Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Written Evidence


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 of NIPSA.

  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 day.

  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.

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