On Sunday afternoon I was in Lisnaskea parish church for the funeral of the father of my party colleague Arlene Foster. During the service the minister reminded us that her father had served in both the B Specials and the RUC. He had lived out in the country near Rosslea but after the IRA attempted to murder him he had to move in to Lisnaskea. He carried the scar from an IRA bullet until the day he died.
At the end of the funeral, as I was coming out of the church, I noticed a memorial to ten UDR soldiers who had been murdered by the IRA. It was a solemn reminder of the intensity of the IRA's terrorist campaign in that part of Ulster and of the many who had given their lives to preserve law and order in the face of republican terrorism.
The funeral left Lisnaskea and went out to the graveyard at St Mark's parish church at Aghadrumsee, close to the border with the Irish Republic. The little church sits up on a hill and beside it there is a primary school and there is also an Orange hall. As we waited to speak to the members of the family I noticed two graves close to the door of the church. One was that of an RUC officer, who had been murdered by the IRA, and the other was that of a UDR officer, who had also been murdered by IRA terrorists. There were other memorials inside the church.
The graves at Aghadrumsee and the memorial in Lisnaskea remind us of the campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by the IRA in that border community. It was a systematic and sectarian campaign designed to drive the minority Protestant community out of that area.
I doubt very much if anyone has been tried for those crimes but are they not worthy of the same attention as the murder of Pat Finucane or any of the other high profile deaths? Republicans demand to know the truth but here is a truth they would prefer to keep hidden. They are trying very hard to rewrite history but the memorials in churches and graveyards tell the true story of the Troubles.