Black flags and Tricolours
Sir, – John Waters (Opinion, September 14th) wants us to recognise a saving distinction between the recent theatricals of the Real IRA and the “noble and redemptive” conviction of Bobby Sands et al in 1981. But hunger strikers are only as noble as the cause they purport to promote, in this case that of their patrons and orchestrators, the Provisional IRA. During the hunger strikes, the Provos cynically continued their murderous “armed struggle”, often against unarmed victims. This made nonsense of their claim that the hunger strikes were about humanitarian issues.
John Waters is old enough to remember the Provo fascist strategy in the summer of 1981 of black flags and intimidatory shop closures. The Real IRA may be more stupid than their predecessors but they are far less cynical and sinister. – Yours, etc,