Aileen Quinton: ‘Raising tensions?’ Time we put the blame where it belongs – violent offenders, not protocol protestors

Like many anti-Protocol unionists, I welcome rallies that harness the anger that we have been feeling.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 5:00 am
June 18, 2021 - 

Loyalist protestors pictured at an anti-protocol rally in Newtownards
June 18, 2021 - Loyalist protestors pictured at an anti-protocol rally in Newtownards

I have been nauseated by the “oh we shouldn’t do it because it raises tensions” dribbling, leading to the morally-vacuous deflecting of blame from those who actually order or commit criminal violence. If we can’t express legitimate anger, highlighting the problems of the Protocol, then we’re not in a free society.

For years we have heard excuses made for terrorists: “Oh, they were worked up by others…” So what? If I became a terrorist, the blame should be on me.

Having my mother murdered would be more of an excuse than listening to a few speeches. But nothing would have excused it.

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Aileen Quinton

If someone does threaten violence, then throw the book at them – be my guest!

The recent incident of the Coveney bomb scare, particularly making someone think he is driving a bomb, was pure evil and I hope whoever was responsible has consequences that bite. I only wish McGuinness had when he ordered the same, rather than having the great and not-so-good traipsing to his funeral.

I condemn what happened to Coveney but I do not “stand with Coveney”, not after his sickening use of the threat of violence.

In 2018, he had tweeted out a link to an Irish Times article headed: ‘What if Brexit brings the violence back?’

It was about fears that border checks will lead to a return of Troubles and it recounted how a lorry driver was killed in an IRA bombing of a customs centre.

Mr Coveney added that this article was “for anyone who wants to understand the politics and emotion behind why the Irish Govt is so clear on the need to provide a guarantee that no border infrastructure will re-emerge on the Island of Ireland”.

He should be ashamed to tweet this. That terrorists might not like something should never be the argument for not doing it.

His response to the possibility should have been “any violence or even threats will not be tolerated and certainly not allowed to influence policy” – not being the damn delivery boy for the ‘warning’ (a warning that the terrorists do not seem to have actually made... but then they didn’t actually have to).

But given his position, I consider it evil to be referencing the threat of terror without challenging it and saying it will be punished and not pandered to.

Voting and negotiation and rights should be how decisions are made – not who has the scariest terrorists on their side of the argument. This just sends a message that the opposing terrorists have to get scarier.

So as far as I am concerned Coveney is not welcome. Anyone taking that as a call for him to be physically attacked or threatened would be a moron.

Anyone actually attacking him would be an evil moron.

I also condemn the attack on Doug Beattie’s office; I don’t know who it was, but those who did or ordered it are to blame.

For some of the hard-of-thinking, it has “proved” that the UUP was right to say that it was no longer going to attend rallies.

So: apparently violent people committing violence in response to your action “proves” you did the right thing. Thugs who kneecapped people for selling heroin don’t prove the righteousness of drug dealing.

Violence has taken enough from me. I’m damned if I am also letting the Protcol stay, or the right to peaceful protest go, without passionate peaceful protest and defence, respectively, just because others commit or threaten violence.

– Aileen Quinton’s mother Alberta was one of the 12 people killed by the IRA in the Enniskillen bombing

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