There were always peaceful alternatives Michelle

News Letter editorial on Friday August 5 2022:

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th August 2022, 8:18 am
Updated Saturday, 6th August 2022, 8:46 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

That is evidenced by the Sinn Fein vice-President’s insulting and hurtful assertion that during the Troubles there was

“no alternative” to the Provisional IRA’s campaign of murder, maiming and mayhem.

Her comments on a BBC podcast series begs the question: did she ever look into the historical record and observe the political facts from even the earliest years of the Provos’ terrorist project?

Those not of a Unionist disposition - republican, nationalist or neither - had plenty of alternatives beyond the immoral, nihilistic brutality of the PIRA’s so-called “armed struggle”.

Is, for example, Ms O’Neill unaware that the SDLP was actually founded in 1970, a party born out of the Civil Rights Movement, which opposed the use of violence to pursue equality and reform, and ultimately a United Ireland?

In the very same year, the cross-community Alliance Party was formed providing voters and citizens with yet another “alternative” through universal suffrage and the secrecy of the ballot box. Indeed, non-Unionist voters have had a menu of parties to choose from whilst the PIRA was embarking on its criminal terrorist crusade. People could pick from an eclectic list ranging from the Communist Party to the much missed, dearly departed, moderate Northern Ireland Labour Party. After its 1972 cease-fire, even the Official IRA and its political off-shoots offered a peaceful, political “alternative” to Provo bombs and bullets, the former movement eventually accepting the principle of Unionist consent.

Ms O’Neill’s tendentious excuse for the PIRA campaign is part of a wider phenomenon: to sanitise and re-write the history of the Troubles. It is the moral task of all those who defend truth, regardless of them being Unionist, Nationalist or Other, to expose this new calumny casting a distorting shadow over our bloody past.