Letter: One-man band

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The Independent Online
COLE MORETON cites the self-styled human rights activist Vincent McKenna whose invention, the grandiosely titled Northern Ireland Human Rights Bureau (NIHRB), gives the impression of being, at the least, an offshoot of the United Nations ("How to handle a hooligan", 5 September). In reality, the NIHRB has no official standing or accreditation whatsoever and is run as a one-man band from his home.

McKenna, an ex-IRA bomber, sent down for eight years, was subsequently thrown out of the IRA for persistently leaking details of upcoming operations. By his own present lurid reasoning, this treachery should have merited "extreme sanction" but he is still there, travelling around, funded by no one knows who, and pursuing his objective of subverting the Good Friday Agreement, which he says should be scrapped.

Cole Moreton says that the NIHRB collates information from the police, government sources and voluntary agencies (unspecified), and attributes 153 punishment beatings and 61 shootings to the IRA since last May's Good Friday Agreement. McKenna has also said that the year 1998 was the worst for IRA infractions since the 1970s. Yet your Ireland Correspondent, David McKittrick, from figures collated by the RUC, stated that there were only 93 claimed IRA infractions in 1998 (out of a combined Loyalist and Republican total of 213), the lowest since 1996. This is a measure of the calibre of McKenna's "data", which is aimed at portraying a Northern Ireland aflame because of a failed peace accord.

ARTHUR VALENTINE

Edinburgh

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