Mixing politics and judicial process is a dangerous mix…

Well, I don’t what to add. People are getting carted off to jail for all sorts of things they did (or allegedly did) in the past. The case of Padraig Wilson seems to have particularly set the cat amongst the pigeons.

And Gerry Kelly is channeling anger from Republicans:

“I can tell you frankly that many, many people have been in touch, from other colleagues, very angry about the idea that someone who was crucial to bringing people along in the peace process and political process is now behind bars where he should not be.”

The problem is there are judicial processes that have to be adhered to, no matter who people are, or what debt we may or may not owe them. Gerry’s arguing they should be bypassed for political reasons.

Which is a bit more than just a bit of a problem. I understand the impulse to want to tame a given problem and make it work for you or your political party. It’s what politicians do the world over.

But there are limits, particularly when the interests of a political party come into conflict with the requirements of justice.

There’s been a lot of focus on historic cases in which the state has over reached its powers. Some relatives have spent half a lifetime trying to force the truth out of a state reluctant to give up its darker secrets.

But it should not be forgotten that the state now is in part run by the representatives of many of those who lost their loved ones to past state actions.

That is, to say the least, an awkward place to be standing.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty