Sectarian Murder in Belfast and its wider implications for the Peace Process

D OC donaloc at peterquinn.com
Wed Jul 24 07:52:03 MDT 2002


Zac,

Being honest, I don't know what's happening for sure although I have a good
idea. If Republicans were behind that shooting of a Protestant - I would
reckon he was doing something to get himself in that situation. If he was
just an ordinary Protestant, then I don't think any Republican could justify
it.

As far as the UFF were concerned they wanted to kill someone that night in
retaliation. It is not the first time a loyalist was wounded by Republicans
up there. I think that the Loyalists had decided that if it happened again -
they would kill a random Catholic - they happened to find someone wearing a
Celtic top. Again, I'm not sure, just putting two and two together.

The bigger story seems to be that the UFF is coordinating its activities in
the hope of dragging the IRA into conflict. The reason is that the
pro-Agreement (allegedly) UUP has pushed Blair to review ceasefires to keep
them on-board. Of course, Blair can say nothing to the IRA which was not a
signatory to the GFA and can't touch SF because (a) Nationalist opinion
wouldn't support our exclusion and (b) SF is doing every thing it can to
implement the GFA in full. Trimble knows that this is the case anyway but is
looking for a pretext for his pulling out of the Assembly ahead of the May
elections. I can't envisage the circumstances arising where Trimble fights
the election in coalition with us in the Stormont administration. He wants
freedom to outmaneuvre Paisley and the DUP. To do that he'll need to go it
alone.

I suspect that the UFF were trying to do something to strengthen the case
which Trimble can hide behind (we must now assume that the UUP is using the
political violence [true terrorism] of the UFF to it's own ends - that's why
they have been in talks and formed that think-tank). Trimble wants some more
political cover to justify his walking out on the Northern Executive to his
more liberal supporters (who have benefited from the Executive).

Meanwhile, the Nationalists and Republicans are keen to show the Executive
working so that Trimble pulling it down to pander to the hard-liners has an
impact on his middle-class support and further undermine the Unionist
majority (to an extent). That's why they are not complaining enough about
the gross underfunding of the Public Sector under Barnett. I'm not
particularly happy about that, but I can see what they're doing. My focus
right now is that we fight this election on ideological differences between
ourselves and the SDLP (they are very vulnerable given their acquiscience to
neoliberalism) - plus making good arguments on reintegration. This will work
for us on the ground and also increase our own political development as an
progressive organisation.

Let's hope that this calms down in Belfast. Its dangerous enough already.

D OC.


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