As I say, I get depressed when I hear this kind of irrational outrage. Today I'm a bit down in the dumps to note where John O'Dowd, the Education Minister, is under fire for having given a lift to a funeral to Martin Corey. Corey was imprisoned for involvement in the killing of two RUC men in 1973. He was released under the Good Friday Agreement, but had his licence revoked and is at present imprisoned in Maghaberry. According to the Portadown Times, O'Dowd drove (or was driven) in his ministerial car to Maghaberry, where MLA Raymond McCartney collected Corey and drove him to his brother's funeral. (I know it sounds confusing - was it O'Dowd or McCartney who took the man to the funeral? But that's how the Portadown Times presents the story.)
Now for the depressing bit. Unionist MLA Sydney Anderson is, yes indeed, outraged. "This was a public failure of every child in Northern Ireland on the part of the Education Minister as he is tasked with overseeing the education of children so that they can make a positive contribution to future generations"
In the name of all that's sweet and true, what sort of gobblydegook rubbish is this? Corey is in prison because the British Secretary of State has decided that's where he wants him, just as Marion Price is in prison on the same grounds. The prison authorities sanctioned Corey's temporary release to attend his brother's funeral. O'Dowd and/or McCartney gave him a lift to the requiem Mass and burial. And Corey has returned to prison. End of story.
Or should be, except that Anderson sees this as a failure of all the children here. A word in your shell-like, Sydney: ninety-five per cent of the children here won't even have been aware that Corey existed, let alone got a lift from O'Dowd/McCartney. And even if they had, the man had been sanctioned to travel and attend his brother's funeral. Nothing illegal has happened, a close relative has been buried, the terms of release were observed. Somewhere, somehow, Sydney, there must be something more deserving of your outrage. Meanwhile, if you could stop using the burial of one man and the attendance at his funeral of another as an occasion for talking Grade A tripe, it'd lift my spirits no end. Good man, Sydney. I knew you'd see sense in the end.