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Allister puts it up to Sinn Fein

16 April 2012

In the Stormont debate on ‘the Disappeared’ TUV Leader Jim Allister, by a timely intervention, ensured the focus fell on Sinn Fein’s ambivalence and support for IRA terror. He challenged Sinn Fein spokesman, Mitchell McLaughlin, over his 2005 description of the murder of Jean McConville as ‘not a criminal act’ and urged him to withdraw.


When McLaughlin refused, Sinn Fein’s stance became a central theme of the debate and when Mr Allister came to speak he concentrated on Sinn Fein and the McConville murder.


Extracts from Mr Allister’s speech:-


Mr Allister: There is nothing about terrorism that is anything but cruel. Yet, within all of that, the taking of someone, the cold-blooded murder of them and then secretly burying them, going through a process of denying involvement and giving no assistance to the search over decades for their bodies has to be one of the most cruel acts associated with the implementation of terrorism.


It is of those cruel acts that we speak today. Each one of them infamous, but perhaps the one with the greatest infamy was the murder of Jean McConville, which epitomises much of all of that. In this debate, we had an opportunity for some Members to put right wrongs of the past and do the decent thing in respect of past utterances.


We had Mr McLaughlin’s attention drawn to the fact that in 2005 he shamefully said — shamefully said — that the murder of Jean McConville was not a criminal act. If it was not a criminal act, then it was, in Mr McLaughlin’s view, a lawful act. It was one or the other. Patently, today, in his view, because of the refuge he has taken in obfuscating and avoiding the issue, it is still a lawful act.


That speaks much, and in far greater volumes than I could ever speak, about the heart of those who sit on the Benches of Sinn Féin. To this day, they patently believe that the callous, cruel and vicious murder of Jean McConville was a justified and lawful act.


Why would they think that? Because of who perpetrated it. Because in their twisted and perverse minds, the acts of the IRA were lawful acts, justified acts, acts of war or whatever perverse way in which they seek to describe them. That is the shame of this debate: there are Members in this House who, to this very day, hold to that perverse Provo mantra that what the IRA did was right and justified, because, in their eyes, it was the lawful authority.


There was nothing right, there was nothing justified and there was nothing justifiable about the vile, vicious and cruel murder of Jean McConville. Maybe, of course, it is because that murder touches right at the heart of Sinn Féin, if we are to believe what appears to be in the Boston library, namely the utterances from the grave of Mr Hughes and Dolores Price. She tells it as it is, it seems, and says that she drove Jean McConville to the place where she was murdered as a member of a unit presided over by the current president of Sinn Féin.


…One of the questions that hangs over the House is this: who controlled the unit that decided that Jean McConville would die? Is that part of the reason why Mr McLaughlin cannot bring himself to say that it was a wrong act, an unlawful act, a criminal act, a terrorist act, a vile and cruel act, and why, to this day, he hugs the IRA mantra that it was not a criminal act but a lawful act? That tells me all that I need to know of the party that sits on those Benches, and it is why, in my mind, they are still unfit for government.


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