Def: A domestic dog of any various breeds commonly used for hunting, characteristically having drooping ears, a short coat and a deep resonant voice.
The relentless pursuit continues unabated. The journalistic hounds, no doubt operating with the full cooperation afforded by the Historical Enquiries Team are still hot on the trail of a selected few Loyalists–harassing and badgering them continuously. This morning’s Irish News carries a two page spread on what is termed as a historical case but the target of their perpetuated attack is a person who was convicted of the 40 year old bombing of a North Belfast bar. Convicted, served a life sentence and has been released for twenty years. In recent years this man has been pursued persistently by a posse of unremitting hacks in the hope of uncovering the type of juicy or salacious story they can gorge on. The pretence is that there is more to the story than meets the eye and the old chestnut of security force collusion is high on the hounds’ agenda. So it follows that cover-ups and conspiracies must also have taken place. I am sure that the vast majority of the thousands of Loyalist prisoners who frequented the various Northern Ireland jails during the course of the conflict are wondering just what the hell they were doing there when it seems that collusion was the order of the day!! It is becoming blatantly obvious, not just in the case of this individual but with others, that it isn’t good enough that you may have pleaded guilty to something almost half a century ago—that you were convicted in most cases through Diplock Courts—served upwards of fifteen years—and have been a model citizen upon release, in many cases being a worthwhile contributor to the peace process. No, it seems that this is unsatisfactory and there is a need to extract many pounds of flesh, to persecute doggedly and to chase the quarry down until submission. The freedom of the press is in many ways a misleading term and certainly means something different in Northern Ireland than it does anywhere else. Journalists here seem to have carte blanche to print whatever they want and seem to revel in the power in doing so. Politicians in this country evidently do not have the authority to influence journalists one way or another as was proven in the Iris Robinson issue. This being the case the best that victimised Loyalists can hope for is parity but the likelihood of seeing government ministers or the “darlings” of our new found all embracing peaceful society being inexorably hunted by rabid gossipmongers posing as journalists is slim. Indeed as lean as the freshly picked bones of their current prey.