UK and Ireland talk of Ukraine but need to recall their handling of violence at home

A letter from James Martin:

By The Newsroom
Friday, 15th April 2022, 11:26 am
Updated Friday, 15th April 2022, 11:29 am
A building damaged by a Russian attack in Borodyanka, Ukraine. Britain and Ireland have many memories of violence and terrorism but do not have a good record in defending human rights and democracy at home
A building damaged by a Russian attack in Borodyanka, Ukraine. Britain and Ireland have many memories of violence and terrorism but do not have a good record in defending human rights and democracy at home

A relative of mine ran a convenience store in Greater Belfast in the 1970s.

One morning a lady called in and asked for a particular brand of cigarettes from a high shelf behind my relative. When he turned to retrieve the cigarettes the lady shot him several times in the back, killing him instantly.

In the early eighties a friend of my family was feeding his chickens, at the remote cottage in Co Down where he lived, before taking his son to primary school.

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Letter to the editor

His son was having breakfast, the mother was recently deceased. The son spotted his fathers car being driven away by a stranger and ran out to find his father dying from gunshot wounds.

I am sure there are countless others across these islands who could recount similar memories of terrorist atrocities.

While the British and Irish governments, and amazingly even Sinn Fein, surf the public sentiment about atrocities in Ukraine the public should remind themselves of how such atrocities were dealt with in Northern Ireland; while publicly berated in the Republic the perpetrators of such crimes were given sanctuary, they were released from prison, given an amnesty, and elected to public office by the people.

More recently the threat of a return to such atrocities was successfully used by senior politicians in order to overturn democracy.

While some European countries have an honourable reputation, in modern times, for adherence to human rights and defence of democracy the British and Irish governments and Sinn Fein have not.