Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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The shocking news today that the Assets Recovery Agency which victims were told would bring down the terrorist controlled criminal gangs in Northern Ireland is itself being closed down. Despite the fanfare from the Prime Minister who said the agency was going to hit big time crooks hard - "where it most hurts in their pockets" it has not even been able to pay its own way. It has cost taxpayers around £60m despite only recovering just over £8m from law breakers since 2003.

In Northern Ireland where we have a particular problem with terrorist controlled organised crime of an international cross border nature we called for special measures. Indeed the ARA was supposed to be an integral part of the security and policing system specific to here in the war on terrorism and its finances.

Victims have long campaigned for action against these criminals who have amassed millions in criminal gains in areas like South Armagh. Indeed their victims including many law abiding businessmen who were destroyed by the criminals and their black markets have risked much to bring them to justice. Now jus as we see the first successes this agency is closed down and moved to London. This is clearly a concession to Sinn Fein/IRA to keep their criminal wing on board. Areas like South Armagh were just beginning to feel the pain of the ARA and were starting to squeal and now as a political concession that pressure has been stopped. Only in the last year have we seen the ARA going after the real godfathers and the fear that proactive policy has generated.

Republican criminality was under serious threat and the local community had a means of breaking their stranglehold. However now and because of pressure from Sinn Fein/IRA we see the ARA called off and their work undermined. This is a clear concession to Republicans. The dirty deal that the government finalised over Christmas is now becoming clear. Our sources warned us of this a number of weeks ago but even they are surprised by the speed of the implementation. The easing of pressure on Republican criminality is clearly a concession to ease their entry into policing. Other issues that have been conceded upon include a de facto Amnesty and a deal on Republican control of community policing in areas where they have a majority. This will place the direct daily ‘policing’ of these areas into the hands of Republican terrorists through restorative and community justice schemes in a way not seen since the era of ‘No-Go’ areas

This will effectively hand policing over to Sinn Fein at a local level and create areas under their tyranny to an extent that was never imagined even in the darkest days of the troubles. Tony Blair will do anything to buy the Republicans into this deal and preserve his ‘legacy’. He is selling communities along the border and in the West of the province into the hands of Sinn Fein/IRA and our politicians are being deceived. We have found our sources in the security forces and civil service to be reliable before and we now publicly call for the DUP to make this issue a Deal breaker. If the government are adopting a soft approach on Republican Criminality to smooth their entry into policing structures, and have granted a de facto Amnesty we as victims cannot support this deal. If they have been promised control over policing certain areas then we must all rise up to oppose this.

It is now time to make these issues public and clear before the election. If Sinn Fein are to enter policing they must do so on the same basis as everyone else. Sadly it appears it is just like the political institutions which had to be twisted and tarnished to fit Sinn Fein not the other way around. Now we see the same with policing and justice rather than Republicans having to change to fit everything else has to. Well we as victims say no more we were promised an end to push over unionism and that is what we demand. Sadly we cannot even hear unionist politicians making a comment about these issues. We are calling for an urgent meeting with the DUP on this matter


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