The following is a speech delivered by TUV leader Jim Allister during yesterday’s debate on terrorism in the Castlederg area:
“Last night, through our television screens, we had the opportunity to glimpse something of the pain and horror that attended the entire episode of the disappeared. Tonight, this House focuses, quite properly, on the very concentrated pain of the small town of Castlederg. It was visited, probably above all others, with the horrendous, vicious, vile, wicked, terrorism of the IRA, which was not some accidental fallout from some perception that someone somewhere was being discriminated against, but the calculated, deliberate and preconceived implementation of a terrorist campaign.
“Ms Boyle comes to this House with not a word of regret and not a word of apology for the 29 murders, but with every attempt to justify, explain away and glorify even those who were the killers. They chose to be terrorists. No one made the killers of Castlederg be terrorists. They chose to be terrorists. Their victims did not choose to be victims. They were made victims by the IRA. This attempt to rewrite history and pretend that there is some great equivalence is adding great pain and hurt to the reality. The reality in Castlederg was ethnic cleansing. It was a vicious sectarian campaign against those of the Protestant faith and unionist persuasion. I think it was the Rev Neill who famously said at the funeral of one RUC officer that things are so bad in Castlederg that, when we come to pray, we have to have policemen at the door of our churches.
“Some pretend that it was not sectarian genocide. That is exactly what it was. It is also quite appalling that victims who looked to those set up to help them, such as the Victims’ Commissioner, have to listen to a Victims’ Commissioner equivocate over whether those who made them victims were or were not terrorists, and who cannot bring herself to say, “Yes, of course they were terrorists”. It is such equivocation that adds greatly and immensely to that hurt, which was further added to, of course, by the obscenity of 11 August, when we had the coat-trailing glorification of two terrorists setting out of their own choice and volition to bring terror to Castlederg and who met their just desserts at their own hands.
“Mr Kelly went to Castlederg to hail them as freedom fighters, those who gave their lives, he said, so that we could be free. They were on a murder mission to bring terror and mayhem to the town of Castlederg. As long as we have in the House and elsewhere those who are willing and eager to glorify such acts, there will be no reconciliation in the Province because reconciliation cannot be built on a falsehood. It is a damnable falsehood to suggest that there is equivalence between those who chose to be victim makers and those whom they made victims by their actions.
“We should not be here to patronise victims. We should not be here to say that Eames/Bradley would have given you, and will yet give you, the opportunity to tell your story. Victims are not looking for storytelling. They are looking for justice, and justice means those who made them victims being faced with their deeds in the courts of this land. Storytelling is a patronising cop-out for facing up to the reality that what is required is justice for victims.
“I salute the Derg Valley Victims Voice for its initiative, tenacity and persistent promotion of its cause. For those who are persuaded democrats in the House, I trust that it has been heard and that those who are here have not been insulted by the attempts of others to try to explain and justify the making of them as victims.
“I commend Mr Buchanan for bringing the matter to the House. I agree with all the sentiments that he expressed. However, he started his speech by telling us that victims were rightly discomforted and outraged by the appeasing of unrepentant terrorists. I have to say to Mr Buchanan and to Mr Bell that they should look at their own actions in putting unrepentant terrorists into the Government in the House to rule over us. You cannot have it both ways.”