To avoid confusion about where his heart is, Ian Og Paisley was wearing his father's suit, or at least one like it, with the same scythe-blade lapels and gangster pinstripe that Papa Doc is fond of wearing. "Real gangsters and thugs" Ian Og declared, when asked what he thought of the sentences handed down on the Colombian Three. "This is an early Christmas present for the people of Northern Ireland, nationalists as well as unionist."
Ian Og talks that way because, being his father's son, he is a law-and-order man.
Criminals must be locked up and serve their sentence, although at the same time it needs to be stressed that being locked up and serving a sentence doesn't make you a criminal, otherwise that would make Papa Doc himself a criminal, he having served six months some decades back.
At the very minute Ian Og was describing to viewers how wide his smile was at the news from Colombia, Tanaiste Mary Harney was getting her public statement ready. Mary is a Progressive Democrat and so, like Ian Og, a law-and-order person.
Mary wasn't smiling broadly or calling the Colombia Three thugs and criminals, but she did make it clear they should give themselves up to the Colombian authorities and allow due process of the law in that country to run its course, because that was the right and proper thing to do.
It's refreshing to see politicians like Ian Og and Mary speak their minds and give a moral lead in matters of this kind. Unfortunately, people are very cynical about politicians these days and are more convinced by what they do than what they say.
So since Ian Og is clearly pleased by the operation of Colombian justice in the recent past and Mary is happy to trust Colombian justice in the future, I think the two of them should demonstrate their faith in the justice system by going to Colombia and testing the system by doing something the authorities there don't like, such as speaking up for trade unions or human rights.
You weren't aware that the Colombian authorities are against trade unions and human rights? I'm afraid so. In 2003 the Colombian Trade Union Congress estimated that in the previous year 172 trade unionists were killed, 164 received death threats and 132 were arbitrarily detained by authorities.
Paramilitary groups linked to the Colombian armed forces were believed to have carried out many of these attacks.
In 2002, a Human Rights Watch report said that during 2001, "Several key witnesses to important [human rights] cases were killed while in government custody. Most political killings, by far, were the work of paramilitary groups which continued to work with the tolerance or open support of units of the Colombian security forces." Government and paramilitary units habitually share intelligence, the report added.
Also vehicles, roadblocks, and even in some cases the same people served in the government's armed forces and in paramilitary groupings.
In 2003, human rights campaigner Esperanza Amaris Miranda denounced right-wing paramilitary threats before Colombia's federal prosecutor. Shortly afterwards, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights' office, she was killed by the paramilitary group Bloque Central Bolivar, which has documented ties to the Colombian military.
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has denounced defenders of human rights as a front for left-wing paramilitaries. In 2003, 13 human rights defenders were murdered, and many more left the country under threat.
Human Rights Watch said: "Government programs meant to help defenders, trade unionists, and even witnesses to human rights crimes were overwhelmed and plagued with internal problems as well as serious questions about their security. Overall, both witnesses and the prosecutors who investigate human rights cases reported continuing threats against them."
When you consider this kind of evidence, you can see why the Colombia Three might not be enthusiastic about following Mary's advice and handing themselves in to Colombian justice.
But if Mary and Ian Og take a different view, it would indeed be impressive if they could put their liberty where their mouths are.
Meanwhile, rather than spout self-righteous twaddle, you might like to show solidarity with the poor Colombian people who must live under the regime of criminals and thugs posing as a government.
If so, you could send a goat or pig or some such Christmas gift to that country. Trocaire will arrange for your gift to be delivered and you'll have done at least one truly good deed in 2004.