2001-03-10 / Columnists


Now is the time for all well intended, middle class Irish Americans and Irish free-state supporters to come to the aid of the Irish Peace Accord, the Good Friday Agreement.

As of recent circumstances, I am convinced that unless someone pushes the peace accord forward it will crumble. All the recent developments in the north have been nasty and often counterproductive. The Catholic community can take only so much. In the last few months, unknown sources (everyone agrees it’s the bigoted Protestant paramilitaries) seek and are working very hard for the agreements downfall. The road to war is already littered with Nationalist/Catholic corpses and there is a ceasefire supposedly in place. Here’s the problem: the IRA opened their rams dumps to inspection and have scrupulously observed the ceasefire. Their Protestant paramilitary enemies (too numerous to list) have generally not and many have openly, since day one, rejected the peace accords and actively worked to destroy them. Their favorite method is the murder and assassination of Catholics, who they might find walking the streets. You see, any Catholic will do. Needless to say this, along with British intransigence and back pedaling, have put the accords in great danger.

Since the IRA and Irish Republicans have laid down their weapons and tried "peaceful change," it’s up to all the well intentioned, middle class Irish Republicans and Irish Americans, who abhor to violence, to step to the plate and keep peaceful options alive. Since the British government has backpedaled substantially on the Patten Police Accords, everything seems dimmer and dimmer. You see, when law and order breaks down and your people are kidnapped and murdered, or butchered right off the street, either a fair and professional police force brings the culprits to justice or you have a breakdown and/or chaos. This is the brink of where we are now.

First, the British government makes a report on needed police reforms. Then, the government reports its commission and they reject many of the reforms. Now, in a civil society this is not necessarily a major problem, but in the north where you have a 97 Protestant sectarian police force consistently convicted of or linked to sectarian assassination, murder and torture, it’s a major problem. When you or your side has paramilitaries (the IRA), that lays down their arms, and your opponents’ paramilitaries start consistently murdering you, where do you turn?

This is the surreal life of Northern Ireland today. So, unless the "silent majority" of regular people speak up now, all may be lost. Politicians must be called and letters written now. It’s your turn. We who are Irish Republicans raised monies when needed, which were interned in prisons and hunger strikes to the death. We forced the British to the peace table, we’ve laid down our weapons, so come on now silent majority, speak. Please don’t just roll over.

I believe it was Daniel Webster who said, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation is in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." Our day will come.

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