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Plastic bullets have no place in any society

The double standards used against rioters in London and in north and east Belfast, Ballyclare and Portadown, against both Catholics and Protestants, make it very clear there is a different attitude to the culture of policing in England and in the north of Ireland.

Plastic bullets have claimed the lives of 17 people, nine of them children, with many hundreds more maimed by the lethal weapons.

Plastic bullets did nothing to address rioting in Ireland. In many cases, the use of plastic bullets was the actual cause of subsequent civil disturbances.

Sir Hugh Orde, when Chief Constable of the PSNI, gave an assurance that plastic bullets would never again be used in riot situations. Yet last month they were once again used by the PSNI.

A shoot-to-kill incident is believed to have started the orgy of violence, looting and burning property of the good people of London and further afield.

No decent person could support, or condone, the terrible suffering inflicted on law-abiding citizens, or the loss of human life as people tried to protect their homes and property.

There are big problems facing the Government in Great Britain.

But let them learn from the mistakes made over 40 years in Ireland. Shoot-to-kill and plastic bullets have never played a role in resolving dangerous situations.

CLARE REILLY

Chairperson, United Campaign Against Plastic Bullets

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