Sunday, March 8, 2009

The reaction

The reaction has been swift. Everybody has condemned the attacks sharply and unambiguously. I think Marty McGuiness got it spot on. The objective of this attack was to get British soldiers back on the street in the hope that it would anger mainstream nationalists sufficiently convincing them in the process to sway in behind the dissident republicans cause. This will never work. As former IRA man Antony McIntyre said on Sky News earlier today "They don't have the resources, they don't have the strategic intelligence, they don't have the support, they simply cannot succeed". In any case the PSNI have not taken the bait and Chief Constable Hugh Orde has wisely stated that no British soldiers will be involved in the pursuit of the gunmen.

A debate is now underway about the continued presence of British soldiers in Northern Ireland. There are 5000 British soldiers in Northern Ireland, more than are currently serving in Iraq. I was aware of this, many people were not. The reason people were not aware of this is because you never see them. They are virtually permanently behind closed doors. At the height of the troubles there were over 60,000 British soldiers in the north. Today's 5000 are part of a peace time garrison that are under orders to be less visible that they would be in England. In fact in order to get at them these dissidents had to pounce as they were having a pizza delivered to the base, shooting two pizza delivery boys while they were at it. Incidental I'd love to know is delivering a pizza to a British army base seen as collaborating with the occupying force, a threat the RIRA recently made against those who carry out maintenance for the Brits.

It is always been clear to me that there are some people who believe that the armed struggle will always be legitimate until the Union Jack comes down. I noticed Pearse's famous quote, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace on Slugger O'Toole earlier. Maybe this is true but it does not make it right. What I do know is that all this has done is destroy two families and given everyone a serious dose of the willies but ultimately it will come to nothing. The only long term effects, other that the misery of the families will be to consolidate the Executive in Stormount because as I said in my last post, Gerry, Martin and co will have to come down hard on these bousies. The authority of the government that Sinn Fein is a part of has just been challenged. Time to step up boys.

One more thing. I would like to apologise for my less than parliamentary language in my last post. I was of course drunk. When I dragged myself home last night I threw myself on the scratcher and was just about to nod off when I heard the one o clock news. Double digit unemployment and British soldiers dead in the North. For a moment I wondered what I'd been drinking because it felt like I was back in the 80s. I am not going to remove the offending words though because I think they are a legitimate indication of how I feel about this. So lets just hope this is a one off. In the meantime I intend to use the wonderful medium of the blogosphere to challenge any militant republican who believes a return to violence is in any way in this countries interests.

4 comments:

Zaki said...

Ted,
I do not think you should worry about the inflamatory words you used in your last entry. Everybody is mad as hell and are cursing this day of infamy. Everybody, including me a North African yet American citizen, thought that peace in Northern Ireland was possible and it has worked. This sort of things happens because some people do not want peace.

Perhaps "Peace" is as fragile as the British soldiers remaining in Ireland. I was surprised to know that 5,000 still remain, and semi civilian status. I had the premonitions that a hundred or so might remain to appease the "Paisleyan" crowd specially after this recent death and the political vaccum his death might have created. But 5,000 soldiers that's a surprise.

I hope nobody in Ireland falls into the trap of violent actions again. Let's hope these individuals be brought to justice and pay for what they did.

Ted Leddy said...

Zaki

Thanks for your articulate comment. Like you I think that peace in Northern Ireland has worked and will continue to work. I do in fact think that the NI peace process is probably the best example of a negotiated settlement anywhere in the world and it should be replicated in many places. It was however excruciatingly difficult to achieve. That is why I am so angry. After all that happened in the North to think that some would risk starting it all off again on a whim is infuriating.

Many people don't know about the 5000 and I think it is too many. But as I said in the post the key point in all of this is that they don't take the bait and redeploy on the streets. That is just what the RIRA want as this would inflame catholic opinion and ultimately bring down the power sharing government. The British army officially withdrew from their role of a back up to the police in 2007. It should stay that way.

Just a little correction if I may Zaki. Ian Paisley is still with us. The 82 year old retired last year.

I'm am sure you are right and cool heads will prevail over the next days and weeks and the people in the north will not fall into the sectarian trap that these men have set.

Thanks again for your comment

Zaki said...

Thanks for the rectification about my hasty belief of Paisley' death. I really thought he died (or may be I really wanted him dead (albeit natural death of course, not liquidation)). To be honest with you, I have never liked the guy anyway. Well, I must have not pick up the whole story in last year's news of him "only" stepping down from politics. Perhaps I was wishing he died instead...

Ted Leddy said...

You wouldn't be the first person to wish Ian Paisley harm. My mother grew up in a nationalist part of Northern Ireland. Growing up in my house Ian Paisley was a sort of a devil figure. One day when he was on the TV she actually threw her at him cracking the screen in the process.