IF one of the aims of dissident republicanism is to disrupt normal politics here, they won a small victory on Monday. NIO minister Hugo Swire was quite explicit that the reason the identities of donors to political parties would remain secret was the threat of intimidation.
It is possible he, and the unionists who called for a continuation of the status quo, could be right. After all, it wasn’t just soldiers who took bullets at Massereene – apparently Polish pizza delivery drivers can be British ‘collaborators’.
So the fear of providing a ready-made hit list of targets to dissidents has led to a decision that runs counter to the public’s appetite for greater openness and transparency.
If our unwillingness to publicly identify ourselves with political parties we support is not a risk worth taking, it means – whether we like it or not – that the dissidents have won this political skirmish.
Living History 1968-74
A unique, once-in-a-lifetime 10-week course at Stranmillis University College Belfast featuring live, in-depth interviews with leading figures from this tumultuous era in Northern Ireland’s cultural and political history.
Live interviews with: Bernadette McAliskey, Austin Currie, Brid Rogers, Baroness Blood, Dennis Bradley, Baroness Paisley, Lord Kilclooney, Tim McGarry, Danny Morrison, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and others…