Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Dissidents seeking to drag us back to past

It was a tactic used to devastating effect almost exactly 40 years ago when 18 soldiers were killed and six seriously injured at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint. The first bomb killed six paratroopers and a second, detonated as the rescue operation began, killed another 12.
It was a tactic used to devastating effect almost exactly 40 years ago when 18 soldiers were killed and six seriously injured at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint. The first bomb killed six paratroopers and a second, detonated as the rescue operation began, killed another 12.

Editor's Viewpoint

It was a tactic used to devastating effect almost exactly 40 years ago when 18 soldiers were killed and six seriously injured at Narrow Water near Warrenpoint. The first bomb killed six paratroopers and a second, detonated as the rescue operation began, killed another 12.

The RUC believe a variation of that deadly trap was carried out at Wattle Bridge on the Fermanagh border at the weekend.

Police and Army technical officers were lured into the area by a hoax device and then a real device was detonated, thankfully with no injuries.

There are two lessons to be taken from this callous attempt to kill police and soldiers. One is that dissident republicans learned the tactics of terrorism from the past mainstream IRA campaign.

The other is that the dissidents have not moved forward one inch. Their only reason for being is to kill members of the security forces, and with six incidents this year, the threat remains high.

Even the death of journalist Lyra McKee has not made the dissidents realise the futility of their campaign.

With no political campaign to challenge - apart from the ideology of violence - they appear beyond the reach of any rational argument.

Sign In

They are a number of micro-organisations but nonetheless are potentially lethal.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin is correct when he says that security measures alone cannot defeat the terrorists and that society at large must join in the fight.

Certainly the political vacuum hinders the influence of politicians on the public at large, never mind on determined dissidents. The lack of a functioning devolved administration and its associated tensions merely encourages the terrorists to carry on their nihilistic campaign.

This is the most serious incident that the new Chief Constable has been faced with since taking up the post and many eyes will be on him to see how he reacts. The PSNI and intelligence services have shown a determination to tackle paramilitaries head-on - most notably the out-of-control UVF in east Belfast - and it is important that the same determination is shown against the dissidents.

Refusing to vote for political representatives put forward by the dissidents in elections is one way the public can show its abhorrence for their campaign, and church and political leaders should speak out against them. However the police must remain in the vanguard of the fight.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph