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28 December 2015

Ruth Dudley Edwards: My list of people Northern Ireland would be a lot better off without

Gerry Kelly
Gerry Kelly

Northern Ireland would be a much better place without quite a few of its inhabitants. Here is my preliminary list of those who should be deported, though the first few are anonymous - the brutes whom the justice system has still not punished for such vicious murders as those of Robert McCartney and Paul Quinn.

When it comes to naming names, Thomas 'Slab' Murphy's of course leads all the rest.

Yes, I know that technically Slab is a citizen of the Republic - to which he refuses to pay taxes - but his farm straddles the border, so he's partially resident here.

I'd have him sent to Libya - which he knows so well since his IRA shopping days - in a large ship so he can take with him all the criminals of south Armagh who in the name of Irish republicanism have killed and tortured and robbed and intimidated while enriching themselves shamelessly.

They're the kind of people Gerry Adams describes as "good republicans".

What a happy and prosperous place beautiful south Armagh could be without them all.

They should be accompanied by the so-called dissidents who - after almost a century during which violence has enshrined partition in most hearts and minds - still think murder is the way to unite Ireland.

They can have long discussions on politics with their loyalist shipmates from the UDA, the UVF and elsewhere, who still want to kill and exploit and extort while claiming to be British patriots. Perhaps foreign travel will help them all get some sense of perspective and work out their differences.

Gerry Kelly, MLA, who boasts of his cross-community work, can accompany them as a mediator, taking with him, for reasons he'll understand, such old pals as Brian Gillen, Sean Hughes, Spike Murray, Bobby Storey and Padraic Wilson.

He deserves this fate, not least because of the grossly sectarian leaflets he circulated before the general election.

Ian Paisley can go too, for, like Mr Kelly, he travels abroad offering advice on peace-making, so he might as well have a proper challenge. He can take along Paul Tweed - that enthusiastic libel lawyer who has helped him block libel reform.

A Facebook friend, Chris, nominates "The current DCAL Minister, for her inability to speak without using the word 'yousuns'," and I'm going along with that because Sinn Fein's Caral Ni Chuilin seems to go out of her way to provoke her political opponents and has become even more irritating than Caitriona Ruane, which is a real feat.

There were a few nominations for Jim Allister, but while I agree that he is consistently graceless, the Stormont Executive needs informed criticism, so he has to be kept at home for now.

That's not the case with the DUP members involved in the bullying of councillor Jenny Palmer, all of whom deserve a period of exile.

Ian Adamson has suggested all academics at Queen's University except those in medicine and engineering, on the grounds that they "are generally useless to requirements and very expensive to run", but I want more selectivity. There's an argument for getting rid of English, sociology and media studies for starters, but with Sinn Fein busily rewriting history, we need good historians more than ever.

I'm also inclined to expel all fundamentalists, religious and secular.

They can have as their chaplain Fermanagh's Father Joe McVeigh, one of those liberation theologians who see an oppressor around every corner.

"I too have lived under a tyranny and understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of British military repression, humiliation and discrimination", he told the Irish Catholic last week in discussing the 1916 Rising.

He understands, he explains, "why many young people like … Martin McGuinness, were prepared to take up arms and risk their lives in pursuit of justice and freedom".

Er, no, Father.

Mr McGuinness did that in the name of a united Ireland.And that, Ian, is why we need historians.

The last proposal came from councillor Chris McGimpsey, who offered himself for deportation. "Just send me somewhere where it doesn't rain all the feckin' time," he added.

No chance, Chris. Northern Ireland needs open-minded, hard-working, principled, non-sectarian people like you.

Buy an umbrella.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards