Dissident republicans are people of no substance who are shallow and deluded. This is a phrase which I have used on different occasions and it certainly was proved to be a fitting description for the mindless fools who orchestrated the latest round of sectarian violence in Derry on Saturday, August 13.

These idiots claim to be republicans. They also claim to be fighting a war of liberation. I would like to know who they are liberating and how this obscene exhibition of tribalism is going to lead us to liberty. Where does the noble cause of uniting Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter come into the equation?  Thousands of republicans gathered in Camlough, South Armagh, on Sunday, August 14 in order to remember the sacrifice of ten men who unselfishly gave their lives for the republican struggle. Ten men who defeated the criminalisation policies of the British have had their sacrifice thrown back in their faces by a bunch of louts who bring shame and dishonour to the republican cause.

Where is their strategy? Do these people think that they can resolve the issue of contentious parades by attacking Orange Halls with petrol bombs or by terrorising frightened women and children? The issue of contentious parades will be resolved through dialogue, with goodwill and with the influence of forward-thinking people who are prepared to show leadership.

It is time for those people who hold positions of responsibility to step up to the mark in order to resolve an issue which is an obstruction to the peaceful, harmonious and inclusive society which benefits every one of us. The defeat of sectarian, anti-community and destructive philosophies will be the great liberator. The greatest obstacle to a truly unified and caring society is the sectarian bigotry which feeds off the hatred and bloody-mindedness of a band of losers and bloodthirsty villains.

Those people who have offered support to the people who perpetrate such acts of blind, naked hatred must ask themselves some serious questions about the issues I have just spoken about. The greatest contribution to the cause of peace, of unity, and of reconciliation, is in the confronting of discrimination in a resolute, reasonable and dignified approach.

The situation in the North of Ireland has been changed irreversibly for the better of everyone. The struggle for a just and equality-based society will go on regardless and those who think they can overturn or disrespect the will of the people will be sorely disappointed. Republicans have come too far and have endured too much to let it all count for nothing. Let those of us who care about the will of the people and who care so much for the values of republicanism determine to strive all the more for the unity of our country in a peaceful, democratic and inclusive way.

Danny Kelly

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