A time to stop appeasing criminals

The Bible states that “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” (Ecclesiastes 3) In the aftermath of the latest murder it is a “Time to Mourn” (v4). The latest sectarian murder in Northern Ireland, this time in Coleraine, is as sickening and evil as all the ones which have gone before. It is being reported that the UDA was behind the attack.

Reading the Belfast Telegraph’s account of the murder it seems clear that there was some sort of organisation of this crime and as such the report of UDA organisation seems overwhelmingly likely. Clearly the first and most important thing at this time is to condemn the murder and offer sympathies to the family of Mr. McDaid; it seems his wife was also injured in the attack, hence our thoughts and prayers must be with her for a speedy physical recovery as well as the other individuals injured. The next thing to be demanded is the rapid arrest, charging, prosecution and prolonged imprisonment of all those involved in this murder: it was clearly a conspiracy of many individuals and all those who can be should be prosecuted to the limit of the law.

There are also of course political ramifications to this murder. It seems that the UDA have added yet another sickening crime to their revolting tally. Hence, this murder demands political repercussions for that organisation. Shaun Woodward must surely now see that his claims that the loyalists are moving towards decommissioning are completely specious: even if by some miracle it were true it; last night’s events demonstrate that not merely the possession of firearms but the very existence of loyalist paramilitaries is utterly unacceptable. In this context surely it is time for the well meaning but utterly futile and indeed counter productive meetings between various politicians, legitimate leaders of society and loyalist leaders to end?

It is time for appeasement of these thugs to stop permanently and for robust police action to arrest and imprison for prolonged periods those responsible including their leaders. It is completely unacceptable in a supposedly civilised society that leaders of proscribed criminal organisations are permitted to roam free with seemingly little or no fear of the law. The loyalist terrorists have received all carrot and no stick for years. Last night’s terrible events are, tragically only the most obvious result of this folly; less obvious is the destruction of the lives of people in working class unionist communities by the racketeering, criminality, drug dealing, prostitution etc. which loyalist organised criminals have visited upon them.

Although today is a time to mourn, tomorrow (quite literally) should be “A time of war” (Ecclesiastes 3 v8): a legal war within the rules of the law but a war non the less on the loyalist terrorists who continue to bring dishonour on our province. Surely a start would be to rush legislation through to end the funding of the CTI. The carrot must stop: the time of the stick is long overdue.

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