AND SO the collusion merry–go–round completes another turn. The Finucane family is yet again fobbed off with second rate justice by the Northern Ireland Office, with Paul Murphy denying them the right of a public inquiry.
Make no mistake, the conviction of Ken Barrett means very, very little. It’s easy to gripe about the probable shortening of his sentence, but the fact is, that is an upshot of the Good Friday agreement, which we have accepted as still the only way forward for Ireland.
Besides, to complain about Barrett’s trial would be to miss the point completely. Certainly, no–one much doubts that Barrett pulled the trigger, but it’s apparent to everyone that this goes a lot deeper. The very fact that the Northern Ireland Office is planning to introduce specific legislation for future inquiries into collusion speaks volumes.
Indeed, the fact that this legislation is being brought in as a matter of ‘national security’says it all. Amnesty Internatoinal has commented that:
“With this announcement, the UK authorities are making the ‘public interest’subservient to ‘national security’. Conversely, Amnesty International believes that the public interest can only be served by ensuring public scrutiny of the full circumstances of Patrick Finucane's killing and its aftermath.”
There is the nub of the issue. When ‘national security’ somehow runs contrary to the security of individual members of the public, then one has to question the motivations of the state. If a state does not exist solely for the benifit of its citizens, than it must be assumed to be dangerous. In this case, it has proved to be dangerous.
THE COMING of the European Social Forum to London is a great opportunity to highlight postive activism around the world, as well as state injustice.
The Connolly Association and the Irish Democrat have worked hard over the years to highlight the great injustices closest to home, injustices which are often overlooked, in the race to find ever-more fashionable causes.
Certainly, in the last few years, the problems of Ireland seem to have taken a back seat in the minds of many on the left.
Of course, in some ways, this is a sign of the progress made since the IRA’s ceasefire, and the subsequent rounds of peace talks. Often these can seem frustrating, as with the recent Leeds Castle talks, which most outsiders viewed with more than a pinch of pessimism.
But the lessening of violence, and the seemingly endless grind of abortive talks and inactive assemblies must not lead to any lessening in resolve. The republican movement has made huge strides in the past ten years, and many brave decisions have been made along the way. These should not be underestimated.
Connolly Association, c/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD
Copyright © 2001 Connolly Publications Ltd