Letter: Bombs against the ballot box

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The Independent Online
Sir: As the votes of the Northern Ireland electorate from Wednesday's local government elections were about to be counted, the IRA showed its true colours and the sickening contempt with which it regards the people of Northern Ireland ('Lorry bomb injures 13 in Belfast city centre attack', 21 May). What is most ironic is that Sinn Fein's election literature boasted that a vote for it was a vote 'for a lasting peace'.

Elections since 1982 have shown that Sinn Fein is unable to defeat the Unionist and constitutional nationalist parties at the ballot box. Consequently, its paramilitary/terrorist wing, the IRA, tries another method: the blowing up of the Ulster Unionist Party's headquarters and much of central Belfast.

When the newly elected councils assemble, with Sinn Fein councillors in at least half of them, the atmosphere left by the outrage will render local government in Northern Ireland even more uncomfortable and deadlocked.

Sir Patrick Mayhew and the Northern Ireland Office must resolve to do something about the Sinn Fein/IRA menace: political talks among the constitutional parties are only one step to resolving the situation in Northern Ireland. Options that Sir Patrick has always kept open should now be seriously considered, namely the proscription of Sinn Fein and selective internment. This would not be an immediate, ill-thought-out reaction to one terrorist incident, but positive action in face of a virtually uncontrolled paramilitary campaign of nearly 25 years.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD J. McBRIDE

Drumagore, Co Londonderry

20 May

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