Letter: Sinn Fein 'success'; Army digs in; justice comes first

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your Ireland Correspondent, David McKittrick, seems to assume that Sinn Fein have had a true change of heart. There is no evidence of this in his own articles. When he quotes Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness or other 'republican sources' they use the same terms as before. The republican 'rhetoric of peace', as Mr McKittrick calls it, is the old rhetoric of 'armed struggle' under a new title. And now they have John Hume using the same language. Mr McKittrick quotes two passages from the joint statement made by Mr Hume and Mr Adams ('IRA takes final steps to peace', 29 August) where Mr Hume finds himself subscribing to Sinn Fein's political vocabulary.

For Sinn Fein, armed violence and political work are not distinct and opposite, but parallel and complementary. To quote Mr McKittrick ('IRA signals a historic ceasefire', 26 August): 'Now the republicans believe their goals may be more productively pursued through politics than through violence.'

Sinn Fein are not dignifying failure, they are exploiting success. The real 'historic step' is not a 'dramatic' change in Fenian policy, but the creation of a new political alliance.

For the first time since 1931, Sinn Fein, with the willing help of John Hume, has consolidated Irish nationalists in Ireland and America into one bloc. They evidently believe that with this mass they can impose enough 'moral' pressure on British ministers and the North Irish Unionists to break the Union.

Yours faithfully,

A. D. WHITE

Leicester

30 August

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