At the RMT’s annual conference in Dublin on July 5th, the union’s guest of honour was the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams MP. For a union that is supposed to represent the interests of rail and transport workers, this decision to honour the Provo leader seems very odd indeed.
Mr Adams’ colleagues in the IRA – still celebrated as an ‘undefeated army’ on Sinn Féin’s website – are very familiar with trains and the main rail links between Belfast, Dublin and Londonderry. They often put the lives of rail workers and the travelling public in danger with bombs on the line and also on trains. On September 9th 1988 a two-man death squad sent out by Sinn Féin’s ‘undefeated army’ shot my friend Colin Abernethy dead on a crowded commuter train as he travelled to work.
A reasonable person might have thought that the RMT would be more likely to honour the brave men and women who defied terrorist threats and violence to keep the trains and buses running in Northern Ireland during the troubles rather than the political figurehead whose masked and hooded colleagues were responsible for most of these threats and attacks. In this topsy-turvy world you may think again. Perhaps in a few years’ time the political accomplices of the perpetrators of last year’s 7/7 tube and bus outrages in London may be welcomed as guests of honour at a future RMT annual conference?
– David Kerr.