A unionist politician last night welcomed comments by former Provisional IRA men who said that ongoing dissident republican violence is futile.
John McCallister was responding to remarks by Antony McIntyre, who told yesterday’s News Letter that the Provisionals lost, and Richard O’Rawe, who had said their campaign had not been worth it.
Mr McCallister, deputy leader of the moderate pro-Union NI21 party, said: “I welcome these comments.”
Mr McIntyre had said: “Republicans lost the war and the IRA campaign failed and the dissidents need to be told that it failed rather then be allowed to continue thinking what they do. It cost so many lives.”
Mr O’Rawe had said he did not believe the original IRA campaign “was worth one life”.
And of the ongoing dissident strategy, he said their “whole campaign is insane”.
Last night, Mr McCallister added: “I never thought the campaign was justified in any shape, but you would not expect someone coming from my background to think anything different.
“It is important that some republicans who were at the heart of the campaign are now saying this.
“It is a step towards acknowledging some of the hurt caused.”
Meanwhile, former senior IRA man Tommy McKearney has told the News Letter that the dissident republican campaign of violence is actually strengthening Sinn Fein.
“What is happening today is arguably adding to the Sinn Fein position in that they reflect the overall view of the nationalist community by condemning the dissident campaign,” he said.
Although support for the Provisional IRA did not “give it legitimacy” he said, there is a “lack of support” for today’s dissidents.
He added: “If you pick the entertainment quarter of Belfast coming up to Christmas [to bomb], if you want to make yourself look bad, then that is what you do.”