Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Paramilitary thugs cannot be tolerated

'These attacks are repellent and carried out by thugs with weapons' (stock photo)
'These attacks are repellent and carried out by thugs with weapons' (stock photo)

Editor's Viewpoint

Once again there are horrific headlines about another punishment-style attack and the trauma caused to the victims.

The latest occurred in Garvagh when masked men broke into the home of a man of 45 and shot him in the arms and legs.

He was also beaten callously with a bat or iron bar.

To add to the his distress, the attackers turned their attention to his teenage daughter who offered the contents of her piggy bank to try to ward off the onslaught. Instead of listening to her pleas, the masked thugs threatened to shoot her and stole her phone. They also threatened to set fire to items in the house.

The effects on the family will continue long after the attack. The man has suffered potentially life-changing injuries and his courageous daughter will relive the horror for a long time.

As a senior detective asked: "What sort of men would think it is acceptable to subject a young girl to this level of brutality and violence? What are the long-term effects on her going to be?" These are pointed questions indeed.

If this kind of outrage happened elsewhere in the UK it would make national headlines for days.

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Sadly, we in Northern Ireland have become used to the horror of it all, almost as if it is part of life here, where the Troubles still leave their own dark legacy.

These attacks are repellent and carried out by thugs with weapons. Some of them claim bizarrely that they are an 'alternative' police force, meting out their own inexcusable form of 'justice'.

In reality this is just another sinister way for the paramilitaries to continue to prey on the ordinary people they cynically claim to protect. It is shocking that this is still happening two decades after the Good Friday Agreement.

A new campaign has been introduced to show the disturbing reality of paramilitary activity in its gruesome details and this is intended to shock the public into the realisation of what happens behind the headlines concerning these attacks, which fade away far too quickly.

Hopefully this initiative will make more people realise that there can be no place in our society for such arbitrary attacks. Sadly the reality, pain and horror of such violence was brought home to one family this weekend.

The rest of us can move on with our own lives, but for this family the pain may last for a lifetime.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph