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Letter: Ulster vigilantes

Sir: Just who is Vincent McKenna and what is the "Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau" ("Teenager beaten with iron bar and ordered to leave Belfast", 31 August)? Is it a coincidence that, at this very delicate stage of the peace process, the spotlight should suddenly be put upon the "intimidation" of youths in the republican community?

The Ulster Unionists blather about the IRA breaking the Good Friday Agreement, and cry crocodile tears over the fate of what seem to be young criminals whose communities are heartily glad to see the back of them. But the reality is that the agreement is in danger precisely because the Unionists have sought to rewrite it.

The IRA gave no assurances about its "vigilante" activities in its declared ceasefire. In a community which has (quite understandably) no faith in a sectarian police force, it should come as no shock that people will look to those they see as their own to carry out rudimentary, and often brutal, methods of policing.

Where is the condemnation of the loyalist death squads who continue to operate against Catholics and who have been by far the most efficient sectarian killers during the last 30 years?

The leadership and bravery shown by Sinn Fein in getting to this stage must not be betrayed by the Blair government in further concessions to the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party.


London SE15