John Coulter in the Irish Daily Star yesterday was urging the Shinners to pull a master-stroke. What they should do, John says, is concede on the flag-flying issue. Let ‘the butcher’s apron’ (his words, not mine) fly 365 days a year and in return have Peter Robinson do yet another U-turn and agree to a peace centre at the Long Kesh/Maze site. Oh, and the Shinners should let unionists have their Ardoyne and Drumcree parades, in return for IRA volunteer commemoration marches in religiously mixed areas.
Well, you can’t fault the man for fresh thinking. He sees IRA volunteer commemorations taking place in such areas as North Down and Ballymena. As to victims, he believes “the people killed in the Monaghan and Dublin no-warning loyalist car bombs are the same as the people murdered in the Real IRA’s no warning car bomb in Omagh”.
Verb change there, you’ll notice. The people in Omagh were ‘murdered‘ while the people in Monaghan and Dublin were ‘killed’. You’ll also note that it was ‘loyalist car bombs‘ which did the damage in Dublin and Monaghan - no mention of collusion with the British forces, which many people are convinced took place. And of course there was a warning on the Real IRA’s Omagh bomb. Unfortunately it was garbled and actually ended in heavier casualties. Oh, and John makes no mention of the growing belief that the authorities could have prevented the Omagh bomb.
But it’s the proposed solution to the flag problem that bounces off the wall at the craziest of angles. Sinn Féin, John says, should allow the reversal of a Belfast City Council decision in return for being allowed to hold IRA commemorations in ‘religiously mixed areas’. Bad, John. Very bad. Proposed resolution of problem by pulling the plug on a democratic vote. Not to mention the Mad Hatter’s vision of an IRA commemoration marching through Ballymena. Not to mention rewarding Peter Robinson for his hand-brake turn on the peace centre.
That kite of yours, John. Hate to say it but with all those holes it’s just not going to fly.