Belfast Telegraph

Figures show 158 paramilitary killings since the Good Friday Agreement

Special time: from left, David Trimble, Bono and John Hume promoting the Good Friday Agreement in 1998
Special time: from left, David Trimble, Bono and John Hume promoting the Good Friday Agreement in 1998

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 there have been 158 paramilitary-related killings in Northern Ireland, new research has shown.

New figures compiled by researcher Paul Nolan and published on investigative website The Detail show republican and loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for the vast majority of the deaths.

The research, also supported by Queen's University, takes account of what the PSNI record as 'security-related deaths'.

Stand out points from the research are the relatively low number of sectarian-related killings, and the low number of prosecutions brought forward for the killings.

The Good Friday Agreement was signed on April 10, 1998, with its 20th anniversary recently marked with a number of events in Belfast.

Four months after the deal was signed, on August 15, 1998, the Omagh bomb claimed the largest death toll of any paramilitary attack during the Troubles - killing 29 people.

It accounts for almost one-fifth of all security-related deaths in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement, and mean the year 1998/99 had the highest number of deaths since the Agreement was signed.

The years 2000/01 and 2001/02 had death tolls of over 15 people, while 2008/09 was the last time at least five people were killed in security-related killings in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme, researcher Paul Nolan said he "wouldn't have believed so many people could have been killed in that period".

He said during the time period he researched the violence had "turned inwards" and there had been "too easy and acceptance of paramilitarism"

Breakdown of the figures

The figures show the largest group of those killed were Catholic civilians, accounting for 62, followed by Loyalist paramilitaries (41), Protestant civilians (27), Republican paramilitaries (17), police (3), prison officers (2), British Army personnel (2), and two others who are uncategoriesed.

It continues a trend seen throughout the Troubles, in which Catholic civilians accounted for the largest victim group.

Republican paramilitaries were responsible for 74 of the deaths since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, while Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 71 of deaths.

Since the Good Friday Agreement, the vast majority of killings have gone unpunished.

Just 11 people have been imprisoned for all of the killings in Northern Ireland in the period examined, with five of these being jailed for manslaughter.

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