Culture of ignoring the law and disorder is the real block to peace

Whilst Gerry Adams may be looking for talks without preconditions (although it’s not entirely clear what he means by that) Warren Little points out in his column for the Impartial  Reporter far from there being a problem with just one murder, there is a broader problem with a broader culture which has grown up around a Peace Process™ driven Northern Ireland:

Nationalists complain with some merit that it is a bit rich for the unionist parties to revolt over Sinn Fein’s links to the IRA when the same unionists are happy to form pressure groups with the representatives of the UVF. But here’s the crux: the unionist parties’ perceived hypocrisy does not invalidate their stated concerns. Those same concerns are shared by many people who find the UVF’s representatives just as shady as they find Sinn Fein, if not more so.

That most unionists should approve of the UUP’s walk-out now, having let their concerns slide for so long, is largely because the Executive has all but eaten itself after a prolonged period of self-harm. The Maze, On-The-Runs fiasco, welfare deal implosion, the expenses scandal and finally the wanton abuse of petitions of concern. That series of blows has devalued Stormont to the extent that few believe it worth saving in its current form. Or rather, few believe that saving it is worth the ongoing risk of letting the underworld flourish, as it has appeared to do under the status quo. The McGuigan murder was just the final nudge.

If Stormont is to be rebuilt, and it will be, the parties and Governments must first work out a means of gradually restoring confidence in the rule of law. Only then can an atmosphere exist where all the compromises in the day to day working of a worthy government become possible.


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

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