Letter: Donal Kennedy


The folly of the Northern Ireland secretary - and prime minister Brown

IF GORDON Brown wants to scupper the peace process in Ireland he will keep Northern Ireland secretary Shaun Woodward in post. If he wants peace to prosper he will sack him.

Mr Woodward gave an interview on BBC Radio 4's PM programme on 7 May which repeated stupid and false allegations of his predecessors of almost thirty years ago.

Mr Woodward obviously takes his English compatriots for fools, likewise his Scots and Welsh fellow subjects. His Irish listeners, who are acquainted with Irish media of various political complexions will have recognised the stupidity and mendacity of Mr Woodward's assertions, and some, who were hitherto prepared to give peace a chance will now vest their hopes in militant "diissident republican" action.

Following a report that dissidents posed a threat to the peace process Woodward claimed that the dissidents were interested only in feathering their own nests and that they peddled drugs and ran brothels.

Gangsters out to feather their own nests famously either avoid or bribe the police where they can. They do not seek confrontation with them, and in the long history of crime have never picked a fight with a state's military forces. Besides, in the nearly 220 years of Irish Republican endeavour, republican militants in good standing with their own organisations have never run brothels nor dealt in drugs. Renegades and deserters may have, but I would be interested to see what evidence Mr Wooward has to offer to support his repeated assertions that the dissidents are involved in these rackets.

The stupidity of Mr Woodward reminds me of Lord Carrington, 6th Baron Carrington, who took his seat in the House of Lords on his 21st birthday in 1940 and became a Government Minister later without ever offering himself to the electorate as a candidate. In 1981 when 2 acknowledged IRA prisoners and 1 INLA prisoner were elected to Parliaments in London and Dublin Carrington declared that the IRA represented nobody. You'd think, wouldn't you, that men in white coats should have taken him away? But no, 28 years later he's still at large.

The dishonesty of Mr Woodward recalls the late Sir Humphrey Atkins who should be roasting in Hell for his lies. Following the condemnation by the Press Council of the Times for falsely attributing all fatalities arsing from the Anglo-Irish conflict from 1969 to 1981 to IRA action, Atkins repeated the same lie in the Daily Mail.

I realise that if Mr Woodward is removed from office by Gordon Brown he will still be a very wealthy man. But if he is at a loss for something to do he could follow Sir Humphrey Atkins's trajectory to the House of Lords and a seat on the Press Complaints Commission before joining him in warmer climate.

His retention in his present post would be the best recipe for hellish repercussions in these islands.

Donal Kennedy, London

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2009-09-09 08:48:08.
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