Republican News · Thursday 19 November 1998

[An Phoblacht]

Change must be fundamental

There is no doubt that there have been people at a high level in both the British and Dublin governments who have always believed that minimal changes to the Six County state would bring what they most desire - political stability in which business could operate and expand.

Theirs is an outlook which knows nothing about life on the ground in the Six Counties. They are content to consider the main institutions of the state - the RUC, civil service and judiciary - as having been adequate in maintaining a functional society.

But the truth is that the Six County state is not and never has been a normal functioning society. It is this reality which led to the last 30 years of armed conflict.

Minimal change in the context of the Six Counties will not suffice and will not secure the peace. What is required is far-reaching and fundamental change.

The reaction of unionists to newspaper suggestions that RUC disbandment would be a recommendation of the Patten Commission is indicative of the resistance which this necesary change will meet.

But the reactions of Unionist Party spokespersons cannot be used as the yardstick for measuring how far change can go. The failure of the Six Counties as a political entity is evidence enough of the requirement for change to be as complete as possible.

That is why the Equality agenda and the provisions in the Good Friday Agreement around equality is likely to be the next target for unionists who wish to overturn the Good Friday Agreement.

What must be remembered is that without change there will be no progress and without political progress there will be no real peace.

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