Anthony McIntyre feels that little has changed within the DUP in terms of contempt towards nationalist civilians killed by British state security services.
When the UVF member and DUP councillor, George Seawright suggested that Belfast City Council build an incinerator "to burn Roman Catholics and their priests, his expulsion from the Paisley-led party swiftly followed.
That was 35 years ago and Seawright, if not his legacy, is long since dead. Despite the much vaunted modernisation the DUP is said to have undergone, the same type of visceral anti-nationalist toxicity continues to exist. The difference is that today, rather than being sanctioned, it is rewarded.
Earlier this week the DUP announced the replacement of its North Belfast councillor for Castle DEA, Guy Spence. The man chosen to fill the shoes of Spence is Dean McCullough who greeted his appointment by claiming:
I am delighted to take up this role and to serve the people of the Castle DEA. It is an area that I know well, having been born and raised there. I also look forward to joining the DUP team on Belfast City Council, being a positive voice for north Belfast and for our city as a whole.
His party leader, Arlene Foster, was effusive in her praise for McCullough.
Dean will be an excellent representative for the Castle DEA. He has a track record of community involvement across north Belfast and alongside Cllr Fred Cobain will continue to provide first-class representation in that area.
How first class his service will be is a moot point given that he seems to subscribe to the view that nationalists should be treated as second class citizens, unworthy of the same rights to justice as other citizens. Those whose loved ones were unlawfully killed by British state security forces are most unlikely to share Foster's enthusiasm for her new councillor. This is because McCullough is an avid backer of those who have committed atrocity against unarmed nationalist civilians. When asked by myself in 2017 “what should happen to those who slaughtered the innocent on Bloody Sunday?”, McCullough's reply was that the “brave and professional paratroopers should be given a medal.’
He also described the most prolific killer on the day, Soldier F, as a gallant veteran even though his gallantry amounted to him personally massacring four of the fourteen unarmed civilians.
The conservative writer Douglas Murray sat through the evidence of the Bloody Sunday killers at the Saville Inquiry and concluded that he could say with “certainty that they include not only unapologetic killers, but unrelenting liars" and that soldier F “started lying from the moment the shooting stopped … if anyone was deserving of prosecution, then it was him.” Seemingly, none of that matters to Councillor McCullough, presumably seeing such mendacity as Soldier F behaving with chivalry.
When Sinn Fein’s Westminster MP Barry McElduff was accused of mocking the dead of Kingsmill, the DUP howled for his head on a plate. He subsequently resigned his seat, leaving Arlene Foster to proclaim:
He was not fit for public office and should have resigned in the immediate aftermath of posting the disgraceful video mocking and insulting the horrific terrorist events at Kingsmill … Over the course of the last 10 days Sinn Fein has failed to deal with the McElduff situation … By merely suspending him and continuing to pay him, they compounded his disgraceful actions and demonstrated a lack of respect and compassion for the victims of Kingsmill and indeed victims more widely.
And Dean McCullough's sentiments are somehow less egregious?
Kingsmill so resembles Bloody Sunday because it was a war crime on a par with what happened in Derry – the wanton massacre of unarmed civilians. A razor blade could not make its way through any ethical gap that exists between the two. The wilful injustice in eulogising the perpetrators of one while denigrating those culpable for the other should find no hiding place behind a flag of convenience. In the words of Howard Zinn, "there is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."
I am appalled at the DUP who recently welcomed Dean McCullough into their ranks in Belfast City Council. This man holds the view that the Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday should have been given medals. Even with the limited knowledge that The Bloody Sunday Inquiry concluded it is clear that this man paid no attention whatsoever. He is not fit to represent anyone. He quite obviously approves violence against innocent people by the state. The DUP called for the resignation of Barry McElduff for his mockery of the Kingsmill victims and rightly so. Surely the DUP have some kind of vetting procedure in place to ensure that potential candidates have the good character that people deserve. It is long overdue for the electorate not to have bigots, or indeed extremists to have any influence on decisions made by local government. At a time when we need the very best of people, at a time of loss of life to Covid-19 surely we need people who care. Dean McCullough should leave his position immediately and shame on the DUP !! Just to inform and educate Mr McCullough the Paratroopers did get decorated for their actions on Bloody Sunday!!
The Indian writer Arundhati Roy once stated that "justice out of the mouth of a politician almost always means revenge. Always justice against an enemy, never justice for all."
What say you Arlene?