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Shocking images show need to stop these men of violence

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 28/11/2015

Police at the scene of the suspected dissident republican gun attack on police at Rossnareen Avenue
Police at the scene of the suspected dissident republican gun attack on police at Rossnareen Avenue

The severity of the dastardly attack on police in west Belfast is well-illustrated by the shocking photographs which we publish in today's Belfast Telegraph. The bullet marks on the police car demonstrate that dissidents were out to kill.

Fortunately, the high-velocity rounds did not penetrate the vehicle's bullet-proof windows and armoured door - otherwise the police would now be dealing with a murder inquiry.

Such scenes were commonplace during the Troubles, but following the cessation of Provisional IRA violence in 1994 and the Good Friday Agreement, such gruesome images of violence were supposed to have been consigned to the wastebin of history.

Yet a new generation is confronted with further images of extreme violence, like those we publish today.

What can be done to eliminate the misguided violence of dissidents, who constantly refuse to accept that it does not offer a way forward? In short, the Chief Constable must be given adequate resources to ensure that, first and foremost, his officers are properly protected as they carry out their dangerous duties, both in terms of personal and vehicle protection.

It is also incumbent on the Executive, as well as all parties at Stormont and also all members of the Policing Board, to provide unequivocal backing to the Chief Constable and his senior colleagues to take their investigations into dissident activities in whatever direction or territory the evidence leads them into.

Another important, and axiomatic, dimension to this is to ensure the solid, continued backing of the Dublin Government, so that cross-border co-operation can be as effective as possible, and not just a fine-sounding term where words can be less impressive than actions.

Finally, the time has come for the so-called 'Omerta' code of silence in nationalist areas and elsewhere to be discarded.

It is the dedicated men and women of violence who are the enemies of all the people, in every part of this Province.

Belfast Telegraph

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