Let me be crystal clear: the people who bear direct responsibility for the death of Lyra McKee are the individual who pulled the trigger and the degenerate so-called “dissident republicans” of the New IRA and their front organisation, Saoradh, who stirred up the Derry rioting that led to the murder.
But politicians on both sides of the Irish sea cannot duck their responsibility for destabilising the fragile peace brought about by the Good Friday agreement 21 years ago. Ulster politicians (notably the DUP, but Sinn Fein are not above criticism) caused the collapse of the Stormont assembly and effectively suspended Ulster’s political life, opening up an opportunity for terrorists.
Still more culpable are the English Brexiteers who ignored and/or dismissed the Irish border question and the threat to peace during the referendum campaign and have continued to do so ever since. May’s apparent indifference to the question has been compounded by her ministers’ disgraceful ignorance: former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab’s shocking admission that he hadn’t even read the Good Friday agreement and Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley’s statement that killings by the security services were “not crimes”.
The Tory party, from top to bottom (not just the swivel-eyed fanatics of the ERG) have proved themselves to be politically and morally bankrupt in their attitude to Ireland during the Brexit process.
According to research by the Centre on Constitutional Change, based at Edinburgh University, Brexit is “dislodging long-held red lines about the [UK] union”. It says a majority of Conservative voters in England would prefer to press ahead with Brexit even if it led to the UK breaking up and the collapse of the Irish peace process:
Here is an extract from the news release it sent out:
Clear majorities of English Conservatives would support Scottish independence or the collapse of the NI peace process as the price of Brexit
87% of (overwhelmingly unionist) leave voters in Northern Ireland see the collapse of the peace process as an acceptable price for Brexit …
But it isn’t just Tories who deserve political and moral condemnation for an almost criminal degree of irresponsibility when it comes to peace in Ireland: in an editorial that was published on Friday April 19 and must, presumably, have been written just about the time that Lyra McKee was killed, the Morning Star (slogan: “For Peace and Socialism”) poured scorn on the idea that Brexit threatens peace in Ireland. Under the heading “The merry-go-round of Irish border warnings is not what it seems“, this rag dismissed concerns over Brexit’s effect on Irish peace as an “establishment-backed” conspiracy:
This week the warnings connecting Brexit with the Irish border, the GFA and a revival of violence have been delivered by US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi in speeches in London and Dublin.
For good measure, she also announced that there could be no US-UK trade agreement should Brexit undermine peace in Ireland.
She repeated the same message when visiting the almost invisible border between Northern Ireland the Irish Republic today, heading a gaggle of US politicians and diplomats.
Coincidentally, we are asked to believe, today’s re-repetition happened at the very time that a Home Office document was leaked that could find no technological alternative to the return of border infrastructure between north and south.
Yet the whole “Brexit-border-GFA-terrorism” nightmare scenario is a concoction of cynical and reckless politicians, commentators and top bureaucrats.
Its intention is to undermine Brexit in general and justify the Irish backstop in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement in particular.
People who can churn out such shameful, despicable rubbish must be reminded of their irresponsibility at every possible opportunity. The fact that the publication of this trash coincided with such a tragedy just adds to the sadness and anger that those of us who care about peace and unity in Ireland, North and South, are presently feeling.
- RIP Lyra McKee