THE ULSTER Unionists are once again jeopardising peace in Northern Ireland. Ever since the peace process began, the Ulster Unionists have demanded that the IRA decommissions its weapons. Now General John de Chasterlain, head of the decommissioning body, says he is 'satisfied' that the IRA will put its weapons 'completely and verifiably beyond use'.
This has not been enough for the Ulster Unionists. Unionist leader David Trimble sparked the current crisis when he resigned as Northern Ireland's first minister over decommissioning last month. He was prepared to risk the collapse of the peace process to appease hardliners in his party.
Those Unionists want to turn the clock back to the days when they ruled Northern Ireland like a one-party state, and Catholics were treated like second class citizens. The Unionist demand for 'decommissioning' has never been about a genuine desire to end violence. They want to see the total surrender and humiliation of the Republican movement. Every time Trimble has put an obstacle in the way of peace Tony Blair has backed him.
We did not know the final outcome of the British and Irish government's 'take it or leave it' peace plan as Socialist Worker went to press. But if the peace process collapses, Tony Blair and David Trimble will be to blame.
Loyalists wage terror
THE BOMB which exploded in Ealing in west London last week is believed to have been planted by the Real IRA, a tiny group of dissident Republicans who oppose the peace process.
The Real IRA does not represent the vast majority of Republicans. It certainly does not represent the vast majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland, who do not want to see a return to war. While there has been huge press coverage of the Ealing bomb, British newspapers and TV have barely mentioned the violence of Loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.
Two weeks ago Loyalists shot 19 year old Protestant Gavin Brett dead as he was chatting with Catholic friends. Every night Loyalists terrorise Catholic and mixed Catholic and Protestant families with a barrage of bricks, bottles, petrol, acid and paint bombs.