Julian Smith has never criticised Sinn Fein, yet now he rounds on DUP for not paying the republican ransom

For three years, no Conservative and Unionist (as they sometimes style themselves) minister or prime minister has uttered a word of criticism of Sinn Fein.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 20th December 2019, 12:18 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 2:17 am
News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

Think about that. The crisis in the NHS is in large part rooted in the fact that there are no ministers to take key decisions, and that in turn is due to the fact that Sinn Fein, and Sinn Fein alone, is allowed to collapse Stormont.

It has been clear since January 2017 that there will be no return to devolution without an Irish language act.

In any remotely just world, a Tory and supposedly unionist government would at least have something to say about that vandalism. Or even if not publicly supportive, for fear of upsetting thin-skinned nationalism, it might at least be privately so. But no, not a word or hint of moral support.

Meanwhile, there has since June 2017 been a myth that the Tories were “in hock to the DUP”. What a joke that notion is!

They have not made a single major policy decision in favour of unionism, and indeed have agreed to divide the UK economically.

Even now, with an overall majority, the government yesterday committed to the Stormont House legacy structures that might well (unintentionally) vindicate terrorism, due to the fact that the security forces are more vulnerable to them.

Now, Julian Smith, having never said anything at all about republican vandalism, is singling out the DUP for not agreeing to a return to devolution last night (see link below).

What, amid all this, has happened to Dublin’s role and the three strands? Are unionists even trying to insist that they are observed, or is the Tory government observing them, as its manifesto insisted they would?

And what is the Ulster Unionist stance on an Irish language act?

We trust that that party, whose brave and lonely opposition to an act and to the legacy bill scandal has been repeatedly praised by this newspaper, still opposes it.

If so, then Mr Smith is wrong to say that only the DUP opposes a deal.

Now more than ever, after Sinn Fein’s dreadful election result, it would be foolish to pay the ransom demanded in their political blackmail over the return of Stormont.