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Reg warns of violence

(Newton Emerson, Irish News)

What is it with republicans and carpet warehouses? This week's dissident firebombs in Newry recalled the glory days of the Provisional IRA, which also bravely burnt down every carpet warehouse in Northern Ireland for reasons that now escape them. Responding to the devastation Newry Sinn Féin councillor Charlie Casey said: "Sinn Féin is about working for political, economic and social change. The council will facilitate a meeting over the next day or two which will involve all stakeholders, the chamber of commerce, elected representatives and government agencies, and we will work together to recover and move forward."

However, this meeting will not involve the PSNI or produce any call for information and arrests. Because Sinn Féin is not about working for that.

***

Sir Reg Empey has echoed his UVF partner David Ervine's warning that greater cross-border co-operation could lead to a "violent reaction".

Five months ago in his first speech to the Ulster Unionist Council as party leader, Sir Reg said: "Republicans made successive attempts to hold on to their weapons and structures, to continue their rackets, to engage in a variety of anti-democratic practices and to use the threat of a return to violence to force the government to yield to their demands. Sadly, government yielded to these threats and as a result there has been a catastrophic loss of unionist confidence in the process."

***

Equality commissioner Bob Collins has come up with an ingenious explanation for the massive under-representation of Protestants in his own workforce. "It is an enduring frustration for the commission that it hasn't been able to attract to its staff the number of Protestants that it would like," he said. In other words, it's the fault of the Prods for not being interested in equality. They're probably too stupid to fill the form in as well – isn't that right Bob? Bob?

***

The Derry Anti-War Coalition – this week's name for the Socialist Worker Party – has protested against violence in the Middle East by violently attacking the offices of US company Raytheon, which makes missile guidance systems (or "aviation software", as it says on the export licence). This highlights a terrible moral conundrum. Derry needs jobs but the global arms industry is a monstrous abomination. What to do? Fortunately a clever solution already exists in Belfast where former Shorts division Thales employs hundreds of people making Starstreak – a missile so notoriously unreliable that sabotaging its production would be completely pointless.

***

There are any number of people entitled to express "disgust" at last weekend's republican show-of-strength in Dungiven.

The Reverend William McCrea isn't one of them. Singing Willie says it is "absolutely sickening" that weapons were fired during the parade.

But it was no more sickening than his appearance on a platform with Billy Wright, or his graveside oration for the Miami Showband murderers, or his membership of the Shankill Defence Association. Then there is the small matter of Mr McCrea's 1971 conviction for riotous assembly – in Dungiven.

***

Defending tomorrow's (Sunday) Casement Park hunger strike rally, which oddly has been denied political status, Antrim County GAA chairman Dr John McSparran accused the GAA's Dublin-based central council of "creating a difficult situation" and "failing to be aware of opinion in the six counties". You tell 'em, John! Those ignorant southerners should keep out of UK affairs.

***

Because it isn't enough to stamp existing areas with sectarian markers, moves are now afoot to brand houses before they are even built.

Sinn Féin wants Irish street signs for a new development in west Belfast, although guidelines state quite clearly that this can only be done with the support of residents. However, the development doesn't have any residents because it doesn't yet exist.

Why don't republicans just paint "Catholics only" on the nearest wall? At least that's a sign that everyone could read.

***

Peter Hain has now all but officially declared his intention to replace John Prescott as deputy prime minister after persuading four major unions to back his selection. But why would the fantastically ambitious Mr Hain want a job with no portfolio, no agreed role and no guarantee that the post will exist after the next election?

Even the vice-presidency of the United States, which has full constitutional standing, was described by Franklin D Roosevelt's incumbent as "not worth a bucket of warm piss". Having gambled every principle on Tony Blair's success, is Peter Hain now gambling again on Gordon Brown's failure?

August 14, 2006
________________

This article appeared first in the August 12, 2006 edition of the Irish News.


This article appears thanks to the Irish News. Subscribe to the Irish News



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