Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Meat for the goose

If you ever plan to murder someone, join the IRA or UVF first. Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement anything they've done is met with the kind of blind eye Nelson could only dream of.

However, having decided that convicted IRA and UVF murderers don't deserve jail, the British government's been in a real pickle about what to do with the scores of on-the-run terrorists being hunted for serious crimes. You know, attempted murderers, etc., who've run away.

Well, now they're to be allowed back with impunity. Except they first have to attend a tribunal to find them guilty and then let them go back to their fuel smuggling or schoolteaching, etc. Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin's chief negotiator instrumental in persuading the British government that a terrorist mass-murderer deserves less jail than a minor tax fraudster, is now querying why taxpayers' money should be wasted on a tribunal without any purpose. I'm right with him on that one.

This is the clearest object-lesson ever in what happens when you compromise a mainstay principle. Once you start letting criminals off the hook you lose all credibility in applying justice elsewhere.

The prisoner release arrangements are the only aspect of the GFA I don't accept. Because a murder is a murder. A crime is a crime no matter when, why or by whom it is committed. The British government was, perhaps understandably, so blinded by the prospect of terrorists stopping their murder-sprees that it set a precedent any democracy should be ashamed of.

In this respect its logic was a one-way blind alley, there's no reverse gear and Sinn Féin is at the wheel.

3 Comments:

At 8:01 p.m., Anonymous maca said...

Totally agree John, a crime is a crime and those who break the law should be locked up.

 
At 9:03 p.m., Anonymous Parnell said...

Sorry to agree with you but I agree with you. Not a long time ago I along with a member of religeon and a community worker paid a visit to some people outside of the process.

For someone in my official role to be asked to, call in, was and is a matter of serious concern because it was considered dangerous however, there was a lot to be gained. That visit had all the ingredients full, frank and to the point I won,t go into the details.

At its conclusion there were two parting shots (1)Its got to end or things will get worse and quickly. (2) If we,re ever on the losing side I want as much from the, British, government as they got.

 
At 2:05 a.m., Anonymous beano said...

I don't know if it matters but the reason for the tribunal is to prove they're guilty and therefore "out on licence" rather than technically 'free' as it were.

Makes no difference to the dog on the street, but as far as the law goes that's it.

Not sure what goes on with the presidential pardon in the Republic.

 

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