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How Those In Power Respond

Anthony McIntyre • 22 May 2005

Patricia McKenna has a valid point when she points to 'the unequal way victims of violence have been treated by our own political establishment and by our media.' She was referring to the exposure afforded by the European parliament to the murder of Robert McCartney. As a Green Party MEP she tried 'without success, to get the Dublin Monaghan bombings on the agenda … how must the relatives feel when they see so much political and media effort going into this one case while theirs has been covered up and ignored for so many years?'

McKenna's point cuts to the chase. The European parliament is concerned not with justice but with using a justice issue to apply pressure for the purpose of securing a political objective. That objective is to bring the interminable peace process to a conclusion. Unfortunately for the relatives of those slaughtered in the Dublin Monaghan bombings their demands for justice simply do not dovetail with the imperatives governing state behaviour in the European arena at this juncture. Highlighting the circumstances pertaining to the 1974 massacre while eminently worthy, in the eyes of the state powers does little to secure the conclusion of the peace process. The massive pressure on Sinn Fein that has accrued from the murder of Robert McCartney has a much greater potential to do that. The European parliament wants a result. If a justice issue is the wind in the sails pushing matters towards that result, then let justice be done; if not, justice is another obstacle to be dismissed as the plaything of mischief-makers who fail to appreciate the big picture.

Protest as we might, wherever we go there is a hierarchy of victims. It is not something exclusive to the European parliament, our own political establishment or media. When Joe O'Connor was murdered in a shoot to kill operation, leaving a Ballymurphy widow and four children, those most vociferous in their opposition to shoot to kill suddenly morphed into its foremost defenders. They gathered and howled outside homes determined to suppress public discussion of shoot to kill. IRA leaders stood in kitchens menacingly intent on intimidating people into refraining from calling for inquiries into shoot to kill. As Napoleon said, amongst those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.

There may well be universal laws and rights but quite often it takes local pressures to get them enacted. The McCartney women are absolutely right to push their justice issue, to act as a pressure group, to bang their shoe and make noise when others with vested interests shout 'silence.' How those in power respond is beyond the women's control. What you give is not always the measure you get. Here we have a justice issue which is a success story in terms of highlighting the core grievances. Yet many bewail the fact that it has not faltered. Suddenly, when cries for justice prick ears all over the world, many of those who made a career out of shouting 'justice' seem no longer to want it. They would rather no one have it if all can't have it. They ignore the logic of Patricia McKenna that one should have it - that all should have it; that there should be a levelling up, not down.

In a bid to maintain their hierarchy of victims and obviously frustrated by their inability to thwart the McCartney women, some goondas are now ratcheting up the strategy of threat. The women have been warned by the PSNI of threats to their lives and property from criminal elements. This was followed by more threats, the existence of which was again conveyed to the women by the police. On this occasion, the malice originated with republican rather than criminal elements. Sinn Fein leaders have insisted that republicans are not behind the threats. They may be right. But it can hardly be disputed that the latest threat to the family appeared on a republican website, that owned by the former Sinn Fein publicity director Danny Morrison. Posted at 9 minutes to eight on the 21st of May by someone signing themselves 'Only I MaTTeR', the message was both sinister and direct. It read: 'The McCartneys Better shut the hell up with their lies unless they want seriously injured...Then the IRA won't be able to protect them.'

Although Danny Morrison is on public record as holding responsible those who own websites and/or bulletin boards for anything that might appear on them, those who know different would be grossly unfair to deem Morrison culpable. He does not monitor the board, leaving it to an ability-challenged moderator. However, as it is a board which can only be accessed by registered users, Morrison has the authority to inform his moderator that the identity of the person who issued the threat should be made known immediately to both the McCartney women and the Sinn Fein leadership. Anything less would be a cover up. And republicans wouldn't do that now, would they?


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Index: Current Articles

22 May 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

How Those In Power Respond
Anthony McIntyre

Seeking Clarity — And Safety
Justice for Jimmy Campaign

Behind the Betrayal
Philip Ferguson

Self-Deception and Distortion
Tomas Maguire

Civil Case/Witch Hunt
N. Corey

No Entry
Anthony McIntyre

The Moral Reason Never to Tell
Dr John Coulter

Venezuela: Beginning to Borrow Some Revolution
Tomas Gorman

Dangerous Drugs
Sean Fleming

Rebel City
Liam O Ruairc

15 May 2005

'The SDLP Hasn't Gone Away, You Know'
Tom Luby

Facing Fire
Anthony McIntyre

Venezuela: Arrival
Tomas Gorman

Fred A. Wilcox

Support IRELAND and PALESTINE on June 4th
Mags Glennon



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