is an open appeal to Martina Anderson, the Shinners'
recently appointed Ambassador to Unionism
tell the Prods the Provos have permanently disbanded
and Sinn Fein is a purely political organisation
like the now defunct Irish Independence Party.
Ms Anderson, as a former republican prisoner, you
face the uphill task especially among the
north Antrim hillbilly religious Rednecks
of the auld Prod saying, Never trust a Rebel.
while you're at it trying to convince Unionists
the modern day IRA posed no threat to pro-Union
voting Protestants maybe you could tell me
who from your party's military wing murdered three
of the finest 'born again' Christian believers I
have ever had the privilege of knowing.
was a relative; another was a member of my father's
congregation, and the third a close friend.
in case these brutal murders have slipped your mind,
let me refresh it. My relative was 31-year-old RUC
Reserve Constable Arthur Henderson who was killed
by the Shinners' military wing on 8 October, 1974.
The married man died when a booby-trap bomb placed
in a car in Stewartstown exploded.
Arthur's funeral service a few days later, the Church
of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev Dr
G O Simms, said Arthur's last words before he died
at the scene of the blast were: May the Lord
would have been quite a contrast from the barbaric
animals who planned and carried out the attack.
Arthur's 'born again' Christian attitude probably
sparked hysterical laughter among your party's IRA
active service unit responsible.
years later, on 12 February, 1977, my father
who was then minister of Clough Presbyterian Church
in Co Antrim woke me to tell me the terrible
news that one of our congregation 33-year-old
RUC Reserve Constable Samuel McKane had been
shot dead, again by the Shinners' military wing.
He was married with one child.
over a year later, on 3 August, 1978, my good friend
and dedicated Christian 21-year-old RUC Reserve
Constable John Lamont was also shot dead by your
party's military wing. I used to always buy my shoes
from the footwear shop where he worked, and he would
visit me in the Christian bookshop where I had a
part-time job at that time.
like many other Protestants, and indeed many Catholics,
need closure on these horrific murders. Ms Anderson,
you can begin by telling me why Arthur, Samuel and
John had to die. What purpose did the deaths of
these three dedicated Christians serve?
the moment, no matter what swanky title the Gerry
Adams/Martin McGuinness peace campaign awards you,
your role as Sinn Fein's Ambassador to Unionism
has as much chance of being taken seriously in the
Prod community as any bid by Hezbollah to appoint
an Israeli Community Relations Minister.
you seriously expect, as a former republican jail
bird, to be welcomed with open arms, tea and biccies
into the homes of border Protestant families who
have endured the Provos' campaign of ethnic cleansing
against the Unionist community?
about the large numbers of unsolved murders of Prod
RUC and UDR members during the IRA's political slaughter
throughout the North? Will you help bring closure
to these families by telling them who butchered
their loved ones?
about the workmen who were machine-gunned at Kingsmills?
What about the Orangemen mown down at Tullyvallen?
What about the people blown apart at Enniskillen,
Bloody Friday and La Mon? What about the RUC officers
killed in the Newry mortar blitz?
when you're pondering what to say to those families,
Ms Anderson, why don't you come up with some answers
as to the so-called republican gangsters who killed
three Pentecostal elders during a religious service
at their Darkley church?
do hope you will not be struck down by the terrible
illness which many republicans suffer from
Selective Memory Disorder. That's where the republican
movement can remember where all its arsenals and
bunkers are located, but can't recall where it has
buried the bodies of the Disappeared.
don't try to bluff and insult the Prod community,
Ms Anderson, by feeding Unionism some well-spun
Sinn Fein crap that suffering, injustice, and grief
are exclusive to republicanism.
do the RUC and UDR widows and orphans want to hear
any hypocritical drivel that their husbands, fathers
or brothers were legitimate targets for the heroes
of Holy Mother Ireland who skulked behind hedges
waiting for the youth of Unionism to come home from
their security shift before your IRA comrades murdered
your job, Ms Anderson, is to be viewed as more than
an effective publicity stunt to convince Bertie
Ahern the Shinners might make good coalition partners
after next year's Dail elections, then you must
understand the tremendous pain and hurt which still
exists daily in the Unionist community, especially
along the border your Provo buddies have tried so
hard to eradicate.
families need closure on the death and maiming inflicted
on their loved ones. If, Ms Anderson, you want genuine
Unionist trust, you need to instil in republicanism
a willingness to be forgiven for the crimes the
movement has committed and to publicly apologise
to Unionism for the hurt and harm it has dished
out over the years.
for victims is not one-sided. As well as a willingness
to forgive, there must be the willingness to be
forgiven and the latter has never been shown
by the republican movement.
is because to show such willingness would be an
acceptance of guilt for the Provos' so-called armed
so Ms Anderson, its time to put your money where
you mouth is. Tell me when Unionism can expect the
IRA's willingness to be forgiven and its apology
for the generation of genocide? I await your response
will also assume that any ignoring of my open letter
by you or your party is because the republican movement
is still ridden with guilt at the suffering, pain
and hurt it has inflicted on the Unionist community.