Letter: The Omagh legacy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Before we get too worked up about Gerry Adams' unequivocal condemnation of the Omagh atrocity maybe we should consider the ambiguous remark of his more careful deputy, Martin McGuinness. When he said, "We see our job to be one of stopping the activities of these people," referring to the Real IRA, does he mean that these people must be stopped at all costs, that is through the vigilance of the security forces? Or does he mean that ousting the British will stop the circumstances that lead these people to indiscriminately kill and maim?

If he means the former, then we do indeed have reason to celebrate: we can assume that the Sinn Fein deputy leader has embraced the democratic process by implying that all means, including the British security forces, should be employed to combat the arbitrary violence of the Real IRA.

If the latter interpretation is closer to the mark, then he is shifting the onus for the bombing from the Real IRA on to the British presence in Northern Ireland, an implication that tacitly acknowledges the actual or potential violence that the IRA, Real, Provisional or Continuity, lends to the republican cause even after the promise of the Good Friday agreement.


Wookey Hole, Somerset