Thank goodness that terrorist suspects can be held for up to 28 days – this reform of the detention period has ensured that the police in Northern Ireland have had enough time to question the Constable Carroll murder suspects, whilst obtaining evidence from elsewhere, and have now charged a 37-year-old man as well as the 17-year-old suspect charged yesterday.
Clearly, this case is still sub judice so the case must now proceed through the Courts and the law must be applied. The charges must be proven by the Prosecutors and the highly-paid Defence Barristers can make their case against. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) – or, to highlight its cross-community nature, Seirbhís Phóilíneachta Thuaisceart Éireann (Irish) or Polis Core o Norlin Irelann (Ulster-Scots) – has lost one of its most gallant officers. Whether we are Catholics or Protestants, we overwhelmingly support our police service.
Constable Carroll (top),
Sapper Azimkar (left) & Sapper Quinsey
As yet, no one has been charged for the murder of Sapper Patrick Azimkar and Sapper Mark Quinsey of the Royal Engineers – and the attempted murder of two pizza delivery men – but already the Republican dissidents have been protesting outside Antrim police station against what they call “internment” (as well as an unfortunate intervention from the “bearded devil” himself, Gerry Adams MP MLA). They are ably assisted by the “Human Rights Commissioner”, Professor Monica McWilliams (a former Assembly Member who lost her seat and should, by rights, have been retired and who was once, apparently, introduced to Bill Clinton as ‘Monica … er … Lewinsky’), and the usual suspects of human rights lawyers from the Human Rights Industry.
I have already had my say on 42 days, but maybe the atrocities at Massareene and in Craigavon – and the need for at least 28 days detention in order to gather evidence to charge the suspects – will lead Dan Hannan and Iain Dale and the many others to question their unfortunate reactions to the DUP MPs’ and UUP MP Lady Sylvia Hermon’s understandable decisions (and, now especially, proven correct) to vote for 42 days. If they had helped to vote the Government down, things would be difficult here for them now. Though I for one found it very difficult to make up my mind on 42 days, some wise words were spoken last June:
A clear majority of the British people favour a longer detention period. We believe that the British people are right. They won’t readily forgive any politicians who allow a major atrocity to occur because our detention procedures prove to be inadequate.
It seems that Tim Montgomerie was right on 42 days, just as he is right on 45p today.
The 42 days issue seems to be dead and buried, at least the unelected and unaccountable House of Lords saw to that, but thank goodness for 28 days. Let’s only hope and pray that this period is enough for the police to gather the evidence to charge those who are suspected of murdering these two brave, murdered Royal Engineers – young English boys who died serving their country in the most unexpected of circumstances.
Andrew Allison, one of few bloggers from the UK mainland who seem to have a handle on what is going on in Northern Ireland, has a superb post on how the recent terrorist atrocities will not derail the political process and the Executive and Assembly that has been so difficult to achieve.
Sinn Féin have acknowledged long ago that the war is over, and that Irish Republicanism will use exclusively peaceful and political means – and not the gun and the bomb – to attempt to achieve its aspiration. While a United Ireland is a frightful concept, in a democracy they have the right to argue the case.
What the CIRA/RIRA splinter groups do not believe in is democracy. They are trying to collapse the Institutions that are a lynchpin in the peace. It was difficult for the Democratic Unionist Party to agree to restarting the Executive a few years back, as no doubt it was difficult for Sinn Féin to support the police. But it has meant that we have moved on immensely in Northern Ireland.
The Republican dissidents, however, having failed in their objective to bring down the Institutions (the local politicians haven’t panicked), may well launch further attacks – but to what end?
One of the worrying aspects to these attacks was the lack of security; for example, at Massarene, civilian security contractors had one handgun and did not shoot the gunmen. Army marksmen would have given the terrorists their rightful swift descent into Hell where they belong. Now they must be caught and tried for their diabolical acts.
What Brown and Labour need to realise is that demilitarisation and weak security hasn’t worked. Appeasement of Al Qaeda wouldn’t work – just as appeasement of the RIRA/CIRA thugs. It has given such devils time to breed and has enabled disaffected ex-Provos to join these splinter groups.
After the Massareene atrocity, further disturbing news reaches us that a police officer has been shot dead in Craigavon, near Belfast. Tuesday evening update: Two men, aged 17 and 37, have been arrested in conncection with the murder – much quicker than it used to take to make an arrest …
So far the Real IRA and now, it appears, the Continuity IRA, have attacked the security forces (and tried to kill pizza delivery men), and the worrying aspect for people in Northern Ireland is what are the dissident paramilitaries planning next?
In the last few days, fear has suddenly returned to the streets of Northern Ireland for the first time in over a decade. Tonight’s and Saturday’s murders suggest a return to terrorist violence here. However, although these terrorists have broken the peace, they will not bring down the Insitutions.
Update: The Continuity IRA has claimed responsibility for this murder of Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, from Banbridge, Co Down. Banbridge, where I used to live, was the scene of a bomb by the Real IRA on 15 August 1998 which wrecked the town centre but claimed no lives (a trial perhaps for their vicious Omagh bomb later that month) – and, in 1982, when an IRA bomb in the town killed 11-year-old Alan McCrum. Or as has been documented in Lost Lives:
A nine-year-old Derry boy, playing cowboys with his brother in the garden, stumbled over a tripwire and set off a bomb which killed him.
Do the terrorists wish to return to these dark days when young kids, whether Protestant or Catholic, were “collateral damage” (as the paramilitaries consider them) of such atrocities?
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