Belfast Telegraph

Ex-diplomat fears return of IRA violence

A former UK ambassador to Dublin fears a return to IRA violence across the UK if devolution is not restored.
A former UK ambassador to Dublin fears a return to IRA violence across the UK if devolution is not restored.

By David Young

A former UK ambassador to Dublin fears a return to IRA violence across the UK if devolution is not restored.

Former diplomat Sir Ivor Roberts (72) - who served from 1999 to 2003 as Ambassador to Ireland - also hit out at 'tone-deaf' comments from what he called the "Westminster Establishment" which were raising the political temperature in Northern Ireland.

Writing in today's Belfast Telegraph, Sir Ivor said a recent republican car bomb in Londonderry and letter bombs sent to cities in the UK were warnings of a deteriorating situation.

"The New IRA's admitting of letter bombs sent to Heathrow and London City airports, Waterloo Station and Glasgow University mark their first clear overtures to a campaign of violence on the British mainland," he writes.

"The history of Northern Ireland shows that a few violent men and women can light a fire that engulfs a province.

"If we hope to keep a lid on violence in Northern Ireland - violence that is already spilling over to Britain - real political engagement between Sinn Fein and other Northern Ireland parties in a restored Stormont is needed now more than ever."

Sir Ivor is now a senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project policy group.

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