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Unionism in denial over Collusion

21 November, 2011 - by Alex Maskey

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey, himself a victim of British Agent Brian Nelson, has accused unionist politicians of living in denial over collusion and insulting the victims of the British State policy and those hundreds of families bereaved through it. Mr Maskey’s comments come after the reaction of both the UUP and DUP to the Taoiseach offering support to the Finucane family.

Mr Maskey said:

“Collusion was a very deliberate British State policy of controlling and directing the activities of the loyalist gangs. Hundreds of innocent Catholics, nationalists and republicans were killed and injured. Collusion was a policy which was about maintaining the Union, it was done on behalf of unionism, it was done in their name. At its height in the late 1980s and early 1990s unionist politicians were part of the cover-up. They led the public denials; they led the public dismissals as ‘Republican propaganda’.  Indeed many elected unionists were little more than cheerleaders for the unionist paramilitaries.

“Now years into the Peace Process political unionism is still in denial. The behaviour of the DUP and UUP at the recent NSMC berating the Taoiseach for offering support to the Finucane family smacked of hypocrisy and was a deliberate insult to the victims of collusion and those families bereaved by it. On one hand they demand that the Taoiseach implement the Weston Park Agreement on the Breen/Buchanan Inquiry but on the other hand they support the British government in running away from their similar commitment on the murder of Pat Finucane.

“Peter Robinson, Arlene Foster and Danny Kennedy need to get real. They need to stop denying the reality of collusion and the nature of the British government policy which saw hundreds of people killed. Given the very strident opposition by unionism to a Truth Commission to deal with the past and indeed to an Inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane it is a reasonable question to ask what have they got to fear from such a process.

“Republicans have long flagged up the need to deal with the past in a sensitive and sensible fashion. Political unionism needs to quickly catch up and face up to its role in giving rise to the conflict and sustaining it for so long.”

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