Editor's Viewpoint: Discovery of dissident weapons haul in boiler house proof these thugs hold absolutely no regard for safety of public
If anyone is in doubt over the desire of dissident republicans to create mayhem and cause death and destruction, then the discovery of a substantial arms dump in west Belfast should dispel such thoughts.
These were serious armaments - assault rifles, sawn-off shotguns, a high-powered rifle with a silencer attached, three pipe bombs and more than 100 rounds of assorted ammunition.
This pocket arsenal was perfect for dissidents whose only aim in life is to launch attacks on the security forces and prison officers.
The discovery of the weapons may have been fortuitous, but not so lucky as the residents of the property where they were stored - apparently without the knowledge of the householder.
Incredibly, the dissidents put such volatile munitions as pipe bombs and ammunition in a boiler house where the heat would have almost certainly caused some of them to explode.
It was fortunate that only the boiler house caught fire uncovering the terrorist stash. There was no way of predicting what could have ensued if the fire had spread or the fuel feeding into the boiler house had exploded rather than simply catching fire.
Nothing could better exemplify the nihilism and total disregard for the community which dissidents hold than this incident. It is clear they did not care about the consequences of their actions. The words of the current series of television advertisements stating that paramilitaries don't protect communities, but rather seek to control them, rings so true. The dissident republican groups - the New IRA are in the frame for this incident - are beyond any reason.
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They have no political agenda, no rationale for their actions and no way of being reached through negotiation.
The only way to deal with these groups and to get them off the streets and behind bars where they belong is through law enforcement. However that requires a flow of information from the communities in which they operate and whose safety they obviously despise. Lift that phone.