I refer to the article by Nick Garbutt in Thursday’s News Letter.
Initially I would ask who is Nick Garbutt? He certainly appears to know more about me than I do about him despite the fact we have never met.
During my lifetime I usually find irrelevant people not worth speaking to as I have many other things I consider more important to deal with.
However, Mr Garbutt describes me as being the ‘political equivalent of the loony on the bus’ and ‘the pest at the family gathering’. He also describes me as ‘the boorish stranger on the plane’.
I suppose it is because I speak openly about violence and terrorism, its effect on innocent victims and the lack of support and help available to them which clearly irritates Mr Garbutt.
Perhaps he, like me, has had five family members murdered, plus others injured, as a direct result of standing against terrorism, allowing him to make such statements in the media.
I suppose this is called democracy in action or perhaps is it because Nick Garbutt has, like me, fought against terrorism to uphold democracy that he can vilify an individual in such a vindictive manner.
I must also point out, contrary to what has been inferred, I have never had a serious involvement with politics. I have had the offer to do so but turned it down. Perhaps I should now reconsider my position on this matter.
I would take this opportunity to ask Nick Garbutt when was the last time he called a meeting and had 200 victims attend?
Furthermore, how many times has he dealt with the Kingsmill families or the Tullyvallen, Enniskillen, Teebane, Darkley, La Mon and London Docklands victims?
If, by forcing the Dublin government into holding the Smithwick Tribunal into the Breen and Buchanan murders, fighting to have an inquest into the Kingsmill atrocity, holding specific IRA members to account, helping hundreds of innocent victims, fighting for Newry and Mourne council to rename a children’s park called after an IRA member, forcing the Irish government to meet with victims from the border region, forcing the withdrawal of the Eames/Bradley proposals or standing up for the flag of our country, means I am called a ‘loony’ then I am quite happy for this to happen.
I certainly don’t know how big Nick Garbutt’s family gatherings are but I can assure him mine are considerably smaller as a direct result of terrorist action.
As for friends I can assure the said journalist I have more than he will ever have.
I have no objection to the reconciliation of the two communities in Northern Ireland. However, I am certainly not prepared to sit down with, or to shake hands with, unrepentant terrorists who have the blood of innocent victims dripping from their hands.
In closing I would challenge Nick Garbutt to meet with me publicly or in front of the media to discuss the specific issues associated with innocent victims and the actions of unrepentant terrorists.
Markethill, Co Armagh