Memorandum submitted by Mr Harold Stewart-Stephenson
With reference to the letter in today's News
Letter requesting people to contribute to the "reconciliation"
process I wish to present myself as one of those contributors.
May I in the first instance say that I am disappointed
that your letter had no email address or telephone number where
one could get such information for making contact as letter writing
at this time of year carries no guarantee of delivery.
To give you an insight as to who is making this
communication I feel it is best to, let's say, state my credentials.
Born 1936 into the Protestant faith, now a non-believer
of any religion, evicted from the family farm at the border (Newtownhamilton)
by the IRA in the early 1920s, now on friendly terms with many
in the Republican/IRA movement including one who lost a brother
shot by the SAS at Loughgall.
Later in life I spent close to 30 years in the
British Merchant Navy sailing and enjoying the companionship of
all imaginable breeds of humanity on this earth.
It therefore goes without saying I cannot be
classed as a Northern Ireland bigot, which I certainly have no
wish to be. I belong to no organisation other than a retired member
So we arrive at the purpose of this letter,
ie my personal contribution to reconciliation between the religious
extremists, political gangsters who have acquired an empire of
untold wealth and at the bottom of importance, (at least in the
eyes of Mr. Blair and his spin doctors) lies the law abiding,
peace seeking public of all denominations, trying their very best
to scrape a living in their time upon this earth.
Everyone knows, even the Lord above, that Sinn
Fein and the IRA are the one organisation, yes they do have different
departments like Harrods as an example, they have their military
department, their political department, their own accountancy
department, their public relations department, in fact they are
more organised than New Labour or the Tories, they certainly have
more brains as I believe Mr McGuinness described your Prime Minister
as a "naive idiot", his words not mine.
Reconciliation cannot happen overnight, it will
take years for the pain and suffering to heal, the ironly and
futility of it all is the impatience displayed for Irish unity
by messrs Adams et al and Mr Blair et al.
So here are my contributions.
1. A full decommissioning of the arsenals
of all paramilitaries must be negotiated, and publicly displayed
to the satisfaction of the people of Ireland, nothing less will
do as this display will be an example of honesty that their slaughter
of humanity is over and dialogue only will be the order of the
2. A heavy insurance into youth programmes
of society responsibilities, like the fire service, ambulance
service, mountain rescue, lifeboat etc where they serve two years,
(this is to be mandatory if necessary) where they will have to
work together to the benefit of society and reduce the boredom
of having nothing else to do but criminality.
3. An end to segregated schools as soon
as feasibly possible, nothing breeds distrust quicker than segregation.
4. A Justice system that means justice to
the victims and not a farce that brings a smile to the gangster's
face but humiliates (such a word?) humanity itself.
These are just a few of my contributions, whether
they will be read or binned is your prerogative, however I felt
I had to make the effort of having my say in the name of humanity.