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Peter Hadden

Killed for Being a Catholic

(July 2001)

From The Socialist, No. 214, 13 July 2001.
Downloaded with thanks from the Socialist Party Website.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL). (July 2012)

THE BRUTAL murder of Ciaran Cummings marks the return of the sectarian murder gangs.

Of course this was not the only recent attack – or the only killing. It is a wonder that more people have not been killed by the pipe bombs and shootings that have become common in recent weeks.

A year ago the loyalists responsible would have been put down as “dissidents” opposed to the ceasefires and to the Good Friday Agreement. These people traded under overlapping titles like the Orange Volunteers and the Red Hand Defenders, both of whom have claimed this attack.

The UDA are linked with the Loyalist Volunteer Force and other smaller groups and this murder, like the recent killing in Coleraine, looks like their handiwork. This is not just the action of a few dissidents but shows the direction the people now dominant in the UDA are headed.

This killing has been greeted by shock and revulsion. People in Antrim where Ciaran lived were stunned. Not just Catholics, but the vast majority of the Protestant population also. In other parts of the north there was the same reaction of shock and anger.

At the FG Wilson factory in Newtownabbey, where Ciaran worked as a welder, his workmates, Catholic and Protestant, stopped work and went home when they heard the news.

The fear now is that we are headed back to the nightmare of killings and revenge actions that we all hoped we had left behind. Aside from the embittered sectarians in and around the paramilitaries no-one wants this.

The key reason the previous round of killings was halted is that ordinary people Catholic and Protestant demanded a halt. Threats and killings were answered with strikes, protests and eventually massive demonstrations.

The decision by Ciaran Cummings’ workmates to go home shows that a call for protest action made by trade unions and community organisations would be supported.

The time for such action is now – before more people get killed and before working class people start to think that nothing can be done to get the killers off our backs.

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Last updated: 8.7.2012