Friday 7 December 2012

Hillary comes as do the death threats

Today Northern Ireland is welcoming Hillary Clinton.

The first time she turned up death threats were a common occurrence to our elected representatives and other people who had got on the wrong side of the paramilitaries. Therefore it is with shame that all three levels of local representative today have announced that they have received death threats.

The Alliance MP for East Belfast Naomi Long spoke very calmly on The Nolan Show this morning. She was talking about those who had taken to the streets claiming that their rights were being chipped away at, but then came the telling statement:

"My right to life is also protected in law. But it is being played fast and loose with today"

 People claiming that they will fight for their rights while denying the right to live at home, or visit someone's own office is an attack on rights.

After Naomi the leader of the Sinn Féin group on Belfast City Council, Cllr Jim McVeigh, said that both he and North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has also received death threats.

The First Minister has this time reacted with alacrity in issuing a response:

"Such threats are an affront to democracy and an attack on us all. As someone who in the past has been visited many times by the police to be told of death threats issued against me, I know how difficult and testing a time this is.  My thoughts and prayers are very much with Naomi at this time and I would call upon all concerned not to allow themselves to be used by those who have very sinister motives.  Regardless of political difference, public representatives should not be attacked or threatened in anyway."

All death threats against the people's elected representatives are repugnant. They are an attack on our democracy as well as an attack on the people who voted for those representatives.

This morning the leader in The Belfast Telegraph appears on the front page under the headline "Today we all vote for the Alliance Party". Today we also stand for democracy, the rule of law and the right of our elected representatives to go about their business free of intimidation and threat. The ballot box and peaceful protest and discourse are where we should make out points.

We need to end the bullying on social media.

We need to end condemnations of the violence which end with a but. The but negates everything before it as it is given half heartedly.

It is time for a recall of Stormont. There has been a further escaltaion not a calming of the tension since yesterday. We the people of Northern Ireland cannot wait until Monday morning for our politicians to discuss this matter, there is a weekend in between and that is a bad time to leave things in limbo.

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