Unity for what purpose?

Guest writer Pauline Mellon with a piece about the latest killing in Derry

The murder of Barry McCrory in Derry yesterday sent shock waves through the city. And I would at the outset extend my deepest sympathy to his family and friends. I grew up in the same street as Barry, although I can't say I knew him well. Unlike some people from different political persuasions and different outlooks I have never believed anyone has the authority to appoint themselves Judge, Jury and executioner.

Last night when watching the news I learned from an interview with Martin McGuinness about a rally organised by 'Unity for Purpose'. The rally to be held in the Guildhall Square in Derry was to oppose the young man's murder.

During the interview Mr McGuinness talked about the need to send a clear message to the perpetrator/perpetrators that this type of action is unacceptable. I totally agree but then again this has always been my stance on the use of violence.

A few years ago I was invited to a 'Unity for Purpose' meeting at the Northside village centre in Derry. During the meeting it became clear this group had only one purpose and that purpose was to vilify those they believed to be 'dissident republicans' and as a spin off to provide political figures and like-minded individuals with soap boxes.

During the course of the meeting I asked if the 'Unity for Purpose' group would be willing to unite for other purposes such as the prison issue and the use of internment. I went so far as to personally invite them to a rally organised for Marian Price the following day. I waited in the Guildhall Square in Derry the next day for the members of unity for purpose to appear. Needless to say not one of their representatives turned up.

I didn't attend today's rally on basis that in my eyes selective condemnation is no condemnation at all. I believe the sad events of yesterday have allowed individuals to exploit the suffering of a bereaved family, for the purpose of building soap boxes to push their own political agenda. I found the response from some politicians reeking of hypocrisy. The lacklustre condemnation of the shooting of a young girl in Belfast by loyalist paramilitaries paled in comparison to their statements in yesterdays media around the shooting of Barry McCrory.

Unlike 'Unity for Purpose' and their political cohorts my condemnation isn't just limited to those who killed Barry McCrory yesterday. Violence comes in many forms as does injustice and wrongdoing. I condemn the violence meted out against children in Creggan with the use of arbitrary stop and search powers and regular house raids. I condemn the use of violence against political prisoners and I unequivocally oppose the reintroduction of internment under different guises.

I condemn the failure of our politicians to address the ongoing issue of poverty, the lack of a Bill of Rights and the failure to deal with the past. I condemn those who indulge in sectarian diversionary tactics to maintain the orange and green status quo. I oppose those who hold court at interfaces in Belfast at the cost of £56,000 per day in the hope they will overturn a legally binding decision. I condemn those who discriminate against gay couples denying them the right to provide loving homes for children who desperately need them. The list goes on.......

My question is outside of soap box grandstanding and rallies what else do 'Unity For Purpose' do or condemn?

Finally I would hope 'Unity for Purpose' take time to spare a thought for the family of the man wanted in connection with yesterdays shooting, at present despite this man having his face across the front pages of the papers and on our television screens he is innocent, until proven guilty in a court of law.

I hope 'Unity for Purpose' condemn what could be considered trial by media, and above all I hope that in their self appointed role as a moral compass for the city that 'Unity for Purpose' does not allow the brutal murder of a young man to be turned into a political circus for short term political gain.

Rest in Peace Barry McCrory.


  1. Pauline,

    if we oppose capital punishment then it seems logical to oppose these killings. I don't see how we can have it both ways. Good piece.

  2. It was clear on the night of Barry McCrory's killing that the PSNI were looking for one person and that the killing was not connected to Republicans.

    Yet that didn't stop 'Unity for Purpose' from exploiting the tragedy for their odious propaganda.

    It was disgraceful the way Seamus Heaney used the family of Barry McCrory as was his comment to an elderly Republican when challenged as to why he was using it to attack Republicans when everyone knew what had happened.

    Heaney's reply was..."Take your oil"

    Proof that he cared not for the McCrory family but in using their grief to attack Republicans.

    The fact that on a busy Friday they could attract only a handful of people proves that in general the majority sees through their hypocrisy.

  3. Great piece Pauline... Says it all

  4. Agree with Sean here Pauline, a great post,the exploitation of victims is something all politicians engage in with little or no care for the families feelings,it was so obvious in the news reports that Mr McCrorys were no exception,quisling $inn £einds front organisation was clearly seen to be as phony as their crocodile tears.