nationalist estate of Rathenraw frequently captures
media attention. But unlike a nationalist enclave
in, say, Larne, where reports of attacks invariably
identify loyalists as the perpetrators, those behind
the campaign of intimidation being waged against
the residents of Rathenraw are other nationalists.
Foremost amongst the legitimate targets
is the former republican prisoner Paddy Murray.
Those doing the targeting are members of Sinn Fein.
Murray previously chaired the party cumann in Antrim
town but like many of his colleagues living on the
Rathenraw estate he resigned from its ranks earlier
this year, for the most part in response to a combination
of gross inefficiency and authoritarianism that
had come to characterise the partys structures.
campaign against Rathenraw republicans and community
activists - quite often the same people - is being
directed from North Belfast. At times it ebbs and
simmers but frequently returns to the boil as a
reminder of sorts that the defeated army hasnt
gone away you know. It might no longer be
able to put it up to the Brits, despite a few believers
proclaiming that the leadership took the war
to Leeds last month, but it can certainly push its
chest out when it feels it is being squared up to
by those who dont think the way the defeated
army ordains that they should think.
the suggestions by Tony Blair that Irish society
stands on the cusp of a new era in which the Provisionals'
armed militia will see the curtain pulled down on
it, the militia itself carries on as if peaceful
intent was a figment of Blairs well established
fertile imagination. Paddy Murray is one of those
people that the peace process excludes and affords
no protection to.
weeks ago, in a signal that the long running campaign
of intimidation against him was moving up a gear,
an attempt was made to burn his shed. The following
week a further attempt was made and this time the
arsonists succeeded. The following night, graffiti
stating, Paddy Murray Tout - PIRA was
daubed on the wall by a close associate of a prominent
local Sinn Fein member. The same man accompanied
by his wife later attacked Murray in the street.
The graffiti writer then threatened the former republican
prisoner that a squad from Belfast would
soon arrive in the estate to put you out.
The attackers then reported Murray to the PSNI who
called to the Murray family home and asked that
he give a guarantee that he would pose no threat
to his Sinn Fein linked neighbours.
incident was followed by the graffiti writer once
again taking to the walls, on this occasion to scrawl,
what happened to your daughter Paddy?
The daughter in question lost her young life less
than a year ago as a result of a traffic accident
in Belfast. Two nights ago the squad from
Belfast entered Rathenraw estate in cars.
Before alighting they put on balaclavas and proceeded
to write on the road, Paddy Murray MI5 Agent
RIRA. They then lobbed a brick through
the window of the nearby home of someone else they
had taken umbrage with, injuring a child a few weeks
short of his first birthday.
they could leave the scene of their artistry and
child assault Murray and others managed to see them
as they pulled off their face apparel. He recognized
at least two of them. I was particularly disappointed
with one of them. I had done him a lot of favours
and now this was how he was repaying me. When
asked if he considered the incident a violent Sinn
Fein attack he gave an unambiguous response stating
that they are members of Sinn Fein. I know
them very well.
Murray took his complaint up with Sinn Feins
Denis Donaldson who said he would get to the bottom
of the matter but also stated that he did not believe
that the party members named by Murray to him were
responsible. In Murrays view:
councillor and former Sinn Fein member, Martin Cunningham,
who yesterday made a round trip of 140 miles in
order to visit the estate and offer support to the
intimidated republicans, said that he had grave
concerns about the situation there:
Fein repression in Rathenraw, in particular against
Paddy Murray and his family, is distressingly similar
to the violent campaign of intimidation being orchestrated
by the UDA in Lisburn in a bid to silence the writer
Davy Adams. Whether orange-shirts or green-shirts,
the common mindset is the absolutist one that demands
all must bow before it as an act of reassurance
that it really is the undisputed master of the community
it claims to serve. The Chilean writer Ariel Dorfmann
could as easily have been contemplating the UDA
or Sinn Fein when he wrote:
Feins organised violence against those who
dissent from its writ belies the bodys commitment
to peace. In denying his partys involvement
in violence Gerry Adams may as well ask, as Groucho
Marx did, who are you going to believe
me or your own eyes?