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Northern Ireland: Omagh killing no way forward

The explosion that claimed the life of Omagh policeman Ronan Kerr does not further the struggle against British occupation in Ireland one jot, writes Bernie McAdam.

Indeed it has given the state an ideal opportunity to falsely portray itself as a cross community and peace loving institution. It has also given an excuse for the usual peace rallies with trade union backing to take to the streets again.

It might be argued that this is to be expected but it puts all those republicans and socialists struggling against the sectarian state that is “Northern Ireland” on the defensive. Even worse it gives the state the moral high ground in launching further raids on all those opposed to the Peace process.

The politicians and trade union leaders that shed crocodile tears and demand ever more loyalty from Catholics are of course totally hypocritical. They deliberately ignore the sectarian nature ofthe state, which is the real cause of “violence” in the north. The Police Service of Northern Ireland, along with all the forces of the state, has brutally propped up a society based on discrimination and denying the right of the Irish people as a whole to determine the future of the six county state.

Given the years of struggle it is understandable that republicans want to expel Britain by force of arms. But as the far bigger Provo IRA campaign proved, a guerrilla campaign is not sufficient. A mass movement must be rebuilt which can challenge the northern state and, yes, it will need to defend itself. This means a campaign against inequality and discrimination, against repression and provocative Orange marches, which defends all those brutalised prisoners in gaol for their opposition to the Good Friday Agreement.

Whilst our rulers carry out swingeing cuts demanded from Westminster, how convenient a distraction like this. The dead end tactics of so called “dissident” republicans must not distract from the urgent need for a militant response of all out strikes from workers to the draconian attacks on their welfare. Socialists and republicans should be united on one aim and that is to merge the struggles against repression and the cuts into one that brings the day nearer when we have a Workers’ Republic in Ireland.

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