Two years ago today Ann Travers, sister of IRA victim Mary, met with Peter Robinson over the appointment of Mary McCardle (one of those involved in her sister`s murder ) to a highly paid Stormont Special Adviser position. Today Twitter is awash with raging Sinn Fein activists aghast at the possibilty of discrimination being perpetrated against rapists, murderers & bombers as Jim Allister`s SPAD bill looks likely to be voted through.
— Jamie Shaw (@JamieShawSF) June 1, 2013
I realise it is a delicate & sensitive subject with relation to the definition of a victim but the immediate Sinn Fein reaction seems to be to rally round the perpetrators of evil acts whilst belittling the victims.
There is little question that grief is equally felt on all sides and that there are victims on all sides.
I doubt you would find anyone who would disagree that those killed and injured by the Real IRA Omagh bomb or the UVF Dublin & Monaghan bombs were victims and their families grief stricken.
On 2nd June 1982, 16 year old Catholic boy Patrick Smith was killed and 2 of his friends injured by an INLA bomb attached to a stolen motorcycle . INLA member Jimmy Brown is believed to have organised the bomb and was later killed in an internal Republican feud.
According to the Sinn Fein narrative the 3 boys and the INLA man are all victims. At best I can see 3 innocent victims and a victim of his own making. There are many similar stories.
– On the 5th March 1973 A UDA member dies when the bomb he was handling prematurely exploded.
– On the 17th March 1973 A UDA member dies when his car bomb explodes prematurely outside Kirk’s Bar in Cloughfinn, County Donegal.
Are these really the same as:
– On 3rd June 1975 2 Protestant civilians and a part time UDR man were shot dead by Republicans whilst in a car returning from a dog show near Newry
– On 29th December 1973 the UDA and UVF shot dead a Catholic RUC officer after robbing a supermarket to lure his police patrol to the scene in retaliation for the security forces earlier shooting dead a UVF member.
– On the 29th May 1977 Rowland Hill a 66-year-old Protestant died from bullet wounds he received 6 days earlier in a robbery at the Ewarts Social club by 4 masked UDA/UFF men.
– On the 13th September 1972 The Royal Ulster Constabulary shot dead a UDA member during an armed robbery.
Slightly more complex, but are the bomber and his intended UDA target really the same as the innocent people in the chippy?
– On 23rd October 1993, a PIRA bomb prematurely exploded in a fish shop killing 8 Protestant civilians, one UDA member and one of the IRA bombers.
I can only speak for myself but I can see a clear distinction. Call it a heirarchy if you like.
Comparisons by Sinn Fein reps with the American civil rights struggle and historical anti-Irish signage abound.
— jj magee (@jjnorthbelfast) June 2, 2013
Well now we have it said, SDLP admit to Hierarchy of Victims, is this support. For those bereaved by postcode, truly hurtful for families
— Carál Ní Chuilín MLA (@CaralNiChuilin) June 2, 2013
Leaving aside the fact that 3 of the MLA`s I quote are convicted IRA bombers, it seems they are concerned that MEP Martina Anderson`s husband and Special Adviser to Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Paul Kavanagh, will lose his 90k/year job. Kavanagh, a convicted IRA bomber injured 20 Irishguards and killed 18 year old John Breslin as well as 59 year old Nora Field (who was out shopping with her mother) when he bombed Chealsea Barracks. Days later he left a bomb in a toilet at a Wimpy restaurant in Oxford which killed a Metropolitan police bomb disposal officer trying to disarm it.
Paul’s family deeply hurt by comments of SDLP leader about hierarchy of victims. Victims of state violence need not look to SDLP for support — MEP-MartinaAnderson (@MEPStandingUp4U) June 2, 2013
Kavanagh complains that he too is a victim because his 18-year-old brother Albert was an `unarmed` IRA member shot dead by the Royal Ulster Constabulary during an attempted bomb attack on commercial premises in south Belfast. I would disagree. He and his family may well be bereaved and grief stricken from their loss like many others but I am afraid I would not class them as victims. IRA victim Ann Travers has it right when she says:
There is a Sinn Fein special advisor who could lose his job. My reply to that would be that Paul Kavanagh can use the same appeals process that anybody can if he helps the police.
You know victims didn’t get an appeals process. Paul Kavanagh’s three victims who were blown up, a father of two small children, an 18 year old boy, and a middle lady, did not get any appeals process. My sister did get an appeals process. Thousands of victims didn’t get it.
One minute they were alive, the next minute they were dead.
Paul Kavanaghs grief losing brother is ‘further down pecking order’ than other victims say SDLP.No wonder frmr VictimsCommissioner disgusted — Daithí McKay (@daithimckay) June 2, 2013
With regards to the claims of discrimination against ex prisoners. Let us remember that prisoners do not get to vote. Let us remember the SPAD bill applies to anyone convicted to more than 5 years in prison not just paramilitaries. Let us not forget that numerous jobs require applicants to be vetted and to declare unspent & spent convictions and that the Independent Safeguarding Authority keeps a list of people who are barred from working with vulnerable people so ex prisoners are already `discriminated` against.
Kavanagh was recently due to be appointed to the school board of top Catholic Grammar School, Lumen Christi College in Derry/Londonderry.