Defeat terrorists once and for all
It has always been surmised that the number of dissident republicans operating the terror campaign in Northern Ireland are small in number. That now has been confirmed by PSNI information that has identified 25 hard-core terrorists primarily intent on murdering members of the security forces.
And they have already struck, being responsible for the death of Constable Ronan Kerr and inflicting serious injuries on Constable Peadar Heffron as well as a series of other serious crimes.
What clearly emerges from the police briefing is that cases are being built against this ruthless coalition of dissidents.
That is some reassurance to the public who often believe that it is the terrorists who are making the running and that police appear powerless to intervene. That does not seem to be the case. Already lower-level terrorists have been arrested and guns and bomb making equipment discovered, including a recent arsenal of weapons in Omagh which resulted in one man being jailed.
That shows there is a flow of information coming to police through the work of the intelligence services and from members of the public. Building up strong cases against experienced terrorists is a painstaking task. While police may well know who was involved in various incidents, proving it is much more difficult.
It is also evident that those who are most actively involved in dissident republican terrorism – as well as those who are directing them – are well versed in how to escape detection and are also extremely dangerous. They have a nihilistic view which wants to return society to chaos but it is welcome news police and MI5 have them in their sights.
Of course the best news would be when these men are charged, brought before the courts and convicted. There is minimal support for their campaign and the whole of society will breathe a sigh of relief when they are eventually put behind bars and the peace here becomes total and permanent.