Jamie Bryson: IRA abandoned violence only when it knew it would get a tactical advantage and concessions in politics

Jamie Bryson. Photographer �Matt Mackey - Presseye.com
Jamie Bryson. Photographer �Matt Mackey - Presseye.com

The death of anyone will bring sorrow and pain to their families and friends.

The death of Martin McGuinness is no different. His family and friends are entitled to privacy as they grieve, and I doubt anyone would say otherwise.

However it is important that in the midst of death, the brutal past of a terrorist leader is not whitewashed and history re-written as part of a collective attempt to sanitise the past and justify the actions of those who now find themselves in the heart of government thanks to the Belfast Agreement.

I woke up on Tuesday and saw a picture of former British Soldier Dennis Hutchings on the front page of the Belfast News Letter.

He is being dragged through the courts whilst IRA terrorists walk the streets freely with comfort letters. Mr Hutchings, a man that defended law and order, is hauled through the courts like a criminal whilst Martin McGuinness is lauded as a peace maker.

Margaret Thatcher would be disgusted at the pantomime that is labelled the ‘peace process’.

Much has been said in recent days about the absence of violence we enjoy in Northern Ireland. There appears to be the notion that we should applaud the IRA, and laud their surrogates as peacemakers, because they stopped killing and bombing.

An absence of terrorism and violence is what every community should enjoy as a most basic entitlement; it is the height of absurdity that we should laud the terrorists for deciding to move away from violence, when it was them that brought murder in the first place.

The republican movement progressed to non-violent means not because they realised their actions had been wrong (their continued glorification of the terrorist actions of the IRA make clear that they are proud of their deeds) but because they saw more tactical advantage in politics and had the foresight to see the concessions they could extract as a reward for ceasing their brutal terrorist campaign.

Sadly for the unionist community there was a Labour government only too willing to reward the IRA for stopping killing people, and as such we ended up with the Belfast Agreement.

I have heard that particular agreement lauded as some great achievement this week; it wasn’t.

The Belfast Agreement secured an absence of violence, which we all must welcome, but it did not deliver ‘peace’. It institutionalised a mutual veto and thus enshrined division. Perhaps most perversely it removed the most basic tenets of democracy as a sop to those that had spent thirty years seeking to overthrow the state via bombs and bullets.

Martin McGuinness moved the republican movement not to peace, but to a different phase of conflict. There was no abject and true remorse, only continuous attempts to justify the IRA’s terrorist campaign.

In recent times Sinn Fein members have spoke of the ‘war’ they fought for equality- this is a typical example of their attempts to re-write the past and use linguistic summersaults to add an air of legitimacy to that which can never be legitimised.

Unionists lauding Martin McGuinness and throwing themselves into the ‘equality’ agenda by embracing the language of Sinn Fein should be aware that they are the Trojan horse of the republican movement.

It is those unionists that Sinn Fein can drag into their political agenda- cloaked in the language of equality and civil rights – that are the republican movements greatest weapon.

Left-wing unionists are increasingly becoming unwitting practitioners of linguistic warfare; helping Sinn Fein advance their ‘equality’ narrative, which is in reality nothing more than a means of achieving their political objectives.

As Sinn Fein try and re-write the past to make the conflict about ‘equality’, those unionists embracing the language of Sinn Fein must understand the logical trajectory of their position. It is an acceptance that the IRA’s terrorist campaign, presented as a fight for equality, was justified.

Martin McGuinness was a self-confessed IRA commander. My thoughts this week are with the victims of the IRA and their families.

My thoughts are also with future generations that have been saddled with the division and morally perverse system of government that has been dressed up to give the appearance of democracy as a result of the so called ‘peace process’.

True democracy – via voluntary coalition government – is the only way to genuine and lasting peace; the peace that we all long for.