Dear Madam, - Over the past few weeks we have been listening to various shades of Unionism talking tough on their stance against IRA/Sinn Fein. It is fair to say that some Unionists seem to be playing hard-ball in politics. I have always suspected that the game changer was aimed at next year’s elections rather than playing tough with IRA/Sinn Fein.

Have our Unionist politicians forgotten that the IRA have been smuggling and laundering fuel for the past 40years in building up a criminal empire? Were they not told that IRA elements carried out the Northern Bank robbery, murdered Paul Quinn in 2007 and Robert McCartney in 2005 while on ceasefire? Was it pure naivety that Unionist politicians readily accepted the word of mouthpieces that the IRA killing machine had ceased to exist and had left its criminal past and financial scams behind? When you examine the history of Unionism over the past two decades you realise that the tough stance now is somewhat at difference to their previous history.

In 1998, the UUP may well have thought they had good intentions by encouraging Unionists to support the Good Friday Agreement. That opened the Maze gates releasing terrorist murderers early and allowed a maximum two year sentence for pre GFA crimes. But in doing so, they knowingly put Sinn Fein into the heart of Government without one weapon surrendered. This treacherous act reeks of hypocrisy by failing innocent victims of the troubles.

In 2007, again Unionists seemed to not know that the IRA had not disbanded when they set up in shared Government with Sinn Fein. The ‘dogs in the street’ knew the IRA still existed; so why is it, it seems the DUP and UUP are the only ones who didn’t know, back then and now? Did it really take the Chief Constable to remind them what everyone else has known for years that IRA were still murdering, robbing and involved in laundering assets?

I believe that when all the tough talking is over, UUP and DUP will undoubtedly again surrender their newly adopted values and jump back in to bed with Sinn Fein.

Will our citizens be any the worse off financially or socially if Stormont totally collapses? Personally, I believe the answer is ‘NO’ as the Stormont Assembly has been an abject failure since its inception.

Unionist politicians need to take their heads out of the sand. For too long, the politically blind have been leading the politically blind accepting ‘entry into Government with Sinn Fein at any price’.

Yours faithfully, Alex Elliott TUV Fermanagh