Lindy McDowell (Belfast Telegraph, March 11) asked: “And where did the weapons used in this attack and others carried out by the Real IRA come from in the first place?”
On the off-chance that Ms McDowell is not being rhetorical, I can provide the answer.
They came from the non-decommissioned IRA arsenal — the former quartermaster-general having the march on the Provisional IRA leadership in walking away to form the Real IRA in 1998.
Lock, stock and barrel, one might say, along with more than a few tonnes of Gadaffi explosives.
The three incidents in the same number of weeks demonstrates this as fact.
- Semtex probably formed the base of the 300lb bomb abandoned in transit to Ballykinler;
- Automatic Kalashnikovs used in the murders at Massereene Army Barracks in Antrim;
- And most likely one of the Barrett Light 50 sniper rifles supplied from the US to kill police officer Stephen Carroll.
Added to this retained weaponry there is any amount of earlier Press reports on the illegal importation of arms — “the Real IRA bought arms, including rifles and Rocket Propelled Grenades, in Croatia and Serbia” (Guardian September, 2000).
Both the Observer and Guardian reported in that year on the further import of guns into Ireland from the US — “more than 100 pistols and machine-pistols” (probably the Uzi 9mm semi-auto).
In the Belfast Telegraph, Brian Rowan’s article of February 6, 2006, was the most telling.
He wrote: “The British Security Service MI5 and senior officers from the PSNI’s Crime Operations Department provided the intelligence information that not all IRA weapons were decommissioned last September” (2005). The source confirmed there was very ‘significant intelligence’ that the IRA had retained part of its arsenal, amounting to a range of weaponry in a number of areas... ”
There is no doubt that Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is professionally dedicated and competent in all aspect of policing Northern Ireland.
He, along with those younger officers of the PSNI, may well be in the early stages of a very sharp learning curve if these so-called dissidents are not put down.
I suppose, like our former First Minister, the Rev Ian Paisley, I will just have to be content with my bus pass and live the rest of my life under the shadow of these republicans.
By that I mean them all, and under the false banner of the ‘peace process’.
W W MORRISON