Appalling unionist leadership is making the Bobby Storey funeral saga even worse

A letter from Arnold Carton:

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 6:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 6:48 pm
Rather than keeping the focus on Sinn Fein over the Bobby Storey funeral, above, we have unionists blaming the police

Everyone I know was outraged by the arrogance of Sinn Fein’s use of Bobby Storey’s funeral for a show of political strength last summer when so many families were making difficult sacrifices to avoid spreading Covid.

That our Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decided not to prosecute anyone is truly shocking but the appalling leadership coming from unionist politicians is making this worse.

Rather than keeping the focus on Sinn Fein where it belongs we have unionist politicians blaming the police and falling in to the paramilitary trap of saying the police cannot be trusted to fairly police our areas.

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On Friday and Saturday night we saw where this argument leads our community.

The chaos of the DUP’s Brexit fiasco has already destabilised Northern Ireland, with tension being whipped up over the NI Protocol at a time when were already facing a difficult series of anniversaries.

We will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Northern Ireland on 3rd of May, but we should be aware that this is also the 100-year anniversary of partition and is followed just two days later by the 40th anniversary of Bobby Sands hunger strike death, with the anniversaries of the deaths of the other 9 hunger striker scattered across the summer.

With foreign travel unlikely and everyone staying at home this summer potential for trouble is obvious.

We in the Protestant and unionist community must think carefully what we want to achieve over the next few months.

Do we benefit from making Northern Ireland less stable with more street protests?

Who benefits if we cut off all contact with the PSNI when planning bonfires?

Paramilitaries might prosper by keeping the PSNI out of Protestant estates but ordinary families won’t benefit from a summer of chaos like the Drumcree summers of 1996-99.

Our children deserve a peaceful and stable society and it is the job of our politicians to set out how we can achieve this. A stable N. Ireland depends on unionism being more focused on winning jobs and winning an eventual border poll. We seem to be on the wrong trajectory.

Arnold Carton, Belfast BT6

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