun to Travers’ wife’s head and pulled the trigger twice – the gun misfired both times. Mary Travers, however, died in her mother’s arms.
The IRA’s intent was clear – to murder the judge and his entire family as well.
On the 28th of April, 1987, the IRA murdered Appeal Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily by bombing their car at the border, with claims of collusion between the IRA and An Garda Siochana.
Fifteen months later on the 23rd of July, 1988, the IRA attempted to repeat the border bomb tactic, this time intending to murder Catholic Justice Eoin Higgins, but instead murdered an entire Hillsborough family returning from Disneyland in Florida, Robin and Maureen Hanna and their 6 year old son, David. Again there were hints of collusion between the IRA and elements of An Garda Siochana.
On the 7th of December, 1983, the IRA shot barrister and law lecturer Edgar Graham in Queen’s University and, as the 29 year old lay dying outside the campus library, cheering erupted in the students’ union as witnessed by Sylvia Hermon.
How, then, in the light of all of these IRA murders of members of the legal fraternity in Northern Ireland is Pat Finucane any worthier of a human rights’ centre named after him? What about the actual majority of law servants, Gerry, murdered by the IRA, not forgetting the innocent civilians murdered – Mary Travers, Cecily Gibson and Robin, Maureen and David Hanna?
Following the murders of Justices Conaghan and McBirney, the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau in Dublin declared that they were murdered because they were “willing agents of a most corrupt, rotten and evil judicial system”, a view surely shared at the time by Gerry Adams since republicans refused to recognise the courts – but now Gerry is appealing to that same system.
Sinn Fein/IRA have always required the British side in the unnecessary conflict to fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules while the IRA, claiming self-styled Prisoner of War status, repeatedly breached the Third Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners – the IRA summarily executed, or tortured and then summarily executed, all of its captured Prisoners of War no matter who they were, UDR soldiers, British soldiers, RUC officers, even abducted civilians.
On the other side, many thousands of IRA prisoners – many caught with guns or bombs – survived arrest, interrogation and imprisonment and were later released to have a second chance at life – or even to return to their needless combat. Some self-confessed IRA members released from prison were even able to successfully appeal their convictions and receive substantial financial settlements from the previously alleged “most corrupt, rotten and evil judicial system”. None of the IRA’s captured POWs can do this since they are all dead.
How has it come about then that the IRA’s appalling human rights’ record is being whitewashed and that a self-styled human rights’ organisation – the Pat Finucane Centre – has not managed to engage in any useful investigation or recording of IRA testimonies such as from Martin McGuinness before he died about the hundreds of murders he and/or men under him had committed? The PFC office was for a very long time at 1 West End Park, only a few hundred yards from Martin McGuinness’ home. For all its trawling through British military and political archives, it beggars belief that it has neither sought to nor managed to interview and record testimonies from hundreds of IRA members and leaders living around its various offices about their breaches of civil and human rights stretching back to 1970. Such a glaring failure! Why debase human rights into something sectarian and hypocritical?
If there was a somewhat deranged and pathetic quality to Michael Stone’s final assault on Stormont when he was subdued by a single security guard, there is an equally pathetic aspect to Gerry Adams’ appeal against his four decades old failed attempts to escape from custody – he needs to be seen to retire from leadership of Sinn Fein with a sting in the tail, still fighting the old enemy since his predicted ‘United Ireland by 2016’ project has failed and while his duplicitous Trojan Horse equality project appears to be a non-runner.
Wise up and do your whack, Gerry. The stage door is to your left.
wonderful incisive article
It’s plain and simple, S F IRA has done and continues to get away with murder and what ever else they dont want to own up to, as for our ones they get taken to the courts for the least little thing and charges are brought, so where is the equality for one and all. SF gets the backing of S D L P, ALLIANCE, and who ever else they can talk onto doing what they want done. It is a crying shame as I love my country but we’re not listened to anymore H
Fantastic truthful piece of writing. Just a pity too many people are too bigoted to see the truth.