I completely agree with the comments made by both Ann Travers and the relatives of the disappeared Jean McConville concerning the waxworks sculpture of Gerry Adams in the National Wax Museum Plus, Dublin, that appeared in your report in last Thursday’s News Letter.
Had the museum used semtex instead of wax it might have made the sculpture more authentic as this was one of PIRA’s favourite explosives used in their murderous sectarian terrorist campaign which they waged in Northern Ireland for thirty years.
I find it difficult to understand how this museum should be so ignorant of the hurt and anger which something like this causes to the victims of the PIRA bloody sectarian terrorism campaign. Perhaps they don’t care.
As a victim and survivor of terrorism I can empathise with those people who object to the current definition of a victim and at a recent meeting of victims I witnessed the hurt and anger expressed about this particular issue.
Many victims feel that this issue must be rectified if they can have any hope that proper recognition of their situation is understood and properly dealt with.
Perhaps I can best illustrate the situation by relating what happened to me. Many of your readers will know that I was a postman, an elected councillor and a part time UDR sergeant on 13th of June 1981 when I was ambushed by two PIRA men at an isolated farmhouse outside Ballygawley. They ensured I would arrive at this location by posting a first class bogus letter address to the widow who lived there. They had taken over the farmhouse earlier that morning and when I arrived and delivered the letter they opened fire and seriously injured me.
I was wearing light body armour and carrying a legally held revolver and was able to return fire injuring one of the attackers who was convicted of attempted murder thirty years later and although sentenced to twenty years served just two.
Under the present definition of a victim in Northern Ireland this PIRA terrorist is classified as a victim even though he was a victim maker and like Gerry Adams has never expressed any remorse for his actions.
Victims have been told time and again to move on as if what happened to them or their loved ones is an obstacle to the peace process and are therefore made to feel guilty because they cannot forget. After speaking on Talkback on Thursday I came away with the impression that Alan McBride felt that I was someone to be pitied because I couldn’t accept Gerry Adams as a peace maker.
I don’t want to attack anyone who has suffered during the terrorist campaign but he seemed to express the fallacy that this bloody campaign could be excused by the fact that there was discrimination and unionist misrule. I want to make it clear that anything that may have required change could and should have happened through the ballot box in a democratic society which Northern Ireland was at that time but many people believe that it is no longer so.
I have difficulty in defining what the “Peace Process” is and how long it will last. Perhaps someone can come to my aide and enlighten me as to when it will be completed? Will it be completed when history is rewritten according to Gerry Adams and the PIRA? Will it be completed when we have been brainwashed into believing that the bloodiest terrorist sectarian campaign in Europe to date was only a conflict and terrorist were mere combatants?
Maybe it will be completed when we and future generations accept that when you have a grievance then it is all right to murder your neighbour because he or she differs from your political or religious ideas regardless of the democratic process. May God protect us all if this is what the outcome is intended.
I cannot help but fear for the future if the situation continues to exists whereby those of us who took our stand and put our lives on the line to protect the law abiding community are disregarded and equated on the same level as terrorists. I see that there are several enquiries opened into historical murders but it seems to be only those with some Security Forces involvement. I live and served in a border area where there were many murders by republican terrorists had cross border involvement but little or nothing seems to be done to query the inactivity or collusion with the Civic Guards/PIRA involvement.
I know that the victims and survivors whom I know and respect will never accept the above solutions nor will I and it is the responsibility of those in government whether in Stormont, Westminster or Brussels to resolve this or come clean and state whether or not victims and survivors are expendable and no longer count in the peace process.
Governments can no longer pay lip service to the victim and survivors problems as the success or otherwise of the “Peace Process” depends on a satisfactory outcome.