Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Two decades on from Good Friday, weapons finds show that lack of Executive is creating a dangerous vacuum

Editor's Viewpoint

It is disappointing in the extreme that 20 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, police are still uncovering significant republican terrorist arsenals.

Guns, explosives and bomb-making materials were among the items found, demonstrating the dissidents' capability of causing death and destruction.

While much of the arms and explosives are thought to belong to the Continuity IRA - a dissident group which has been around for most of the last two decades - there must be some concern that a previously unknown group, Arm na Poblachta, was responsible for the arms found in Benburb.

These micro terrorist groups emerge and disappear with depressing regularity, but they show that there are desperate terrorists intent on carrying on a campaign that has no credibility and miniscule support.

None of that matters to these terrorists, nor does the safety of those they seek shelter among. During the arms searches, ordinary people were displaced from their homes and a pipe bomb was found near a nursery school and community centre in Lurgan. Abandoning such a device where children and vulnerable people gather every day is sheer madness, and shows the contempt the terrorists have for anyone but themselves.

Congratulations are due to the police and intelligence services for uncovering these arms and explosives caches. It is obvious that the PSNI are receiving good information from a variety of sources and that shows that they are not lowering their guard at any time.

The community as a whole should be thankful for the work of the police in combatting terrorism. The PSNI are the only legitimate force of law and order on our streets and deserve the utmost support.

Politicians should take heed of recent dissident republican activity and realise that the current political impasse and lack of direction from a functioning Executive has created a dangerous vacuum.

Belfast Telegraph

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