June 11, 2002
The vicious campaign by loyalists which is aimed at undermining the Good Friday Agreement is the single biggest threat which this community faces. It is a threat which both governments and all the pro-agreement parties must get real to.
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have underscored their concerns over recent violence and the continued and growing instability within loyalism by shunting the issue to the top of their agenda for their talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street today.
It is imperative that Mr Blair and his government cut through the blame game and the deliberate confusion which has been sown over recent events particularly those in Short Strand.
Likewise, it’s crucial for the SDLP to get it right over the loyalist offensive against vulnerable nationalist areas.
No-one is arguing that there haven’t been sectarian attacks against innocent Protestants in recent weeks. Any such behaviour is reprehensible and must be condemned — and stopped.
However, what is happening in Short Strand is not the activities of a few wild men among loyalism.
It is a concerted campaign, driven by divisions within loyalist paramilitaries to kill and injure Catholics.
To call it anything else or to refer to tit-for-tat is only to fuel the flames.
It’s a sad fact of life that we’ve built more peacelines in the past eight years of relative peace, than we built in the previous quarter of a century.
If we don’t want this city to tear itself apart, we must see unionist leaders get a grip on the loyalist paramilitaries — rather than provide excuses for their activities.
This article appeared first on the Irelandclick.com web site on June 10, 2002.