FAIR
Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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09/05/05
IRA STILL ACTIVE

The IRA "still has the capacity and still has the capability" to carry out terrorist acts according to Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde. 7 years on from a failed Peace Agreement and the largest nationalist party is still inextricably connected to a viable and fully operational terrorist force. The IRA itself is "still recruiting, they still target, and they still carry out the activities they have always done with the exception of going out to kill" he elaborates. The Chief Constable's admission beggars the question - what are he and his PSNI colleagues going to do about it? With the Westminster election results falling in favour of the DUP, the political mantras hailed as being politically regressive have obviously rung true in the Unionist community. Trimble's tattered excuse for an Agreement lies at the feet of the very-much-intact and revitalised IRA. It still has a crippling hold on Northern Ireland's economic life, particularly in border and interface communities, and it's ongoing recruitment campaign cannot mean that a lasting peace is firmly on the agenda. If SinnFein / IRA were to exclusively pursue democratic means to achieve their political ends, then the IRA would become a defunct relic of the past. The opposite is happening with the full knowledge of the PSNI. South Armagh traditionally has been a terrorist-controlled heartland, and this fact was reinforced very recently in the police and army's response to a traffic accident - by helicopter rather than mobile patrol. The security situation in general remains bleak despite Adam's claim that the IRA had "authorised an internal debate on his call to consider abandoning the armed struggle". Whilst this great debate takes place, recruitment campaigns in republican strongholds are taking place regularly, as are the 'other' activities of the terrorist force. The honest citizens in Northern Ireland must ask themselves why they wish to recruit, other than to pursue their criminal interests and terrorist activities. Orde's softly-softly approach to the IRA gives grounds for concern in the Protestant community. Rather than actively prosecuting a relentless campaign to rid Northern Ireland of criminality and to establish proper policing, he awaits IRA actions reflecting a 'fundamental shift' with bated breath stating "I have always said I'd wait and see". It is unfortunate that Northern Ireland's Chief Constables have a tendency to engage in political puppetry rather than proper policing. Perhaps the 9 DUP MPs will raise these issues in Westminster better than the rather jaded Ulster Unionists….

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