Monday, 9 March 2009

The Slow, Carefully-Crafted, Eventual Condemnation

It had been a dozen years since the last murder of a British soldier in Northern Ireland. That was until Saturday night.

A lot has changed in that time. Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) now head up the power sharing executive of the Northern Irish Assembly and the squaddies now see Northern Ireland as a welcome break from 24 hour worries in Iraq or Afghanistan. Indeed the two who were shot dead, either from across the road or point blank as they lay wounded, were hours from disembarkation to Helmand Province.

However, has that much changed behind the scene in the minds of those once who would have supported such action. Sinn Féin did condemn the attack but took 14 hours to do so when they did the statement issued by Gerry Adams lacked the spontaneity, grief or anger of the other political leader. Not calling it an attempted mass murder but merely an attack on the peace process as if no life had been lost.

Adams did go on to say "Those responsible have no support, no strategy to achieve a united Ireland." In light of the events a weighted statement. It is doubtful that Sinn Féin themselves currently garner enough support to achieve a united Ireland, and their strategy has only recently changed. But it is a subtle way of saying this is a small faction.

The words on the page tell one story, how they were addressed reminds those of us who recall the Sinn Féin carefully worded statements of old to look between the lines. Although praise is due that whatever the choice of words, style of delivery etc. this was still a condemnation of the attacks.

"There should be an end to actions like the one in Antrim last night. The popular will is for peaceful and democratic change."


  1. I'm not so sure that your thoughts here represent a helpful road to go down Stephen. Indeed I'd say they constitute a rather large backwards step.

    What exactly are you suggesting?

  2. Jeff if SF had taken 14 hours to come up with a totally open, no hidden agenda, condemnation of the act. I would have praised them wholeheartedly. As I do say this is carefully crafted, too carefully. There are too many of the old stayed sentances and sentiments still hanging around there.

    In Northern Irish politics more so than anywhere else, I find, the choice of words and phrases has far deeper significance. That is too much left partially said or not fully said in the full text.