SF demands equality when in fact it has had special treatment

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said yesterday that the UK and Irish governments must “intervene” if the Northern Ireland talks to restore Stormont fail.

“The current stalemate cannot continue, the current position is simply not sustainable,” she said.

Her party would, she added, enter the talks in good faith.

Time has, she added, run out on equality.

Any deal, she said, must be based on equality and respect.

But there has been no equality, not since 1998, nor has there been respect.

Sinn Fein has always been given special dispensation.

Republicans were tardy in decommissioning, despite the goodwill of early prisoner releases, they spied at Stormont, broke into Castlereagh, robbed the Northern Bank, murdered people including Robert McCartney.

Never did they face sanction.

When Stormont finally resumed in 2007, there were subsequent crises over devolution of policing and justice, over the paramilitary report in 2015 after further killings and over the secret On The Run schemes.

Then, in 2017, they pulled down Stormont. They have been allowed to do this without so much as a hint of reproach from a supposedly Conservative and Unionist government, and never any sanction, in much the same way that Sinn Fein alone has been allowed to boycott Westminster and get expenses.

Will London ever realise that if there is no sanction ever under any circumstances, this sort of conduct will recur and recur, with Dublin all the while putting pressure on the UK, and never on republicans?

Indeed, Sinn Fein is indulged in the notion of whether it will ‘accept’ less than the near deal of last year.

In any remotely fair and stable polity it would not be allowed to issue a single red line for the return of Stormont, in much the same way that no one else would be allowed such.