From: Paul Emsley, Hellifield.
I SEE that Tony Blair got away with it again. Dragged before the Northern Ireland committee to explain the decision to free suspected murderers from prosecution; Blair again uses the “for the greater good” argument, to justify his government’s actions in dealing with the IRA/Sinn Fein. All through the Northern Ireland troubles; the murderers and thugs on both sides craved to be given the status of soldiers, or freedom fighters; because this would have given them equality with the soldiers and police trying to stop them slaughtering their neighbours.
The Heath government refused to “declare war” on them, because this would have given them part of this recognition.
For Blair to say that Sinn Fein would have left the peace process without this concession, is purely to get the questioners off his back. If Sinn Fein politicians wanted to be taken seriously, they should have been forced to show that they were serious about peace. We all knew they wanted power and the right to strut around at a posh garden party. Blair had no right to give murderers a letter of “no intention to prosecute”. If IRA/Sinn Fein were/are serious about peace, they should have been told to offer up their own “soldiers” to stand trial; no different from what the Parachute Regiment had to do after “Bloody Sunday”.