Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Maybe Gregory Campbell should look to the future

Sean McGlinchey
Double jobbing MP and MLA for East Londonderry Gregory Campbell had the call to object to the new Sinn Féin mayor of Limivady Sean McGlinchey by saying:

"It doesn't lend itself towards a party committed to looking to the future whenever Sinn Féin keep appointing people who are a very stark reminder of the past."

He goes on to say:

"If we saw some remorse, regret or apology for what they did in the past that would be a start but we haven't seen any of those things."

Now surely keeping raking up someone's past is just as much clinging to it as a stark reminder for those who are looking to a future. We have Jim sorry James Hugh* Allister using people previous connections in the Assembly Chamber yet he doesn't call the First Minister, incursionist into Clontibret.

Take it back 4 years and you see that McGlinchey actually spoke to the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis in 2007 in favour of the policing of Northern Ireland by the PSNI.

Now McGlinchey did serve 18 years for his part in the 12 June 1973 bombing at Railway Road, Coleraine, which killed Francis and Dinah Campbell, Elizabeth Craigmile, Nan Davis, Robert Scott and Elizabeth Palmer. But surely ex-prisoners are allowed the same opportunities as others. Ex-terrorists are just that, ones who have given up bombing, some of them have taken up democratic means to pursue their goals. If they are to be denied the right to take up any elected office we are living in the past and not striving for the future just the same.

Gerry Kelly MLA last week speaking on the point of an ex-prisoner being appointed a special adviser to another ex-prisoner now Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín MLA said:

"Almost half our [Sinn Féin] Assembly team are former political prisoners.

"Many more ex-prisoners have played critical and positive roles in bringing the political process to where it is now and will continue to do so."

Forgive me it I'm naïve but during the troubles we were told if only the paramilitaries would put away their weapons we could start to talk with them. Now that those that have put away weapons are now achieving high office some of those same people refusing to talk to them.

Isn't that just living in the past on old rules, not looking to the future?

* Only proper names to be used, as per Mr Allister.

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